How to master a foreign language without a teacher. Part 2. “Step-by-Step Strategy”

    Languages ​​are not taught, they are learnt!

    This article is for those who want to freely speak a foreign language. It doesn't matter if you start from scratch or already learn a language over the years, but you still have difficulties with the perception of fluent speech by ear or stress, if you need to talk to a native speaker, here you will find a step-by-step strategy for learning the spoken language.

    Note: The article materials are based on the research by E.D. Averina, D.B. Nikulicheva, E.V. Gunnemark and P.Neishna, passed through the prism of my perception and experience of studying 3 foreign languages.

    Step-by-step strategy

    1. Start with sounds.

    Any living language is above all sounds. If you are not familiar with the sounds of the language being studied - you do not hear them! The brain replaces them with the closest analogues, which can be found in the Russian language. And often combines several unfamiliar sounds into one familiar. As a result, a huge number of words that actually sound differently become indistinguishable to you by ear. This inevitably leads to difficulties in understanding a foreign language. But even worse is that, not having mastered the sounds, you cannot say a word in such a way that it would be understood by native speakers without tension.

    Fortunately, everything has already been invented here, and there is IPA - the international phonetic alphabet . You just have to find out what sounds from IPA are in the language you are studying and get acquainted with how they are pronounced. Video tutorials on sounds are easily searched on Youtube. For example, for English: Sounds American

    2. Find out the pronunciation and articulation

    You have already become familiar with the sounds of the new language. Now we must accept the fact that he has a fundamentally different articulation system. Find video tutorials on articulation and pronunciation features of the language you are learning.

    For example, English is stress-timed language (stressed vowels are accentuated, and unstressed are reduced so as to maintain equal time intervals between the shock ones). And in Spanish unstressed vowels, on the contrary, are pronounced as clearly as possible, because from them depends largely on what is said. There are a lot of aspirated sounds in German, and in Chinese each syllable is characterized by a particular tone.

    Also very important is the concept of placement - a place where vowels resonate ( video for English )

    Do not regret time for the first 2 stages. Having mastered the sounds, taking into account the peculiarities of pronunciation and articulation, you will save yourself years that you do not have to spend on retraining.

    Note: when speaking in a foreign language, you should not experience discomfort such as “breaking the tongue”. If something like this is felt, then there are errors in the articulation.

    3. Learn the rules of reading

    Now you can go to the letters. Read the rules of reading. It is important that they relate letters to the sounds of IPA, and not to the letters of the Russian alphabet!

    There is no sense in cramming the rules. almost all languages ​​have a huge number of exceptions. Nevertheless, in general terms, knowing them will not hurt, so I recommend simply writing them out in some document. And reread it once a week, each time removing from the document those rules that you already remember.

    Note: Never write down the sound of foreign words in Russian letters. This creates a powerful binding of the visual image of the word to the sound in the native language. And in order to master the sound of a foreign language, it is necessary to accept the fundamental difference of its phonetic system from the system of the native language.

    4. Learn the right words

    First of all, master the minix of the language being studied. It includes from 400 to 500 most used words. This amount is enough to understand 90% of everyday speech. If for a language of interest to you, a ready-made collection is not Google, then you can take a list of words from the appendix to the book "The Art of Learning Languages" by E. Gunnemark. Minix is ​​good because it is a practically universal compilation, and it is enough to translate it into the language you are interested in.

    Separate emphasis should be placed on the study of pronouns and interrogative words. So how exactly they, even with a minimum vocabulary, allow you to start a dialogue.

    After you have mastered the minix, think about which words you most often use in your daily life (in addition to nouns, write down verbs and adverbs as well). It completely depends on your field of activity, interests and hobbies. Therefore, there will already be an individual set of words for each person.

    Note: at the initial level, do not learn synonyms, because the less options you have to say the same thing, the easier it is to bring it to automatism.

    Methods of memorizing new words.

    Для запоминания слов хорошо работает система интервальных повторений. Есть много сервисов, которые её реализуют, например Anki, Memrise, Quizlet, etc. Желательно, чтобы там была возможность создавать свои карточки.

