How to learn any language in six months: Chris Lonsdale at TEDxLing

Here’s a presentation on language learning that encompasses the majority of opinions that are usually discussed here on Lingq .

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Here´s the video, by the way^^


I think he gives very good tips for someone who is going to the country soon, and who will be staying there a long time. I’m content working primarily on my passive knowledge - and activating it slowly - since I’m not likely to be living abroad anytime in the near future.

Interesting talk, great way to sell books

Just like Benny… Learn a language in X months makes a great title, nothing more.

Maybe devoting every day to learning with every possible tool at your disposal (great teacher, best materials) 6 months maybe possible.

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It all depends on the definition of “learn”. If you mean “LEARN” in all its capital letters and in a full sense of the word I assure you it is impossible to do it in 6 months time. No matter what method you use.

I flipped through this and agreed with some points and not with others. Lots of hype. Who is this guy and has he learned a language to fluency in 6 months from scratch?

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The learn any language in x momths never seems to deal adequately with comprehension.

I liked this video, thanks Paul for the link.
THe guy has a lot of passion, it’s a very important thing for language learning.
He exaggerates some points and underestimates other points, for example ‘reading’ that is a very important thing in language learning, I believe.
We know a lot of the importance of the motiviation and of the relevant contents. It’s true.
But I would like to accentuate one of his points: it’s very useful to mix the words that you already know, to make from them hundreds of phrases, maybe some of them would be wrong. However, it’s an exellent erxercise to remember the words better and to train your ability to different spontaneous conversations.

“has he learned a language to fluency in 6 months from scratch?”

I have not watched the video yet, and don’t know anything about the guy, but my guess is the answer to this question is most certainly no.

Well, I read his eBook last night… and he says “I went to Tahiti for a total of six weeks. In that time, I learned to speak fluent French”

I don’t recommend the book. it was quite poorly written… useless drawn-out anecdotes

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I see. Does he mention how he defines ‘fluent’ or how long he was learning French for before he left?

“Does he mention how he defines ‘fluent’ or how long he was learning French for before he left?”

Come on, don´t be such a party pooper!
Definitions and evidence et cetera are no fun.^^

I guess the point he was trying to make is “I´m awesome! Buy my book!”

@ spatterson “Interesting talk, great way to sell books” "Well, I read his eBook last night… "
It seems that he made it :slight_smile:

Here is the article about this video How to learn any language in six months – Omniglot Blog

Personally, I don’t think there is any big difference from what the most people here do in terms of language learning. However, I think his definition of “fluency” is a little different from most of people here have in mind. :slight_smile:

Nah, I didn’t buy his book. It’s actually free (I guess that’s legal) on Google Books. Well, it’s the “preview” but the preview is like more than half the book.

Aaaa! Thanks Paule for adding the link (I think I’m losing it ).

I believe that his 6th action regarding the feedback loop is pretty important in language learning . The example he gives with observing how natives utter the words and how they move their face muscles doesn’t seem very relevant though.

I for one believe that it is more useful to alternate listening with reading out loud to be able to utter the words of the target language as accurate as possible .This also can help improve other things such as your vocabulary and your awareness of the sentence structure of that language you want acquire ( accompanied by reading of course ).

I think it is possible to become fluent n 6 months under certain conditions, I just didn’t think he had much original to offer despite all the hyperbole.

I just read the article that goes with the video. Most of it seems very sensible and I think most people here would agree with what he says. The only thing I don’t agree with is his point six.

“6. Copy the face – watch native speakers and observe who their face, and particular their mouth, moves when they’re speaking”

I have never found trying to do cheap imitations of native speakers to be useful. I think it is best just to try act naturally, which means not paying conscious attention to your own and other people’s body language and facial expressions.

This point reminds me a lot of Benny’s advice about copying the body language and facial expressions of the people around you. I remember his one video in German after his German mission where he has a short, not particularly spontaneous, conversation showing off his C1 (i.e. B1/2) German. His body language and facial expressions when he first started talking were so weird that it almost looked like he was making fun of Germans.

I agree with how Steve says it’s important to “see” yourself as a native speaker of your target language. The concept of “cultural weightlessness” is important to accept the language and speak naturally and fluently, but imitating people’s facial expressions and whatnot is a bit too far and just weird. Not to rag on the guy, but Benny makes a particularly amusing Chinese speaker. :stuck_out_tongue:

What this man is saying about a language parent is NOT that the parent should ignore your errors but that he or she will “feedback their understanding of what you’re saying using correct language, and uses words that you know.” This will help the you (the learner) to modify your own speech. This is the way actual parents help a child learn correct language. Actual correction usually happens only in specific situations such as when the child is preparing a speech or writing an assignment for school.