English Teacher Article Learn a Language in One Day

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I clicked on a Google advert on our site that offered the chance to 'Learn German in 1 Day'. While the claim is ridiculous, I was curious about the method that lay behind it. It is 'a revolutionary memory technique developed by world-renowned learning expert, Dr. Michael Gruneberg', though Google could only find a few hundred mentions of him. Like all miracle learning methods, it gives us a scientific gloss, here claiming to be 88% more effective in one study.

The basic technique is to use 'mnemonic image' to remember vocabulary items. An example given on the website is the Russian word for a cow- karova - and the suggestion is to imagine a car running over a cow.

While this will certainly help me remember karova, the technique isn't original- it has been around for years, and I'm not sure that it could be extended into an entire teaching system and, like most methods that promise unbelievably fast learning, it concentrates on memorisation of vocabulary items, which can produce quick results in a demonstration, but doesn't necessarily build up to conversational fluency. It's the sort of thing that would work on a one-day course and be effective, but it really shouldn't be claiming that a language can be learned in a day, nor that learning words is the answer to all our language needs.

Categories: General

8 Comments

I agree. Learning strings of vocabulary and putting them into a sentence in one day doesn't necessarily make you efficient in that language.An advert that promises fast, easy results to learning or doing anything in a short space of time is attractive. If I need water, I switch on the taps, if I want to write a letter I use email, if I need anything I can order it online. Is it possible that there are actually some countries "out there" (I'd know which ones if only the remote control for the T.V. was within reach)where people have to haul water for miles in buckets every day? Places where people make fires to cook some poor unfortunate animal they cruelly hunted down? No supermarkets? No microwaves? Heavens, I couldn't live without my microwave!
The mnemonic method might work; it depends how much space you've got left on your hard drive..sorry, I meant brain.I've got an awful lot of junk in mine:-) The cow for karova mnemonic was quite upsetting.I shall now NOT remember what karova means because I don't want to think about cows being run over by trucks.It must be mentally exhausting to imagine associations like that to remember vocabulary, and do the learners get a choice, a drop down menu or something?
Even NES can have vague moments where the name of something escapes us and we say, "that thingie".
It might be useful to memorize "that thingie", (you know, the animal that gets run over by trucks )in as many different languages as possible, and that would save the awful bother of having to flip through dictionaries.
I'd love to learn German in one day, but even if I achieved this amazing feat, I'm sure I'd wake up the next morning tabula rasa, and slap my forehead saying, "Dumpkoff"!

Individual examples might well work, but can you construct a teaching method out of what is basically a technque? How would you make a mnemonic that made sense of the structure of the third conditional? It will work for some vocabulary, but not much more.

Good point, Brian. In fact as I read your comment I couldn't find a single instance where one could use a mnemonic. Not even the word "vocabulary".
Isn't that cute?
Two people just have to write comments and the whole thing appears to be debunked. If conversation and discourse were just about vocabulary, then fine, we could just point to things and go "Ugh", and make an unhappy face when we point to a cow. Of course, the unhappy face would mean absolutely nothing, as the variables would be too many. Id like to know how a mnemonic could be constructed from conceptual/abstract or any thought, intention, idea or feeling.
Can I say Q.E.D. now?
*ggggggggggg*

Isn't quite weird one having to memorize lots of key words and short expressions to remember just one ???

Hi,

I would stay away from books like "Learn language X in Y days". Those have never worked for me. The best way I found is actually to watch DVDs in the language you want to learn and to display the sub titles in English. Repeat this 3-4 time with a movie you really like and you'll pick up the natural spoken language (not the type of language taught in school) automatically without having the impression of actually studying.

heeeeeeeeeeey
Ineed to know English as fast as I can
because Im traveling on July and I need to comunicate
because I will study there.

please helppppp
right nowwwwwwwwww! \
pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

I think just reading the language you are trying to learn is a good way of learning. Im learning german and i read a good book called Die Familie Gruenschnabel.

it actually depends on the learning capability of a person. Some people learn just by hearing and some visual. For me, i think mnemonic image will be of great help to people either hearing or visual learner. nice information!

leslie
Learn English with mary

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