    Следите, чтобы на карточке была озвучка слова с правильным произношением (можно взять с Forvo) и транскрипция в IPA. Это очень важно, т.к. от момента первого озвучивания слова напрямую зависит его вспоминаемость и быстрота перевода в активный словарный запас. А вот перевод слова на русский язык лучше на карточке не указывать, ограничьтесь картинкой, которая у вас ассоциируется с данным словом, либо фразой по следующим методам:

    • Метод подстановки
      Для некоторых слов можно найти популярные выражения, пословицы или поговорки, в которых они встречаются. Подставьте слово на изучаемом языке в эту фразу и вы запомните его очень быстро. Например, "Слово — не sparrow [ˈspærəʊ], вылетит не поймаешь."
    • Метод ассоциаций
      Подумайте с чем у вас ассоциируется звучание слова, можно использовать уже знакомые слова по принципу ребуса. Додумайте вашу ассоциацию до ситуации, в которой проявится ещё смысл этого слова. Например, "он бежал и в лужу puddle [ˈpʌdl]", "socket = sock + it"
    • Метод словесных сетей
      Для каждого нового слова вы строите своеобразную карту: по центру располагаете само слово, над ним — более общие понятия, по бокам понятия того же уровня (слова, которые могут стоять в одном перечислении с изучаемым), снизу — типичные словосочетания с этим словом, а также более частные понятия, если такие есть.
      Такой mindmap лучше запоминается, чем отдельное слово, и гораздо легче переводится в активный словарный запас.

    Первые 2 метода можно использовать с самого начала, в том числе создавая для них карточки. А третий лучше подходит для 8-го шага, на этапе потребления большого количества контента на изучаемом языке.

    5. Bring basic language constructions to automatism.

    Spoken language is largely composed of cliches and pattern phrases. To master them you do not need to dive into learning grammar tables, rather the opposite. There are methods of Michel Thomas and Paul Pimsler , who introduce the basic pattern phrases in a natural way "in such a situation, say so, but in this one, like that." To get the maximum effect from these methods, you should visualize each situation, trying to present it in as much detail as possible and combine it with your life experience.

    In addition to the above methods, there is also a miniframe Gunnemark, which includes about 100 popular speech stamps. They are also worth remembering, integrating into your own experience. These phrases are so common that it is easy for you to remember the cases from their lives that are suitable for them. Expand this list with phrases you personally often like to use. However, for each typical situation, leave only one expression, so as not to be confused. And remember that mastering complete phrases takes precedence over learning individual words or rules.

    Pronunciation and Phrases

    Произношение фраз очень важно, т.к. оно отражает не только произношение слов, но и ритмико-интонационный рисунок, в котором зачастую закодирован смысл фразы. Поэтому старайтесь найти готовую озвучку. В курсах Томаса и Пимслера, само собой, уже есть озвучка, а для своих фраз придётся поискать.

    Для английского есть замечательный сервис Youglish, при помощи которого легко найти сценки из фильмов и сериалов, в которых звучит изучаемая фраза. Посмотрите сценку целиком и произнесите реплику актёра максимально близко к оригиналу, как бы вживаясь в его роль.

    Для других языков можно поискать нужные фразы на Leo, Forvo или в текстах песен. Если ничего не нашлось, поднакопите фраз и закажите их озвучку носителю языка, либо воспользуйтесь сервисами по переводу текста в IPA, такими как EasyPronunciation.

    Примечание: При тренировке произношения фразы, старайтесь, наращивая темп, но сохраняя ритмико-интонационный рисунок, произнести её как можно быстрее, как скороговорку. Когда это получилось сделать, сохранив комфортность произношения, вернитесь к обычному темпу и повторите фразу ещё пару раз.

    6. Forget about cramming grammar. Learn media perception

    Language is a reflection of the culture and worldview of its carriers. It is cultural differences that create translation difficulties and bewilderment about some grammatical constructions. To make it easier to master a foreign language, you must initially proceed from the fact that it reflects a different world perception, so you should try to try on the values ​​of a new language of consciousness for you and present yourself as its carrier.

    To better get used to the new role, be sure to study the contrasting description of the language being studied in comparison with Russian, for example: "Comparison of communicative behavior for Russian, English and German" , "Features of communication between Spanish and English cultures . "

    Study all the materials that you find for a foreign language you are interested in on how thinking is reflected in grammar. If there are few of such materials, then just take a self-instruction manual on the grammar of the desired language and read it all diagonally, noting any interesting points. Turn into a detective for a couple of days, who happily notices the various features of the expression of thoughts through grammatical forms. Summarize and memorize them in the form of amusing associations, for example, you can notice that English loves gossip, so it uses separate grammatical forms for them. After all, about whom and what do people gossip about? About other very specific people (he, she) and organizations (it) that do something (Vs), have either already done (has + V3) or are going to do (is going to V), well, also about all sorts of events ( it).

