When it comes to speaking, the only thing we can count on are words…
A language is a set of rules used for communication, and all those rules apply to words. How many words do you know?
There’s a brand new criteria when it comes to teaching a second language, and that is that for doing it fast, you need to learn the key words of the language.
I’ve always been against that system for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I do not want my students to rely on pure memory, as they know the average student is so lazy telling them to memorise anything would just not work. Secondly, it involves translation, a lot of translation actually, which is something absolutely against my teaching system.
But I also know that if you know the key elements of a language and know how to combine them, you can easily get yourself understood.
Me Indian, you White-man
A sentence like the above sounds very funny, but we shall not forget the high level of communicative achievement of speaking like an Indian in Spaghetti westerns.
The reason why I have always ignored this source of learning is simple, I have never been interested in teaching people to speak like Indians, but to teach them the language properly. However; the necessities of many of the people who might be interested in my lessons vary vastly.
In order to offer something different, I just decided to give it a try and see if it works. So, what do teachers do when they want to try something like this.
In my case I bought a book with one of these methods, and I started reading without any prior ideas about it. That’s a difficult task as teaching foreign languages is my career, but there’s sometimes need to question everything we strongly believe in.
I followed the book blind, and I did all the work, which basically was filling in lots of boxes of words translating them into the target language I want to study, working out its pronunciation and the some of its use. The work is now done.
A new language
After all that is done, the only thing I can do is trying to learn a new language, and I decided for Russian. Don’t ask me why, just decided for it… I will let you know about it when it comes to the time, whether I learnt how to communicate in Russian or not.
Wish me luck…