How do people learn? How do people learn languages? How do they learn foreign languages?
It’s likely that you haven’t given that much thought to these questions, unless you’re a psychologist, or a teacher, that is. Why should you care about the theory of language learning? You want to get out there and talk to people in bars, right?
The Sixth Secret of Learning Italian
Well.. ever had the experience of taking your car to the mechanic, but not knowing how to evaluate the mechanic’s advice? Should you agree to pay €2000 for these extra parts, or is the mechanic inflating the bill unnecessarily? You’d wish you knew more about cars, wouldn’t you?
And unlike getting your car repaired, not only do you have to pay for your language course, you also have to spend hundreds of hours of your precious time on it!
How do people learn languages? What works best? Well, actually this is a lot more complicated an area than you might imagine. A colleague of mine, who spent two years studying for a master’s in Applied Linguistics (yes we DO have GREAT teachers at Madrelingua!), seems to think that it isn’t actually very clear how we learn languages, but that there are general principles which can help us do it better.
Wikipedia can explain this much better than me, so if you have time for some “serious reading”, look up “second language acquisition”.
So, Secret no. 6 is: SAVE TIME AND MONEY. GET WISE! LEARN HOW WE LEARN, AND USE YOUR NEW KNOWLEDGE TO PLAN YOUR STUDIES
Read more: Secret no. 7