Response to Juan re acquiring

I like Ignacio’s and Jody’s comments. I would point out that Lomb Kato aka Kato Lomb said she just read works in Russian and the other languages over and over.
From a personal viewpoint, I can tell you, Juan, that I have tried all the methods. Sometimes people misunderstand my motivation for “studying” languages, a word I use advisedly. I love to make vocabulary lists, grammar diagrams, and, as I read, spend 2 to 3 hours hunting down the origin of the word ‘devotion’ and the exact difference between yama and dyr in Russian. However, those are not necessarily good ways to acquire a language. As I’ve written many times (and while my blog is not terribly organized, it does have several categories that address these issues (FL Teaching, Personal Language Learning, etc.) and it wouldn’t be too hard to scan the entries in those categories to find info like the following): as I entered fl teaching, I had several experiences which caused me to question the total grammar approach I first used. The main one was a simple self observation: which language, of all those I’d studied, was I “fluent” in (read: had acquired); the answer, surprisingly, that came back was not the Russian, about whose grammar I had purchased about 42 books, nor the German of which I had taken 5 semesters in the university and one year in high school, nor the Spanish which I used on my job (altho that was close), but the French I had been immersed in as a h.s. senior. I got a girlfriend who spoke no English and liked to spend long evenings with me doing things that at my age (74 in 8 days) I can’t remember and if I could I wouldn’t know why I did them…… and the French guy who spoke no English and needed me to interpret for him in my school’s judo club. Now, I had had 2 years of h.s. French before that and I liked it, studied it, etc., but it was a traditionally taught class, what Terry calls legacy method, and I have had many classes taught like that in a number of languages, BUT, the only language that poured out of my mouth without thought (warning: don’t say that on flteach; they will accuse you of bringing down the Pillars of Western Civilization) was French. Example: (one of many I can provide also in this blog): a student in my Russian class brought a French boy of 14 to class due to a scheduling mix-up. I said it was fine for him to sit in our class (after checking) and found out he knew no English. So I asked the class if they would like to ask him questions about France, etc. They did and for the next hour I interpreted back and forth with no strain. I can do that now in Spanish and I’ve done it in Russian, though I haven’t spoken Russian except with the receptionist where I go for therapy); but they always required some effort i.e. using unacquired language, but not the French.
Now do not think my French is broad or deep or even much correct, but it is “fluent” in the sense of pouring out of me without thought.
So, my advice would be to try to find maybe old copies of the French ALM series and start with Level One, and just read. I’ve read a lot of Russian at the i+13 level and I just think I would’ve done better to drop down 11 or 12 levels of incomprehension. Hope these posts in response do help some.

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