Chapter II – Part 10

$ Since the issue of traveling showed up, I feel consolidated in encouraging you to answering the question: what do I need riches for? Anyway, coming back to Birkenbihl. She draws a lot from Montessori’s method, e.g.: Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed. Or: help me to do it alone. Generally, Vera often refers to how children learn the language.

$ You can’t copy that anymore. Children learn in such a natural way.

$ I’m going to hark back on that in a second. It all started when Vera graduated from psychology and specialized in research on how human brain works. There was a time she needed to learn a new language very quickly so she enrolled to a regular language course and couldn’t master the language. She found out that traditional methods were contrary to the way the human brain works, that they were not brain-friendly. If I learn today that the dialogue:

- Zai Xibanya xiuxi ma?
- Bu xiuxi. Gongzuo.
- Wo ye zai gongzuo.

means:

- Are you on holiday in Spain?
- No, I’m not. I’m working.
- I am at work, too.

when I want to say in one month’s time:

- Are you on holiday in Spain?

I’ll probably start looking for the word “holiday” in my brain. The brain needs information structured in a different way, that’s where the first step in Vera’s method come from: so called decoding. Look at the example:

欢迎你去呀!要是你想去的话,我陪你一起去。但是,你得给我买机票。

Here is the translation:

You’re welcome! If you want to go, I can keep you company but you have to buy me a ticket.

Decoding is a “translation” word for word:

welcome you go exclamation! If you think go if, I accompany you together go. But, you must for I buy airplane ticket.

$ It looks like arduous work!

$ You can make arduous work pleasant. Our clients take advantage of two main ways. Firstly, they work in groups: I’m decoding chapter 1, you – 2, he – 3, I – 4, you – 5, he – 6 etc. Secondly, which refers mainly to levels from pre-intermediate on, they decode only those parts of the texts that are new, complex etc. to them. Nevertheless, from my observation, decoding with all its strenuous traits, pays off. Assuming that mastering a given text = 100%, decoding gets you to 60-80%.

$ Is the aim to learn the text by heart?

$ By the way. In fact, what does it mean to speak a language? It means – among others things – that I know some texts, sentences, expressions, dialogues by heart and I know how to juggle them.

$ So in my opinion it is easier to learn the text by heart from the very beginning. Assuming that I understand it.

$ For sure it is easier. And faster. So what? If my texts are not structured by decoding I won’t be able to use them when I want to compose my own statement. No, that’s not the way it is. I will be able to use them but I’ll only utter quotations, at least when I am a beginner. E.g.: Where are you from? I come from Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia. What if I don’t come from Zagreb? Forgive me the stupidity of my illustration. Vera puts an enormous emphasis on listening. That’s why step 2 in her method is so important. Here I’d like to come back to the question of children.

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