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Showing posts from May, 2018

How to learn a foreign language

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Language-learning is a struggle. Of course, some of us enjoy it, but even the most dedicated linguists find themselves groping in the dark till they figure out some basic things. And for many of my own students who come from science background, the world of languages is absolutely confusing unless you design a proper system to teach it to them.

I find the same to be true while attempting to learn Spanish using Duolingo app and the excellent Senor Jordan channel on Youtube. Duolingo throws patterns of sentences and vocabulary at you, but the learning does not feel systematic. The app doesn't tell you “this is the rule”. And unless you are smart enough to figure out the grammar yourself, all you end up with is words and patterns. For instance, there are two forms of the verb “to be” in Spanish -ser & estar. Duolingo shows you sentences that use both these forms but it does not tell you when to use ser and when to use estar. That’s where Senor Jordan comes in.

Anyway, I think la…