Sunday, July 20, 2008

Language learning

The Master speaks 50 languages. The student asks how he does it.


Teacher: Start with the simple stuff: everyday objects, body parts. After nouns go to verbs, make sentences. Listen to the sounds.

Student: How long does it take to learn a new language?

Teacher: An hour for the essentials. A week for the complex grammar of a difficult language like Dutch.

Student: Any tricks?

Teacher: Use tools. Film subtitles are good. Oh, and leverage your resources. If you are learning one language, learn two or three others at the same time.



Kenneth Hale put his language gifts to humanitarian use. He learned languages that were dying. Some he could rescue.

He reckoned that when we lose a language we lose “intellectual wealth, a work of art. It’s like dropping a bomb on the Louvre.”


1 comment:

John said...

You can import subtitles in valodas language learning software and learn vocabulary. More info at