The method of Heinrich Schliemann

Listening to “the linguist” I read about Heinrich Schliemann and his method of learning foreign languages.
Schliemann created his own method.
He read very much aloud, without doing any translation work, even if he didn’t understand the meaning and besides he wrote texts about subjects in which he was interested in. These texts were corrected by a teacher and Schliemann repeated them regularly. And at the end of his life he was able to speak in about 20 languages.
Sounds good and easy!
What do you think about this method?

1 Like

Everyone learns a bit differently. Some people learn more by seeing and reading like me, someone learns better by listening, someone by repeating (so named ‘shadow method’), someone needs writing to remember better. You can try the Schliemann’s method and maybe it will be ‘your method’. But what about me, it would be for me boring to repeat something without understanding.

You’re right, everyone is focused on another subject, follows another access to dive in the language.
If I understood well, Schliemann concentrated on the written text, which he prepared daily to be corrected. So he repeated his own texts.
I am much more interested in the reading part, to immerse in (interesting) texts and not to give up until I have reached the end. But naturally only in the case, that I’m really captivated by the story.
So today I want to start my own attempt to do it like Schliemann, reading without suffering of not knowing any word and generally ignoring the missing vocabulary.
Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

Schliemann died more than a hundred years ago. He probably would´ve used another method if he had internet access, a skype account, a smart phone and whatnot…


Thank god that we have all that stuff to learn languages!
In any case much more fun and for everyone the perfect tool to reach personal FL goals.
On the other hand I enjoy to get in touch even with “old methods” which sometimes don’t seem to be very efficient, I try them, use them, adapt them or leave them.
In the case of my reading project (without being terrified not knowing every word) I already thought about how to ease it from time to time, perhaps pumping in some vocabulary in Lingq after some chapters, going on reading etc.
I just started with the lecture and quiet honestly, I’m already a little bit nervous to miss some important meaning and contents…

“I just started with the lecture and quiet honestly, I’m already a little bit nervous to miss some important meaning and contents…”

What about pronuncation? You´ll mispronounce a ton of words…well, unless you´re at a VERY high level. At least that´s my experience with French and English. Even native speakers of English have to guess the pronunciation of unfamiliar words. And how would you use this method to learn…say… Chinese ? Would you just sit down with a book and go “ching chang tan fong minh chong chi bu geng fao”? xD

I´ve heard that “your” languages are much more phonetic than most other languages, but still…

“I try them, use them, adapt them or leave them.”

Sounds good to me.^^

“What about pronuncation?”…
I also thought about it and found some explanation how it worked at that time.
In his biography you can find some curious details, e.g. in order to achieve and practice a good English pronounciation, Schliemann went to church to the mass and listened to the sermon. Afterwards he loudly repeated what has said the priest.
Very tricky!

Well, sounds like a great 19th century language learning trick…^^

Reading out loud is in my opinion a very important aspect of language learning. It helps you reach a normal reading speed and it also facilitates you to learn words easier since you’ll have a more active role in the text you are enjoying. It can also boost your confidence for when you will be able to speak with someone.

1 Like