    Starting from this stage, learn new words only in context! Lingvist , Reverso and Leo to help you. Better still, remember not the words, but the typical collocations with this word (collocations). You can take them from explanatory dictionaries or just think about what phrases you come to mind when you hear this word. If you come up with examples in Russian, then translate them not literally, but with the help of Reverso.

    7. Simulate the pronunciation of carriers

    Every polyglot knows: how accurately you imitate the pronunciation of a native speaker, how well you understand it. Pronunciation and listening comprehension are two sides of the same coin. © D.B. Nikulicheva

    The main methods of training for imitation carriers:

    a) Choose the texts you are interested in and order their voice acting from the carrier

    Let him write in two versions: slowly and in daily pace. It is necessary to ask him to pause, while reading the text under the recording, in places where it is intonationally logical. During the pause, the carrier will have to pronounce the same part of the phrase to himself, so you will get audio, where the length of the pauses corresponds to the length of the spoken fragment. On such audio files it is convenient to practice in a regular player. First you need to listen to the sound of the speakers' speech, and then (during those very pauses) try to imitate them as close as possible to the original. Try to pay special attention to the rhythm-intonation pattern of each phrase.

    b) Automated active listening on special services

    For example, on Speekify there is a convenient training system according to the method described in the previous paragraph. For this, the service has prepared audio recordings, which are divided into short fragments by pauses. For English and Spanish there are 5 levels for increasing the complexity of audio tracks from simple to really hardcore.
    In addition to the training mode in this service, you can record your version of phrases and get an output of the degree of similarity and, most importantly, the combined record. It is very convenient to listen to your phrase immediately after the phrase of the carrier, the ear begins to discern even minor flaws.
    The service is a good choice of languages ​​for the basic level. But courses for advanced levels while there, unfortunately, only in English and Spanish.

    c) Songs in the target language

    The songs that you like are very good training material. And so you pull along to sing. It remains only to find the text and listen to the song line by line. Try to listen to the fragment of the song first several times, trying to recognize as many words as possible, and then look in the text and listen to the same fragment again. Thus, the text you will remember better than if you just read it, and the bonus you remember exactly how it sounds in the song. After such a study of the song, you can easily sing along when you hear it the next time.

    Whatever method you choose, do not forget that it is important to work out each audio recording many times. As the famous British phoneticist J. O'Conner said, “It is much more useful to listen to the same passage six times than six different passages once.” If in Speekify for this, lessons are provided for repetition, then in the first version you yourself should not forget to return to the tracks already passed. Well, repeated listening to your favorite songs is not a problem at all.

    8. Increase the flow of incoming information in the target language.

    New words and phrases are most easily recruited from books that interest you, favorite movies, songs that you enjoy listening and singing, meaningful replicas in live communication. That's when we really want to learn and remember a new word or a new meaning. Therefore, a set of vocabulary, you can start with those works that you already know almost by heart. After that, you can go to unfamiliar content.

    But how to choose it? According to the study "How many input words?" Paul Nation, correct input should contain no more than 2% of unfamiliar words. Based on this criterion, you can select materials for reading and viewing that are suitable for your level. It can be both adapted books and novels of modern authors. In the case of video, it is enough to analyze the subtitles or watch randomly selected 5 minutes, counting unfamiliar words, they should be no more than 8. The calculation method is also suitable for selecting Youtube channels and radio stations that you can listen to for the best educational effect.

    What to do if you are interested in more complex content than your level allows?

    Читайте параллельные тексты по методу Ильи Франка. Либо читайте с опорой на художественный перевод (метод Елены Авериной), т.е. найдите не только оригинал произведения, но и его перевод на русский. И читайте в таком формате:

    1. Прочитайте пару абзацев (страниц) в оригинале, пытаясь понять хоть что-то, пусть даже мельчайшие крупицы смысла.
    2. Прочитайте соответствующий им перевод на русский, не сопоставляя отдельные слова и предложения.
    3. Если на первом шаге было мало что понятно, то перечитайте тот же фрагмент ещё раз в оригинале.
    4. Повторите с 1 шага

    Важно выбирать достаточно объемные произведения (от 200 страниц), с которыми вы не знакомы, и с начала читать в оригинале, чтобы вам было по-настоящему интересно что же дальше (т.е. жанр тоже должен быть вам интересен). Также важно не скатываться в осознанный перевод, позвольте мозгу самостоятельно заняться сопоставлениями в фоновом режиме. Для этого на 2-м шаге визуализируйте то, о чём идёт повествование, чтобы запомнить это на уровне мыслей и образов, а не слов. Фишка в том, что примерно после 100-й страницы у вас почти исчезнет необходимость во 2-м и 3-м шаге, даже если по началу вы почти ничего не понимали.

