This is something new I’m going to start doing if for no other reason than to make myself start posting more frequently and consistently, plus I read all sorts of cool language-learning related articles every day on the dozen or so blogs I’m subscribed to, plus people I follow on Twitter are always posting interesting stuff on there, and I really ought to share them with my readers who may or may not have seen them plus linking out to them acknowledges and rewards people who put good stuff out there and really ought to get credit for it.
Benny teaches us about St. Paddy’s day and the Irish language – St. Patrick’s claim to fame in Ireland was bringing Christianity to the Irish when so many others had tried and failed. Know why he succeeded? Because he spoke to them in their own language when every other preacher before him talked at them in Latin. Pretty cool, huh?
Jennie teaches us how to curse in French, and explains the French confusion with certain words being bleeped out on American and British television, which I particularly liked because I, like the French, find that sort of behavior to be shamefully stupid, I hate that we’re still so prudish and backwards even in this day and age.
Pete explains the subtleties of learning a language, how implicit learning works, and why you can really only learn by doing. This is something Benny has talked about repeatedly and is why he emphasizes speaking so much: you can’t learn how to speak a language by any means other than speaking it. What makes this post special is that Pete actually goes into detail explaining precisely why this is the case and how it works.
Aaron talks about putting in the time necessary to learn a language and how Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule in his book Outliers applies just as much to truly mastering a language as everything else. I’ve talked before about how important motivation is, and the reason it’s so important is because it’s necessary to succeed in a language because of the amount of time and hard work you have to put in: my favorite way of phrasing it is to say “You have to be consistently persistent.”, and that applies to succeeding in anything, not just learning a language. By the way, if haven’t read Gladwell’s book, I highly recommend you do so (Amazon link), it’s excellent.
Randy learned Polish in 8 days…well, not really, but what he did do is demonstrate just how much you can learn in such a short period of time and how fantastically effective and important it is to just dive right in and go! Eight days of plowing through a book on basic Polish got him to the point where he was chatting (not well, but he was speaking and they could understand him!) with native speakers. Also, he talks about how understand the basic grammar to some degree was helpful, and I’m actually not surprised, I’m not quite on the side of some my fellow language nerds who insist that learning formal grammar to any degree is useless, though I would definitely say that you shouldn’t be emphasizing it, you should be emphasizing actually speaking with people.
And Cracked (yeah, I know, but they’re generally funny and not too horribly inaccurate) tells us about the 5 stupidest ways that movies deal with foreign languages. The bit about Sean Connery in The Hunt for Red October is dead on, it sounded like a Scotsman making a very poor attempt to imitate a Russian accent, which is because that’s precisely what it was.
And a new study has come out showing that speaking a second language can delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s by 5 years. If you don’t use it, you lose it, I’m not surprised to hear about this.
That’s all I could come up with for now, this was kind of an impromptu thing that I thought was a good idea and would provide some value to my readers, so if you like it let me know, and if you’ve got anything else you think should’ve been included or is just interesting, don’t be afraid to post it in the comments.