A brief how-to essay on learning a foreign language

Essay by OcastaCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2002

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Learning to Speak and Read a Foreign Language

Have you ever sat or stood near people speaking Spanish and get the sneaking suspicion that they were talking about you? No, you're not paranoid. In fact, you're probably right. There is only one defense that will allow you to defend yourself from being the victim of that feeling: learn the language.

Learning a foreign language isn't as difficult as it's made out to be. Actually, English and Japanese are ranked as the two most complex languages in the world today, so no matter what language you chose to learn it's probably simpler than the one you speak currently. In its early years, the human mind is like a blank computer hard drive in respect to language. Programs are loaded quickly and are experimented with at a fantastic rate. Unfortunately, as the machine gets older its capabilities become less and less efficient, warranting the expression "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."

I have devised a method of learning a foreign language (Espanol) which I have begun to learn from that requires only a tape recorder, cassette tapes, paper, TV and a DVD player.

Learning to Speak

Step 1: Audio/Translation

The first step to learning any language is to learn how to speak it. Attempting to learn to read a language is about as wise as pissing against the wind: it's possible, however it tends to be a bit messy. Therefore the first step includes simple conversations and written English translations. If you are unable to make such a recording yourself, the "Living Language" courses provide the same service.

There are two reasons for starting this way. The first is that mispronunciation is out of the picture, provided, of course, that the recorded people are speaking correctly, and the second is...