I recently have been exchanging thoughts with Layinka at DIY Language about the challenges of learning languages.
I asked what the most important skill for language-learning is. One might guess “speaking,” “listening,” or “vocabulary.” Layinka looks deeper than this. She says “record keeping” is the most valuable skill a language-learner can have. I agree, though the importance of this goal can easily be lost.
Any progress that one makes in any of the other skills will depend on this one skill. Without it, one peters out quickly, as one has no way to measure or ensure success.
The way one parses out time, though, should reflect the post important skills within language-learning. Some listening, vocabulary, and conversation should all factor in. One should figure out what skills one excels at, and which one struggles with. I’m thinking about what categories are indispensable. At the moment, my time is split among listening (Pimsleur), grammar and exercises (How to Read, Write, and Speak Persian), vocabulary (my Vised cards), writing and speaking (Livemocha). I’m slowly incorporating Iranian films and I’m on the lookout for conversation partners.
What is your plan?
- Learning a New Language (socyberty.com)
- Make learning languages enjoyable: free presentation (brilliantbook.wordpress.com)
Richard asked me these questions:
- What are the 3-5 basic skills that every language-learner must master?
- How does one measure progress in each?
- What resources allow progress in each?
I honestly don’t know what basic skills every language learner must master.
I can think of a lot of skills but I also think that these same skills are needed in most new activities that you would choose to invest in. If I answered this question and then failed in my language learning quest then it may just undermine my credibility. 🙂 I really do not know and I do not have the answers. And to think that before embarking on this journey, I used to spend a lot of time (really a lot of time) researching on how to learn Japanese and no straight forward answer was ever given.
Many suggested I move to the country where my language…
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