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3.7. What it's like to keep evolving


We think it is amazing how language ability grows. For your early language learning visits, it will take a lot of planning in order to have rich experiences of understanding and talking. But in a few months you will be hearing volumes of language that you can understand, as long as your native speaker friends are making a good effort to be understood by you. Yet even then, structured activities can be beneficial, helping you to quickly fill in gaps. But as you continue to join with people around experience using language, you will move out into the open plains of culture learning. You will find suggestions in our paper Language Learning in the Real World for Non- Beginners. In brief, you tend to move from being able to understand speech about the here and now, to being able to understand other language with familiar content (such as stories about events that are familiar to you), to being able to understand concrete language with unfamiliar content (such as stories about events that are unfamiliar to you), to being able to understand "fancy" language, like oratory, poetry, academic language, etc.

But don't make language learning too complicated. Simple activities 1 3 can keep you profitably busy for months, moving you steadily forward. We recommend that you at least do those activities. Some people can provide you with much longer lists of language learning activities. We prefer to suggest a smaller number of carefully chosen ones ones that we feelare especially powerful and relatively pleasant for a wide variety of people (including some of you who were supposed to have quit reading on the first page).

When you meet for an hour or more with a native speaker friend, it is good to switch activities fairly steadily. Other activities like Total Physical Response (see the books and materials available through Sky Oaks Productions, P.O. Box 1102, Los Gatos, California, 95031 1102) for lots of ideas. And once you're into this, you'll be inventing your own activities that fulfil the CUTE principles. Changing activities can make the time more fan and interesting for both you and your native speaker friends. Evaluate the quality of each language learning visit by the "laugh ratio".

And that's it. We have suggested five simple activities that you can use on a regular basis. Now you will need to follow the following five steps:

  1. 1) Establish contact with one or more native speakers.
  2. 2) Schedule a language learning visit
  3. 3) Plan your language teaming activities for your visit.
  4. 4) Conduct your visit.
  5. 5) Repeat 2 5 (and sometimes 1)

Five activities. Five steps. And you're on your way.

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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 3.5, published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 1999. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 21 March 1999

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