What does it mean to learn a second language?


Knowledge of the language includes 4 aspects. All of them are interconnected, although they represent independent skills:


It is the latter that interests us most of all. We begin to learn the language in order to speak in it.

The development of language ability has 3 phases:

  1. initial acquaintance;
  2. immersion (passive receiving);
  3. honing skills.

Surprisingly, it is the second, passive stage that makes the main contribution to the development of a conversational skill. She prevails over all the others. The whole modern theory of language acquisition is based on this idea.

Language Learning Priorities

I've ranked them in order of importance:

  1. Hearing perception. You can be proficient in grammar, have an extensive vocabulary, and be naturally determined and self-confident. But if you don't understand everything the first time, everyone becomes useless.
  2. Confidence in communication . This is what in English is denoted by the word fluency. She should not be confused with the accuracy of speech. The most important thing when communicating in a new language is to get rid of shame and fear of looking ridiculous.
  3. Mastering basic grammar . This should not be confused with learning the rules. It is not gaps in a tangled and sophisticated web of rules that hamper our speech, but the lack of elementary practical grammar. When we think about how the verb sounds in the past tense.

Why the "traditional approach" doesn't work

For a reason I can't understand, language learners and most teachers turn priorities on their head. We study grammar, memorize words and put pronunciation instead of the banal "addiction" to the language.

This approach to language is a fatal mistake. It was formed two centuries ago, when nothing was known about the work of the brain. The main purpose of this method was not to gain knowledge, but to be able to punish students. Why has this approach not only survived, but grown into a huge industry? Why did an erroneous theory become an axiom?