What is Language From Nothing?
It is an experiment designed to test out a specific language learning strategy. My goal is to simplify the language learning process by using a simple approach. In the past language learning for me was too much of a scattered, disorganized, and complicated task. I would usually start with enthusiasm, but didn’t really ever have a good strategy to find relevant material, study, retain, or use all the information I received – leaving me feeling lost and overwhelmed very soon after. There have been several languages I’ve started to learn but never followed through. Other people have also expressed similar feelings when trying to learn a new language. So, the website is meant to implement and test out my simple approach by using it to learn a second language.
What is your simple approach?
Interaction Patterns. Basically this is taking pieces of the language you are learning and intentionally creating patterns in ways that prompt you for a response – using the new the language. In other words purposely creating and engaging in an interaction between you and the new language. When we speak in our native language it’s usually to take part in some sort of conversation. Conversation isn’t repetition. Conversation isn’t reciting a memorized list of words. Conversation isn’t translation. Conversation is interaction. You interact by responding to prompts given by other people who then respond to yours. In a normal conversation the interaction is automatic. It’s like a reflex that happens without too much thinking. The idea is to gain the ability to make a reflex response in the new language. By learning how to create interaction patterns, you can take any materials from any resources you find and easily transform them into understandable, useful interactions that you can practice. Check out the site for lots more information on this.
What makes you a language learning expert?
Well, nothing actually. But that’s the point. This is why the name is Language From Nothing. It is meant to document the language learning process starting from nothing. I am not an expert, nor do I claim to be.
Is there anything that qualifies you for a language learning website?
Four factors come to mind.
The main one is that I’m starting as a beginner. Even though I may know a little about the language already, I plan to approach it from the seat of a beginner and see how it goes. The idea is to document my own studies learning another language (or several) for better or for worse. Many language learning websites out there are run by very smart, skillful people who already know and speak a variety of languages. However, sometimes after reaching an advanced level, you forget what it was like to be in the other levels. This is where I plan to use my lack of knowledge to my advantage. Starting as a beginner and working my way to advanced, I will be facing the same challenges, asking the same questions, and experiencing the same obstacles as any other learner would in each stage of his journey.
The second factor is that I have language learning experience. Even though I haven’t fluently learned another language yet, I have at least tried on several occasions. I took 4 years of French in high school and 1 year of Spanish in college. I lived in Brazil for a couple months studying Brazilian Portuguese. I tried learning Tagalog (a language of the Philippines), and got familiar with Korean while teaching ESL there for 3 years. But I do not speak any of these hardly at all.
Another factor is, because I’m a scatter-brain, I am constantly seeking out materials to help enhance my learning in any way I can. I’ve read books, listened to lectures, hunted YouTube for videos – anything I could get my hands on pertaining to learning languages. There is a lot of information out there. Some not so good, but some real golden nuggets. I would take these awesome nuggets of info when I found them and slowly begin piecing them together into a strategy that I hope will help simplify and accelerate my own learning.
The fourth factor that somewhat qualifies me for this experiment is my teaching experience. I taught basic Spanish part-time for a year at a private middle school. After that I went on to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) at a grade school in Korea for 3 years. While I am not a certified teacher of any sort, I have gained a lot of experience growing my skills as a teacher.
That’s the gist!
While none of this is incredibly outstanding, it does give me a decent groundwork for sharing my knowledge and experimenting with my strategy.
Is this site only for beginners?
No. The approach I am taking can be applied to every stage of the process. There has been a slight misunderstanding with some people that it is only for the very beginner. What I’m implementing is a strategy, not a grade level. You can use the strategy for material as advanced as you want. The reason I’m starting from the beginning is to document the whole process as well as to show how easy it can be to start from nothing.
So, what are you waiting for??? Let’s GO!