One of the questions that is often asked by many is how do children learn languages so easily, so well? In a recent study by Meredith Brinster, part of the answer may lie in the fact that kids generally figure out the words for themselves.
See the report here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070315213151.htm
In a facinating book, "The Hidden Connections" by Fritjof Capra I found a reference to the work of philosopher Michael Polyani.
To quote Capra,
"Whereas explicit knowledge can be communicated and documented through language, tacit knowledge is acquired through experience..."
Two things have happened this week to encourage me to write about this topic.
Some times you come across something that is so refreshingly simple, you wonder why people have not been doing it all along.
This was how I felt when I attended my first ALG Thai class at AUA in Bangkok.
Here was my first experience of a formal language learning environment that was completely non threatening, non manipulative and that used authentic language, the type of language people use in everyday life, not some sanitized version similar to what we find in most ESL teaching texts.
The Source of ‘Real Language’
What is a MIF?
If someone said to you, "Walk like a duck." What would you do (provided you were willing to walk like a duck)? In your mind, you'd 'flash' a 'mental image' of a duck walking, and simply imitate it. Had you never seen a duck walking, this would be impossible. For example, if I said, "Walk like a bonzo." What mental image flashes? There isn't one.
When people learn about Automatic Language Growth, they often listen and then quickly conclude that a program of input combined with practice makes sense. [When we began ALG at AUA in 1984, we already had a successful traditional Thai Program.
I found this paper and it holds much of interest. It's a theme familiar to anyone who is connected with natural language acquisition. I would love to begin constructive dialogue with everyone / anyone on any of the many aspe
Below is a letter I received that points out something we have learned through our ALG Programs - Engagement is the single most vital aspect of language acquisition there is!
In brief: Students in a comprehension approach German class in which speaking was not required (but not forbidden) did much better on a test of pronunciation (imitation) than traditional students.
McCandless, P. and Winitz, H. 1986. Test of pronunication following one year of comprehension instruction in college German. Modern Language Journal 70 (4): 335-362.
During a TED Talk in 2006, Sir Ted Robinson talks about the future - and the fact that creativity must become as important as academics. Very entertaining, and worthwhile talk. View it at the link below...