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Creating an Environment March 30, 2007

Posted by Edwin in Danish, Motivation, Multiculturalism, Thai.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a YouTube link from a language forum. Stuart Jay Raj claims to be able to speak,read, and write in more than 15 languages, and he is still learning new ones. Here is the first of the 5-part series you can found in YouTube.

Stuart seems to adopt the ‘dictionary approach’ to learn languages. He reads dictionaries! Whenever he begins to tackle a new language, he would spend the first week learning 3000-5000 words. This method, of course, will not work for most of us, who do not have photographic memory.

One interesting point Stuart mentioned which is vitally important for him is to create an environment for language learning:

“The issue of ‘environment’ is so important. Many people when learning a language like to make the excuse ‘I don’t have enough time to learn’. But the secret is that we have to create an environment.”

Stuart recalled how he learned Danish when he was 14. He did not know who in his town could speak the language. So he opened a telephone book and looked up those with Danish-sounded lastnames. By plotting the addresses on a map, he was able to locate the Danish community in the suburb. He then took the initiative to blend with that community.

“… I know how to create an environment around me that will teach me. … I know how to create an environment around me that will spark the learning into taking place.”

We might not be able to memorize 3000-5000 words in a week. But surely, we can create an environment to facilitate our language learning. With modern day’s technologies in communication, this has become an easy task. What excuse do we have left for not doing so?