Principles of language acquisition

Crawling babyI’ve found that the best way to learn a language is the same way we learned our native language, as a baby. As babies, we learned immersively. We knew through many contextual experiences what specific words meant. We should never focus our study of a foreign language through academic means.

As we grew up, our parents read to us from books with pictures. As we got older, our books had fewer pictures but we continued to learn through contextual things in the book. 

I’ve found in learning many languages that we should focus first and foremost on learning through our ears and eyes. As babies, we couldn’t read so that is how we learned. We were hungry and our mother would ask if we were hungry. That gave a lot of contextual meaning necessary for us to get fed so eventually we would tell her that we were hungry.

When I was living in Beijing, China, I met a Korean girl that I liked so I started teaching myself Korean. I didn’t ever live in Korea but I did spend a few weeks there. I bought some Korean books that had hours of audio. I think it had about an hour of audio for each chapter. I would listen to them constantly. Even after returning to the US, I got a job that would allow me to listen to the audio constantly while doing the physical work. I never studied the grammar in-depth but I somehow was still able to learn so much and speak well in Korean despite my lack of experience speaking in Korean. Listening sets a foundation for speaking in your target language.

It has been years since I’ve done much with the Korean language so I couldn’t do it anymore. It has been well over a decade since I last used Korean much but this experience taught me that you can learn so much through immersion and listening.

There is no quick and easy path to complete fluency in a language. It takes hard work, time, and experience. It may not be easy but we are building the tools to make it easier. We want to make it so you don’t always have to go and live in another country and still learn a foreign language fluently. 

Will you join us on this great ride? We'll see you there!