Lessons learned from fifty years of theory and practice in government language teaching

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Posts930Likes586Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Learning Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai

This is a paper published by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), which has been teaching candidates languages in a very intensive manner for decades. This work represents a sort of "best of" summary of it's findings regarding language learning over the years. It's possibly the most useful single paper on general language that I've ever read. Highly recommended.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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#1
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Posts142Likes114Joined4/10/2018Location
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Chinese - Mandarin, English, Chinese - Cantonese
Other French, Indonesian, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese

Thanks for the share.


Interesting - they use a different scale for language proficiency:


S/R-0 No functional proficiency


S/R-1 Elementary proficiency: Able to satisfy routine courtesy and travel

needs and to read common signs and simple sentences and phrases.


S/R-2 Limited working proficiency: Able to satisfy routine social and

limited office needs and to read short typewritten or printed

straightforward texts.


S/R-3 General professional proficiency: Able to speak accurately and with

enough vocabulary to handle social representation and professional

discussions within special fields of knowledge; able to read most

materials found in daily newspapers.


S/R-4 Advanced professional proficiency: Able to speak and read the

language fluently and accurately on all levels pertinent to

professional needs.


S/R-5 Functionally equivalent to an educated native speaker


My Indonesian/Vietnamese levels are actually closer to S/R-3.


p. 76: "Learning a language also cannot be done in a short time. The length of time it takes to learn a language well depends to a great extent on similarities between the new language and other languages that the learner may know well. The time necessary for a beginning learner to develop professional proficiency in each language—proven again and again over a half century of language teaching—cannot be shortened appreciably."


Take that! For every hack out there that says you can learn it with this "simple trick".


I actually agree with Lesson 5: Learners’ existing knowledge about language affects their learning.


By the time I was learning my 4th language or so, I started mapping new things I was learning to things I already knew to anchor that knowledge. It was a rather efficient method. 


A key takeaway from Lesson 6 is "knowing how to learn". Sometimes knowing what works best for oneself is really important.


Lesson 10. Conversation, which on the surface appears to be one of the most basic forms of communication, is actually one of the hardest to master.


I knew it! 

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#2
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Posts459Likes277Joined8/7/2018LocationAlmeria / ES
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Other Arabic - Egyptian, French, German, Spanish

Conversation is a toughie I talk with people all the time and I call them my friends but deep down I feel like we may never chat in the same way I can with my close native friends 

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