- How To Speak Like A Native
- Mastery is Mastering the Basics
- Where Not To Learn Japanese From
- How To Get A Specific Accent
- How to Pronounce Japanese
- Speaking: You Don’t Have A Linguistic Problem, You Have A Humanity Problem — Why You Still Suck At Speaking and How to Fix it Fast
- Language Is Acting
- Luxurious Worries, Or: So Effing What If You Sound Like An Anime?!
- Success Story: Emotional Context Learning — Using Phrases Correctly Without Actively Learning Them Or Knowing What They Actually Mean
- You Are What You Eat, You Write What You Read, You Speak What You Hear
- Why You Should Keep Listening Even If You Don’t Understand
- If Anime Is Bad For Your Japanese, Then Nursery Rhymes Are Bad For Your English
- No Humans Necessary: Why You Don’t Need People to Learn a Language
The attentive will recall that Jamie (an AJATTeer) came up with what I still consider to be the greatest analogy in the history of learning languages about a year ago. The attentive will also recall that a photo of Sarah Silverman on the pot was involved, something which totally wasn’t my idea by the way, plus you have no proof and you got nuffink on me and I have plausible deniability.
[You have such gorgeous thighs, and I don’t know how you do it. The ThighMaster may be a machine, but you are truly the master of thighs. Women love you and men respect you. It pains me to even shift the topic from you, but…] I’ve been “immersing” myself in German since December 2011. At first, it wasn’t pretty. I couldn’t understand much from films, videos, music, etc and my output was simply horrible.
But after 3 months of immersion and SRS Vanilla sentences, I was able to hold basic IM chats and write emails in German with German and Austrian people. 99.9% of the Germans and Austrians thought that I was a language “Genie” 1 and said that it was amazing that I learned German so “quickly” without any tutors or classes. I still believe that input (reading and listening) is still more important than output (writing and speaking) but once in a while I practice output.
I like writing German emails with my friends from Germany, Austria and Switzerland and I’ve had about 5-7 voice conversations over Skype in German. It wasn’t hard for me to understand what the native German speakers were saying. and most recently during Spring break 2013 in New York City, I heard a couple talking to each other in German and I just approached them by asking them in German: “Are you from Germany?” (kommen Sie aus Deutschland?) My brave action allowed us to have a short but good conversation — all in German. The couple said my German was very good especially considering “the short amount of time” I spent learning it, and not once did they try to switch the conversation to English.
So, how did all this “magic” happen? It ain’t magic. It’s just listening and/or watching to >90 minutes of audio in German during my waking hours and playing audio throughout my sleeping hours and making and doing SRS reps from time to time.
It’s about making it fun, doable, and practical to one’s OWN schedule. I learned Spanish from 2nd grade – 10th grade, but my Spanish input and output was NEVER was good as my German. The more I think about it, some of this AJATT stuff is really foolproof. “You are what you eat” and “You speak what you hear”…DUH!!
- You are what you eat.
- You write what you read.
- You speak what you hear.
- Presumably this is German for “genius” …Hmm…this footnote didn’t really warrant a smiley, but the deed is done, so I’m going to leave that superfluous smiley hanging. ↩