Academic English

I have never bought into the idea that we can teach or study academic English, or business English or any other kind of English as a special subject. English is English. ??

If we are interested in a subject, we will read on it, listen to audio content about it, perhaps even talk about it and write about it, and in this way we will acquire the vocabulary and turns of phrase that we need. We will acquire these skills incidentally, as we pursue a subject of interest. As Krahen says “students acquire an enormous amount of academic language through extensive reading, probably the most powerful tool for reaching advanced levels of English competence.”

Read the original education expert’s article on the??Education Week blog??and then read Stephen Krashen’s common sense rebuttal in the comments section.

Language learning is like a jigsaw puzzle.

Here is a recent video I did on this subject. The more the pieces of the language come together, the more other pieces start to fall into place. At first nothing makes sense, and you wonder if anything ever will. But as you persevere, and find small areas of meaning, as you learn words and phrases, these enable you to add more and more. You never know when you will suddenly start to notice something or to say something that was hidden from you before.

My Russian challenge

In three days I am leaving for Europe. One day in Berlin, two days in Riga, on business, and then roughly two weeks in Russia as the reward for my Russian learning.

I will spend one week in St. Petersburg, and then one week in Moscow. My only goal is to experience Russia first hand, and to raise the level of my Russian. I am hoping that being surrounded by Russian for two weeks will enable me to make a major breakthrough.

I believe that being in a Russian environment for two weeks will take my Russian to a new level. I will acquire a new relationship to the language. It will cease to be something that I study from a distance. For two weeks Russian will be real and present.

I am a great believer in going to the country where the language is spoken, but not when you start or are still stumbling in the language. Rather I believe the greatest benefit can be gained by visiting the country when you already have acquired some familiarity with the language on your own. This enables you to function in the language and you come away from this experience much more confident in your abilities. That has been my experience with other languages. I am looking forward to seeing how it goes with Russian.

English for Immigrants and LingQ

An important local organization that helps immigrants, part of the Skills Connect??program in British Columbia, has accepted LingQ as a useful language learning resource. This means that LingQ expenses may now qualify for partial reimbursement from the government. This is a first for LingQ.

If you are an immigrant to Canada, or elsewhere, you might want to look into whether your LingQ payments could qualify for reimbursement.

Finding the Time to Study Languages

I was asked how I find the time to study languages. I am planning do a video on the subject. First I did a little research by googling the term above, “Finding the time to study languages.” You can do the same. I will list here the first few links that I came across.

From Omniglot , from language learning advisor and from foreign language expertise.

Finding the time to study languages can be a problem for independent learners. Most independent learners do not live where the language is spoken. Most cannot afford the time to attend classes

Finding the time

. Most have professional, family and social obligations and routines. What to do?

1) Develop the ability to rely on listening as your major language learning activity. Develop the ability to listen while doing other tasks. This will give you at least 30 minutes, and usually much more every day, that you can devote to language learning.

2) Devote some of your reading time to reading in the language you are learning.

3) Devote some of your TV, video watching time to doing so in the language you are learning.

4) When you have the chance to speak do so, but don’t worry if you don’t.

5) Most of all decide that learning the language is important. We all find the time to do things that are important to us.