When it comes to language acquisition there seem to be quite a few schools of thought, so it might be quite useful to summarize them here:
Noted adherents: Steve Kaufmann, Mark Kaufmann, Friedemann Rohr
Kaufmannism is an input based audio lingual approach. It is characterized by an initial silent period of 150 to 200 hours (unless living in a country where the language is spoken), and minimal focus on the study of grammar and syntax.
Verdict: known to be highly effective if applied with consistency over time.
Noted adherents: unknown
Jonesism may be regarded as a refinement of Kaufmannism. It was invented in the late 20th century by a vodka sodden Welshman. It is essentially the same as Kaufmannism, but incorporates the formal study of grammar alongside input based activities.
Verdict: the finest system known to mankind
Noted adherents: John Fotheringham, Igor the Beaver
Krashanism is, in many ways, a primitive precursor to Kaufmannism. It eliminates entirely the study of grammar, and recommends a silent period of up to 2000 hours.
Verdict: might work well for some
Noted adherents: Benny the Irish Polyglot and many deluded teenagers.
(NB There are worrying signs that Susanna Zaraysky may also be a follower.)
Bennyism is characterized by a desire to speak – pidgin style – from hour one. The exact details of the method have never been presented in an entirely coherent manner, but the suggestion is that one should simply walk into a foreign supermarket, grin like a senile ape, and…well…speak.
Verdict: based on a total lie. Benny has learned some languages to a high level, but certainly not the way he claims.
- THE CHURCH OF POLYGLOTTERY
High Priest: Prof. Alexander Arguelles.
A highly mystical system, involving an input based simultaneously silent-and-loud period (known as “shadowing”) which lasts for countless thousands of hours. Disciples of this order go forth two or three times every day into public parks, march along in straight lines while listening to their iPods, and…well…shadow.
The method also incorporates strict old-school study of grammar, and the handwritten copying of copious amounts of authentic target language text.
Verdict: plainly not for everyone – although the results do speak for themselves. This method requires iron discipline, it is probably excellent for those with severe anal tendencies and OCD sufferers.