- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Intellect Books (26 Jun. 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 187151648X
- ISBN-13: 978-1871516487
- Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 17.6 x 2.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,948,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Art and Science of Learning Languages Hardcover – 26 Jun 1995
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Offers a framework for learning any language and provides the arguments as to why anyone should do so, as well as examining the merits of various methods of language learning. The key message of the book is the importance of self-reliance based on a positive approach and efficient organization. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
That is not to say that there isn't plenty to interest here, particularly if you have an interest in the development of, and similarities between, languages. But if you are hoping to discover something that you probably couldn't have worked out for yourself about study methods and exposure to language; or you have already chosen the language you want to learn (and it is not that closely related to the language you already speak), then you probably shouldn't waste be wasting your money here.
Moving away from what teachers do in classrooms round the world - which so often leads to failure and disgust and often the sentiment that one is 'bad at languages' - this book proposes that students have to actively LEARN the language and then shows how good language learners do it. Not by learning lots of vocabulary, as teachers seem to think, but by putting the accent on what is important - for example, just 40 little words make up 50% of spoken English, so they are the ones to learn. In other languages, there are the same few little words which must be thoroughly mastered. The principle is demonstrated and examples are given for several languages.
I would recommend this book to any language learner, and also to any language teacher. Teachers, if you really want your students to learn, don't do what the curriculum or the methods tell you to do. Do what this book says.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Most of it was a waste of money and time. Given that all that stuff was designed or written by "experts" I figured I was the problem. I decided I just didn't have an "ear" for languages and would never be better than a ten day tourist with a phrase book and an atrocious accent.
A couple of years ago, I decided to learn Tibetan and I started as I had in my previous language acquisition attempts. I wasted a lot of time, got stuck in the same ways, made many of the same mistakes. If anything the proliferation of web sites that allegedly support language learning made my attempt even more muddled as so much of the advice seem contradictory or just plain dumb. I seemed to be on track to have another two hundred word, twenty phrase vocabulary that wasn't good for much but ordering meals, finding a bus station or asking about the weather.
Then I found this book. It is the one of the two most pragmatic and useful primers on learning to productively read, write and speak a language that I have found. (The other is Speak Like A Native: Professional Secrets for Mastering Foreign Languages) Written by two people who have been learning and teaching language for decades, it is filled with useful advice, methods and suggestions for acquiring a new language. As importantly, the authors talk about what doesn't work and why, information I found incredibly helpful. The authors focus on how to develop real world fluency in speaking, reading and writing, with an emphasis on self-teaching. They make it clear that fluency is a matter of work rather than "a talent for language" and offer lots of practical out-of-classroom ways for acquiring it.
The book also has an excellent table of contents and index, along with a set of appendices of grammars and lexicons that can be used to as models for developing your own learning materials. It is an easy to use reference for problem solving and handy for learning new ways to approach tasks like vocabulary learning. Above all, it is pragmatic: the authors talk about what works and what doesn't, how long things take, how much time things take. An interesting feature of the book is the author's decision to present their methodology differences, so for example, they offer two different approaches to learning basic grammar.
While I may not agree with all of their opinions or use all of the methods they offer, I have found Gethin and Gunnemark's "Art and Science of Learning Languages" to be indispensable. It has fundamentally changed - and improved - the way I study language and it shows in the progress I am making in learning Tibetan.
Of course, the current price on Amazon ($600+) is stupid. Until Amazon gets a Kindle version, go get the book in a digital format at Google for $10: