(Sorry for the shakiness of the camera. I’ll work on that tomorrow. )
The Glossika French Challenge
Why Am I Doing This?
For a while now I have been intending to start learning another language to remind myself of how difficult it is. I have been speaking Chinese for nearly 20 years now and teaching it for six years. I find myself surprised when my students are unable to pick things up as quickly as I think they should. Perhaps I have lost touch with the difficulties of learning a new language. This French challenge is my attempt to remind myself what it’s like to learn a new language.
What Text Will I Use?
I will be using Glossika French 1. You can learn more about this here at Amazon.
Glossika uses a method that I promote to all my students frequently. Basically, it involves repeating sentences over and over again out loud. It’s a process of muscle memory, training your mouth and brain to cooperate in producing the sentences fluently.
How I Teach My Students To Speak Better Chinese
When I’m teaching students this method for studying Chinese, I will ask them if they play a musical instrument. If they do, I like in the process to learning a new composition to be performed live before an audience.
I asked the student how long it will take in the practice. They often respond saying several weeks. They’ll start at the beginning and master the first few notes. Once they have that down then no move on to the next few notes, slowly mastering piece by piece and then putting it all together.
It’s the same process that allowed me to have a huge breakthrough when I was studying Chinese in China back in 1996. I was having a lot of difficulty with the pronunciation. Watching a television commercial and Chinese, I noticed how the voice actors spoke very slowly and clearly, and enunciated every character.
Immediately, I got the cassette tape that accompanied my textbook, and I recorded each sentence three times onto a new blank tape. Then, while looking at the text and listening to the tape. I began to master each sentence piece by piece. First pronouncing a single word, and then the next word, and then the two words together, and then adding a third word, and a fourth, and so on, until I could say the whole sentence fluently. And then I moved on to the next sentence.
A dialogue that at the end I could recite in 10 seconds, took me more than 30 minutes using this method to master. I know what you’re thinking, it’s extremely time-consuming. It is, but it paid off hugely.
My Progress in Speaking Standard Chinese
A Chinese person will think I’m Chinese when talking to me if they can’t see me. I have spoken with numerous Chinese people on the phone that hadn’t yet met me, and then when they finally met me they were extremely surprised that I wasn’t Chinese. I attribute my standard pronunciation to this method.
I will attempt to use this method to master is much of the Glossika French 1 as I can. At my current pace, it should take me about a year to get through French one.
I intend to learn three new sentences each day while reviewing sentences from previous days. I will attempt to review sentences for as many days as I can until the load becomes too much.
I will attempt to blog every day about my progress, or lack thereof.
Please feel free to give me pronunciation tips, as I know I am botching some of the pronunciation.
I look forward to the journey!