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The Language Learning Curve December 18, 2014

Posted by anagasto in language.
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The graph shows how beginners learn.

The vertical represents knowledge and the horizontal is months.

Over the years this curve repeats itself with long lulls followed by weeks or months of progress.

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They start at zero, learn very much in a short time, get stalled after about three months.

Once they reach an intermediate level, students can no longer perceive progress, and so they will quit.

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The problem is that all beginners prefer to memorize the names of things.

For this reason popular language courses are based on picture books.

And so, after a year or two or five or six (or more, here in Spain) students still can’t line up a sentence of more than 5 words. They are sitting on a pile of vocabulary junk :

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The problem is in the verbs.

Learning how to handle verbs takes long and has to be done in the beginning, continuously and for at least three months.

The point is to develop reflexes and prohibit memorizing.

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>>>>> The photos are by ghD.

>>>>> The drawing of the kid with the yellow cap is from a Gary Olsen cartoon

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Comments»

1. Carl D'Agostino - May 23, 2012

Yes the verbs. In Latin and Spanish I had to keep a declension chart in front of me and could never automatically insert correct tense ending. However, both languages have very few irregular verbs compared to English and verb construction in both languages make more sense than English.

2. cantueso - September 3, 2013

English verb grammar is very simple. The problem is that it cannot be “studied”, and Latins do not know any other method of learning. They memorize. They cannot be told to repeat, translate, and check.

Instead they learn some rules by heart. Or they memorize vocabulary. Teachers encourage that, as it is easy to test.

I have yet to see a Spaniard who after some 6 years of classes has understood how to use the Saxon genitive.


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