Stephen Krashen

The fundamental misunderstanding about language learning.

There are two distinct activities:

  • Linguistics. This means language science. It is the conscious study of the components of a language or language in general. This is like all other sciences and intellectual persuits: biology, chemistry, mathematics, etc..
  • Language learning, or rather, language aquisition (which is the term I'll use for the rest of this article). This means developing the ability to understand, speak, read or write in a language. This is not a conscious activity, but rather training your brain, programming it, more like muscle memory than studying math.

Both are worthy pursuits. Some people are interested in only one, some people are interested in both (I'm interested in both).

However, the great, fundamental misunderstanding, is that most people believe that developing the first (linguistics) will lead to the second (language acquisition). This is completely false.

As Steve Kaufmann likes to quote:

Polish Update

I meant to write about this weeks ago! But it slipped my mind. Anyway, I finished reading the first Harry Potter book. I didn't reach my goal of pages to translate, but that never mattered anyway. I reached page 223 and I was shooting for page 250.

I've already started reading the 2nd book, but the audio book which I ordered from Empik hasn't arrived in the mail yet and I'm worried it may have gotten lost. Usually, I buy all my Polsh books/audio-books from one of the great Polish bookstores in Chicago (Polonia, Quo Vadis), which is how I got the paper book right away. Anyway, for some reason I can't find a local bookstore that has the audiobook for the 2nd one, even though they've got the 1st, 3rd, 4th, etc... So I had to order that from Poland.

Harry Potter: The book that taught me Polish…

The title of this post is very misleading... I could already speak Polish at an intermediate-ish level before I started reading Harry Potter. However, this experience has really taught me alot!

What and why?

First, some background. Along with my own evolving ideas about language acquisition I've recently (maybe over the last 6 months?) become interested in the ideas of Stephen Krashen and Steve Kaufmann. They both emphasize "comprehensable input" as the primary means to language acquisition. This means reading and listening.

So, I decided that I wanted to read more in Polish. I had two primary goals:

  • To expand my vocabulary.
  • To read something interesting that I would enjoy.

I chose Harry Potter for the following reasons:

Syndicate content