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3.2. Stage III language learning activities


That was fast! You're already at Stage III. Imagine how much slower your progress would have been if you had left matters to chance. You might have eventually reached Stage III, and you might not have. You might have developed a certain level of speaking ability, and then become extremely “fluent” in speaking at that low level, without much further improvement. This is called fossilization. But you haven't fossilized, because you have followed a strategy for exposing yourself to concentrated comprehensible input, and for getting extensive practice at extemporaneous speaking. If in addition to using powerful strategies during Stage II, you also used powerful and appropriate strategies during Stage I, and assuming the language is of average difficulty, then you'll have only been learning it for three or four months and already you'll have reached Stage III. Stage III is a long stage. You'll be in Stage III for many months.

At all stages, the goals are the same: get massive comprehensible input, engage in extensive extemporaneous speaking, and get to know the people who speak the language you are learning. Achieving these goals gets easier as you go. In Stage I, which may not have lasted all that long (depending on how you went about it), achieving these goals required a lot of ingenuity. Therefore I needed to write at considerable length about Stage I language learning activities in Thomson (1993a), where I also took the reader well into Stage II . The Stage II activities which achieve these same three goals are far simpler, and my discussion of them here is somewhat briefer than my discussion of Stage I activities there. My discussion of the Stage III activities will be similarly brief. This is partly due to the fact that the methods discussed here provide extremely rich comprehensible input and conversational interaction without the sort of semi-artificial “gimmickry” that was needed in Stages I and II. Here in the truest sense, you learn the language by using the language rather than by focusing on the language as such.

3.2.1 Getting exposure to input on familiar topics
3.2.2 Becoming familiar with unfamiliar topics
3.2.3 There are so many ways to talk

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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.]

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