Meet Miss Mason and François(3)


What can I do to learn a foreign language well?

You hold within you the power to learn foreign languages well.  Miss Mason believed that you learn what you pay attention to; neuroscientists agree with her.  You don’t need to study a language for hours, but you do need to focus intensely.  Fifteen minutes of intense focus serves you better than an hour of loose study.


Listen to the series in the target language to train your ear to hear the sounds of the new language and to know how to pronounce new words. Once you are familiar with a series, read it—you remember more of what you both hear and see. Writing out a series will help you remember even more.


Also, act out what you are saying. When you do so, you create more connections in the brain to help you remember  the new phrases.  It is tempting to just say the series, but remember that little extra effort to act out the series helps you learn more quickly.


Finally, challenge yourself. After learning two or three series, create and act out new ones using the phrases you know. Use phrases from series in conversation. Sit with a friend and talk about what you do: “What do you do in the afternoon?” “I read an interesting book” or “I go visit a friend.” You need not include every sentence from the series, but use a few or even simply use the title, e.g., “What do you do?” “I play with a ball.”  When you can talk about what happened yesterday, tell stories to each other:  “Did I tell you what my dog did yesterday? First, he barked at himself in the mirror. Then he . . . ’’ Telling stories helps you remember the sentences in your new language that much more—and it is fun.


Allyson D. Adrian, PhD

AKA “Dr. A”

(Die deutsche Übersetzung ist demnächst hier  verfügbar)


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