    По аналогичной схеме можно смотреть сериалы.

    In any case, at this stage, the enrichment of vocabulary goes mainly on the machine; you no longer need to create a card for each word or invent mnemonics. You repeatedly meet with the same words, at first understanding them from the context, and then memorize them without conscious effort. Well, for greater efficiency, you can additionally apply the method of verbal networks from p.4.

    9. Keep an audio or video diary

    At first, make up textual stories about yourself, how the day went, what plans for a weekend / vacation, as well as fictional stories about any of your fantasies. The main thing is to add as many details as possible to them. Look for the most appropriate grammatical forms for each specific case. Check the resulting text on Lang-8 or order a paid check from the media if you do not want to publish your stories.

    After the text is verified, read it under the recording on audio or video, and then listen to this recording, analyzing whether this is similar to the speech of the speaker of the language being studied. If the result does not please you with sound, then pay more attention to the 7th item.

    Since daily stories overlap in many ways, you will eventually remember most of the wording that you use in them, and will be able to record such audio without preparation.

    10. Switch internal dialogue to the target language.

    Perhaps your subconscious still has phrases that you do not know how to say in the target language. Follow your internal dialogue and find out what these phrases are. Then translate them through Reverso and learn as described in the 5th paragraph.

    11. Communicate with native speakers of the language being studied (who do not know Russian)

    You can search for carriers on Italki and similar services. However, the important point is that you do not have a real goal to practice a foreign language with native speakers. The goal is to communicate on interests, consider this when searching for carriers. Working contacts or friendship is what really interests you. Communication exclusively for the sake of language practice is boring and quickly annoying.

    Of course, to communicate with native speakers of an interesting language who live in your city is also wonderful. But do not flatter yourself that freely communicating with them, you will be able to communicate with carriers who do not know Russian. For more information, see the video "Your English

    Important aspects

    In conclusion, I want to talk about several points that are orthogonal to learning languages, but very important for mastering any skill:

    • Motivation
      Before you start learning a foreign language, think about what you will do with it and how your life will change. Paint it as detailed and colorful as possible.
      Write what you do by imagining that you already speak the language. It is this inclusion of a foreign language in your daily life that will be your global goal. But in order not to lose the fuse, break it into small, positively formulated SMART goals . In principle, each of the points of the above strategy can be wrapped in such a goal or in a few.
    • Removing limiting beliefs
      If you have beliefs that learning languages ​​is difficult, or that you do not have the ability to do this, or that it is too late at your age and the like, then you should know all this - nonsense!
      The study of negative attitudes is the topic of a separate article, if not a book, so here I’ll just advise you to look for materials on this topic yourself. Removing these settings is important because they greatly inhibit your progress.
    • Interest
      In fact, any recommendations are not binding. Although the above tips and improve the efficiency of learning a foreign language, everything will be useless if you are not interested in following any of them. It is not so important whether you will learn words on Quizlet , Lingvist or writing out in a notebook, will you get acquainted with the grammar in general or step by step, practice Speekify or take individual lessons with a carrier, learn the language independently or on courses, the most important thing - do what you are interested in doing. After all, the development of a language, no matter how effective the method is, is not a sprint, but a marathon. And there is nothing worse than losing a keen interest in the language being studied.
    • Sense of measure
      It is important to determine the optimal time for you personally in order to avoid overwork. You can start with 20 minutes, and follow your feelings, if you feel that "floated" - reduce the time classes. If after 20 minutes you still feel high concentration and excitement, you can add 5 minutes each.
    • Regularity
      Due to the maintenance of interest and a sense of proportion, keep regular contact with the target language. It is better to practice daily for 20-30 minutes than 7 hours once a week.
      Even if you have a very tight schedule, you can use the wasted time when you are in a traffic jam, waiting in a queue and the like.

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