Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Great Blog

by AJ

Here's a plug ("plug" is slang for "recommendation") for a great language acquisition site called Phrase Base.

Here's a quote from the blog:

We at Phrasebase have been advocating language learning through the relentless memorization of phrases. We feel that traditional language learning material’s approach of focusing on word memorization is simply too granular to be effective.

We feel that focusing on word vocabulary memorization in your language learning efforts is just too detailed and granular to be effective. It’s analogous to the ingredient salt in a cookbook recipe as Sodium Chloride NaCL.

For academics, it’s ok to get into this much detail. But for those who just want to converse in the language, to hear and be heard, the key is to lighten up and NOT to dig too deep into the details, your time is better spent focusing on communicating thoughts and ideas one phrase at a time.

By focusing on Phrases instead of individual words, you reap the following advantages:

1) Words can be ambiguous, a Phrase can not. The word blue can refer to the color or the mood, and if heard instead of written, blew has yet another meaning. The phrase “the sky is blue” has one single meaning that can’t be misinterpreted. Ambiguity creates confusion and the need for clarification, which just wastes time.

2) You can’t ever use just a word. You can’t go to the bar with a buddy and step up to the counter and say “have”. Words don’t get you anywhere in the real world. On the other hand, you say, “I’ll have a beer” and whola…. now you are in business.

3) Individual words get learned over time as a byproduct of focusing on phrases. If for example, I learn the phrase “the sky is blue”. I may not know at first which word refers to the sky and which one refers to the color blue, all I know is what this phrase communicates. Later, perhaps I learn a phrase “there is not a cloud in the sky”. Well, again, I may not know which word means cloud and which one means sky, but I know the meaning of what it communicates. But if remember the earlier phrase, “the sky is blue”, well now I make a connection and can decipher which word now refers to the “sky”. When you learn this way, an amazing thing happens, it hits you profoundly… nobody ever told you what the word “sky” means… you didn’t read it in a book that you know you can always go back and refer too, you didn’t have to learn it by a teacher who likes giving pop quizzes, it was learned the natural way, it was learned in the most powerful way possible to learn something, your brain makes a discovery… Ah HA! You’ve figured it out. This is the most impacting form of learning possible, and more so, it now strengthens your memorization of both phrases.

Fantastic! I'll be checking back to this site often.

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