Quite a few people say you got to memorize a substantial amount of words and its translation in your language to learn a language. But I venture to say no.
Cognitive Psychological Analysis
Before discussing language acquisition, consider skills in general. Employing language shares many things in common with other skills. Skills are backed up by knowledge.
In the domain of cognitive psychology, there are following two kinds of knowledge:
- declarative knowledge
- procedural knowledge
Declarative knowledge refers to the fact we know. For example, we know we have to pull down the lever to put signal when turning right. That’s the fact we know. That’s one sort of declarative knowledge.
In language acquisition, it includes the external grammar. In the English grammar, “is” links the subject to the object.
Procedural knowledge is what we know how to perform. Turning right, we don’t need to be aware of the knowledge about how to put a signal, but we can do it subconsciously. This is one of procedural knowledge. Although we speak the first language, but some of us cannot explain the grammar like the difference between “something” and “anything”, barely use them in a wrong way. It doesn’t matter if you got some external grammar of a new language, but employing the grammar in a subconscious way is what you wanna achieve.
Physiology and Functional Brain Science’s Analysis
So, what goes on in our brain when our declarative knowledge, or automatized performance, turns into procedural knowledge? The repeated processing the same action reinforces the neuronal connections, which enables automatized performance.
The same holds true for language acquisition. The reinforced neuronal connections realize a quick response and production of language.
The conventional grammar-translation method reinforces the neuronal connections for translating and replacing the word order. That’s how they nurture the habit of translating at the very moment of seeing the foreign texts. And this is the very cause that prevents them from being able to comprehend aural language.
A substantial amount of comprehensible input
The logic illustrated above hardly is prone to any counterargument. The point is how to make external grammar turn into internal grammar. What kind of input should we expose ourselves to?
Stephan Krashen, a prominent linguist argues comprehensible input brings about language acquisition. This hypothesis influences my methods and I believe the ideal input is easy-to-understand materials.
Neurolinguistic approach suggests spontaneous communication works effectively. Some scholars implement hearing and speaking practice before others. This method has been taking place in Canada for years.
Spontaneous communication refers to comprehension of messages not focusing on its language form. Focusing on language forms means being aware of the grammatical stuff. To recap, one of the ideal language learning methods in my opinion is exposure to input without a reference to the grammar.
Methods in details
In this website, the following methods are elaborated in details:
- Receiving a substantial amount of input
- Basic vocabulary that appear in a wide range of contexts – Effective Order of Learning
- Specify the fields in which you would like to engage and focus only on related terms – Vocabulary for your needs
- Easy texts or interesting topics – Comprehensible Input
- Use the language on the free language exchange sites – Free Language Exchange Websites
- Chunks, or fixed phrases for a quick reproduction
- Use exactly the same as the native speakers’ language used before