Chapter II – Part 11

Vera opened my eyes to the fact that children learn their mother tongue first in their mothers’ wombs, 9 months long, only listening. Then they come to this world and only listen, even for some years.

$ And we are forced to read and speak at the very first lesson.

$ Vera points out the same thing. With a certain nostalgia you mentioned today that children learned so naturally. To me, it is easier to learn a language when you are adult than when you are a child. Children are not only supposed to learn a language but also the whole reality: what’s love, what’s a chamber pot, what’s wind. We already know that and we just need to put on this knowledge a web in a foreign language. Secondly, we already know how to learn, and the more you learn the easier you learn: since I learned this and that I’ll manage to learn something else. Vera says: nothing motivates in a more efficient way than your own success. After that, when you are adolescent, hormones are a giant obstacle.

$ Hahaha!

$ There’s nothing to laugh about.

$ Right. Relevance of this observation has amused me.

$ What I’m saying does not refer to people who are not interested in many things and/or don’t nurture their potential passions. Their information web is underdeveloped in their mother tongue; consequently, putting on a web in a foreign language comes across many obstacles.

$ That makes sense to me. If I understand texts in my mother tongue with an effort, this effort will not disappear on its own if the text is in the foreign language that I’m learning.

$ I’d like to add to this the fact that the more things I’m interested in in my mother tongue, the more attractive the process of learning a foreign language seems to me. Do you remember what you imbibed like a sponge while learning a foreign language?

$ At the dentist’s. Everything connected with travelling, with other countries. And with food.

$ No comment. Before we take up step 3, let me show you what books are the most adequate for this method and we’ll make step 1 and 2 together. Have a look at this self-study guide. Every unit starts with a vocabulary list. This is essential for the beginners so that they don’t need to look up every word in a dictionary and take a risk of getting stuck when it turns out that the meaning of a word is described on 16 pages. From pre-intermediate on, you can work with a regular dictionary. Another option consists in staying in touch with somebody who speaks the language you’re learning and who can prepare lists like that. Then there is the original text: we are going to decode it. Underneath there is its translation which is very helpful if the decoded text sounds so strange that you don’t understand it. Later on, in this very book there are exercises, however, they are not indispensable in this method. And of course we need a CD or another medium with recorded texts. Here you are: your vocabulary list and we can get started.

- 听说, 你要去北京了?

- 对啊. 公司让我去北京办点儿事儿.

- 什么时候走?

- 下星期三.

- 你对北京很熟悉了吧?

- 当然. 你看这些照片. 这是故宫, 着是颐和园…

- 你登过长城吗?

- “不到长城非好汉”, 我怎么能不登长城呢?

- 你还去对 别的城市吗?

- 上海, 西安, 成都… 我都去过. 可是, 有一个地方我还没去过.

- 什么地方?

- 你的家.

- 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.

$ – Hear say, you want go Beijing particle?

- Well [exclamation], company let I go Beijing do business.

- What time leave?

- Next Wednesday.

- You with Beijing very familiar [particle] [particle].

- Of course. You look those pictures. This is Imperial Palace, this is Summer Palace.

- You climb [past] Great Wall whether?

- Not to Great Wall not good Han. I how can not climb Great Wall [particle]?

- You also go [past] other cities whether?

- Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, I all go [past]. But, have one [measure word] place I still not go [past].

- What place?

- Your home.

- Welcome you go exclamation! If you think go if, I accompany you together go. But, you must for me buy ticket.

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