Thursday, January 1, 2009

Language Course - Part Two

Here are the second lesson from the language course, hope you will enjoy reading it...

Part 2 - Choosing Foreign Language Learning Books and Tapes

Go into a bookstore or browse around the internet and you will
more than likely be inundated with dozens of books and courses
on the language you want to learn.

They will all make huge promises to entice you to part with your
cash to get your hands on their products.

‘Speak fluent French in just three months!'

‘Learn Italian in 15 minutes a day!'

‘Speak Spanish with no effort whatsoever'

is what they will no doubt say.

It's an unfortunate state of affairs that 99% of the books and
courses on the foreign language learning market are simply poor.
There is no other way of putting it.

Go into your local book shop and pick up one of the items you
see there. Go home put it into action and months later it will
be unlikely that you will have learned anything in the foreign
language you have chose to learn.

Cue frustrated failure, and the inevitable ‘giving up syndrome'.

There are any number of reasons why the quality of foreign
language learning materials are so poor. Developers who don't
understand the needs of the language learner, Producers more
concerned with style rather than content. Course designers using
outdated or unproductive methods.

Whatever the reasons, I am not here to discuss those. What I do
intend to do however is put you on the right track to choosing a
language learning course that is suitable for you.

If you choose a good book or course to learn a foreign language
then your success is practically assured. Indeed choosing the
correct course is just as critical as putting it into action.

There are a number of criteria that any language course that you
are intending on buying should meet. When you look at, or test any
course, you should ask yourself if it meets the crucial criteria
set out below.

If the book or course you are looking at fails to meet the
criteria then you should move on and look for something else.
If you choose a bad course you are making an error that could
prove terminal to your language learning goals.

"How to learn any language, on your own, as quickly and easily as

The definitive guide to learning any foreign language.

Click here ------->

Criteria 1 - Audio content and lots of it

The most basic flaw that any language learning course makes is to
include next to no audio whatsoever.

Next time you are around the shops in your local area go into a
bookstore and look around at the language learning books and

Count how many tapes are included with all the books available.

Not many I would wager.

Most course include a couple of tapes or CDs, some may include
a few more, and very bad courses will include non at all.

It amazes me how so called experts in the field of language
learning believe people can learn a foreign language without
even hearing it in action, let alone putting it into use.

It is also a fact that foreign languages are best learned using
the audial skills of speaking and listening. In the vast majority
of languages, reading and writing follow the rules set out by the
spoken language, and can be learned easily once the basics of
the spoken language have been learned.

You should always strive to learn the basics of the spoken
language before moving onto the written language.

Ensure that any course you buy includes lots and lots of tapes or
CDs, and that the main emphasis of the course is on the spoken
component of the language.

If a course expects you to learn a language by reading a book and
listening to minimal dialogue, leave it alone. After you have
finished you may know all of the grammar rules in the language but
you won't be able to understand a word when you meet a foreigner or complete a comprehensive sentence in return.

Criteria 2 - Active User Involvement

How active will you be when using the course you are considering?

Will you just be reading grammar rules and extracts of text or
will you just be listening to foreign dialogues?

If that is all what you will be doing, put the course back on the
shelf in haste. This will do you no good whatsoever.

Any course worth its salt should induce much active involvement
on the part of the learner.

Going back to the earlier theme of spoken skills being the most
crucial in any foreign language, the course you are using should
include active spoken practice, and an abundance of it.

In the best format, this will involve the audio component of your
course either prompting you to translate sentences, or allowing
you to take part in a staged conversation. After you have
responded to each question the audio will ideally present the
answer for you, so you have a reference as to how accurate your
replies were.

If you find a course which does this then you are on to a winner.
Snap it up immediately and never look back. You are going to
learn your language, and fast.

Criteria 3 - A good ending

You should always consider where you will be when you finish the
course you are examining before you invest your hard earned money
on it.

Ignore the title for a moment. That ‘Learn French in three
months' on the cover with its bright picture and glossy
presentation is a sales pitch and completely inaccurate as to what
you will find inside the covers.

You should instead look through the books and consider what you
will have learned by the time you have finished the course.

Look at the exercises and reading extracts later in the book and
see what sort of level they are at. Would you be able to read
real life material if you can read the book exercises?

Listen to the last section of audio on the course. How fast and
complex is the reading? Is it at a level which you want to
attain? Would it be enough to allow you to understand a
foreign speaker?

Browse through the later exercises, written and audio. How
advanced does this book expect you to be? Are you happy with

Check the word list or dictionary at the back of the book. How
many words does that course expect you to learn? Once you know
2000 foreign words you will be able to understand 90% of spoken
material and 80% of written material in the foreign language.
Will the course give you this foundation of words in the foreign

Always consider where you are likely to be once you have finished
the course. Ideally you should be advanced enough to have a
conversation, albeit simple one, with a foreigner and be able to
get the gist of TV shows and newspapers even if you don't know
every word.

If the course will not take you to this level, or you are not
happy with what you will achieve, look elsewhere.

Meet the criteria set out above and you are going to learn a
foreign language and learn it fast. The search may be quite tough
to find a quality course. Don't give up. There is quality out
there and once found your learning won't ever be the same again.


There is still much more coming up in the rest of the course
including, how to find the time in your busy schedule to learn a
foreign language, and how to use the internet to help you learn
a language.

See you in part 3

All the best,

P.S. Please feel free to forward this report to your friends and
colleagues. If you have received a forwarded copy you can get the
complete course by clicking the following link.

(c) David Fisher - all rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

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NIZHAMA said...

salam.. I though about that before, but the biggest problem is commitment. I want to make this blog the place that I really enjoy without any commitment, anyway I will think again. Thanks for your suggestion.