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The LAMP method



LAMP is an acronym for a book called Language Acquisition Made Practical, written by Thomas and Elizabeth Brewster in 1976. Although not widely used in public education, LAMP has been very widely used by expatriates learning languages to work in developing countries. It is based on courses taught at the Toronto Institute of Linguistics from the 1950s to the 1990s , and draws especially on the work on Donald Larson and William Smalley as represented in their book, Becoming Bilingual.

Theory of language

The Brewsters take a communicative view of language as principally a social activity, but there is also quite a lot of the structural view represented.

Theory of learning

The theory of learning can be summarized by the aphorism "Learn a little and use it a lot". The actual methodology used is that of audiolingualism, but the emphasis is on self-directed learning. Here are some of the important principles:

  • You can learn language by interacting with ordinary people in everyday encounters
  • Language is more of a social activity than an academic activity and so should be learned in social situations
  • Learners should bond emotionally with members of the speech community and culture
  • Learners should elicit texts about things they want to say, learn them, and then go out and use their texts with a regular route of native speakers of the language.

Here are some of the objectives of the LAMP method

  • Learning a series of texts (monologues or dialogues) that can be used immediately in real life communication situations.
  • Developing accuracy and flexibility through pattern practice, based on structures from the texts.
  • Using Total Physical Response to build comprehension.
The syllabus

LAMP uses a learner-generated syllabus based on texts the learner wants to learn to say. There are suggestions in the book however for texts appropriate to different levels.

Types of learning techniques and activities

The actual methodology is audio-lingual. Mimicry and memorization are used to learn the texts and drills based on pattern practice are used to gain accuracy and structural control.


The first section of LAMP gives a detailed procedure for how to elicit and learn a text.

Context for this page:

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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