How To Master A Foreign Language Using The Chunking Method
- Donovan NagelTeacher, translator, polyglot🎓 B.A., Theology, Australian College of Theology, NSW🎓 M.A., Applied Linguistics, University of New England, NSW
Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator. Founder of The Mezzofanti Guild and Talk In Arabic.
Today I’m going to share a video with you demonstrating one of my simple, routine methods for learning any language.
This is a highly effective strategy that will push you toward native-like fluency in a way that does not involve tedious grammar rules or hours of wasteful book study and is therefore something that the majority of us with work or family commitments can manage around a busy schedule.
I talked about my own approach here but I’ll sum it up again for you:
You don’t need to study grammar to learn a foreign language.
Grammar rules are there as a guide to help improve literacy skills (reading and writing) in a language that you’re already a fluent speaker of. You learned the grammar of your native language several years AFTER becoming a fluent speaker of it.
The language we speak is just a collection of unoriginal chunks that we plug in like lego blocks to form new sentences. These can be single words, expressions or whole sentences.
We hear and learn these chunks as a series of sounds and intonations from infancy – like the lyrics of a familiar song – we recognize it instantly when we hear it and after enough exposure are able to reproduce it effortlessly.
The more you try to cram, the less you’ll learn. Small amounts at a time is key.
What I’ve demonstrated in this video is especially useful if you’ve finished all the foundational stuff and are stuck on a learning plateau. It’s one of the most frustrating places when learning a language as it can often feel like you’re not moving forward anymore.
The point I make toward the end of the video is vital in terms of the content you choose to work with too:
Make sure you understand most of what you’re reading or listening to and don’t work with content that you don’t enjoy.
For anyone interested, the book I’ve used in this video is from the Kalimni ‘Arabi series (I wrote about it here) and it ranges from beginner through to higher advanced level.
If you find this video useful or interesting, let me know in the comments section below and I’ll continue to make more.
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This was written by Donovan Nagel.
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