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Next entry: Not the last Harry Potter book after all?
Previous entry: Bad sex education?
Tuesday January 01 2008

Check out, if you are inclined, Tim Ferriss writing about How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour.  It turns out that what he means by “learn” is learn whether he can learn it fluently in three months, or not:

If you’re a native Japanese speaker, respectively handicapped with a bit more than 20 phonemes in your language, some languages will seem near impossible. Picking a compatible language with similar sounds and word construction (like Spanish) instead of one with a buffet of new sounds you cannot distinguish (like Chinese) could make the difference between having meaningful conversations in 3 months instead of 3 years.

So this posting is actually most useful if you are in the somewhat unusual position of wanting to learn a foreign language, but not any particular foreign language.  It will help you to choose one that you can learn quickly.

This posting was recently linked to by Alan Little, the latter link to the blog as a whole being because there are later postings after the first one, with more to come.  AL is using the system to check out Russian.  Why?  And why Russian?

Since Step One of one of the more common methods – fall in love with, and subsequently marry, a native speaker of the language – doesn’t seem to have worked out for me, language-wise, I thought I’d give some of Tim’s hints a try.

My problem with languages has never been the various sounds.  These I can do.  It’s remembering all the words that I find impossible.  When in France, for instance, I have to suppress my excellent French accent, because it makes me sound like I know French.  But I don’t.  I merely know how to read it aloud.

So, any tips for juicing up my vocabulary?  I won’t follow them because I am insufficiently motivated, but I’d be interested to know what I ought to be doing if I were motivated, as might others.

By the way, Happy New Year everybody.

You know, languages from one family have similar words roots. If you study new language you probably can find some similarities with your native one and will be able to define the meaning intuitively.

Posted by MBA Lady on 26 April 2010
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