316 The Secret to Learning a Foreign Language as an Adult

Speech Materals

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CEO David Bailey describes how he taught himself French in only 17 days.

I’ve learned several foreign languages as an adult. I was able to learn French to conversation fluency in 17 days using the following techniques. Note that I had previously learned Spanish to fluency so this was not my first foreign language.

In summer of 2005 I stayed with a French friend in a tiny village in the Beaujolais region of France. No one in the village spoke English and, since my friend knew I had an ambitious learning goal, she refused to speak to me in English as well.

I -Word Understanding
conversation fluency – the ability to hold a conversation in a certain language (basic conversation)
fluency (in a language) – the ability to think, speak, read, write and understand a language with a fluency as your native language

II – Have Your Say
Aside from staying in France (to learn French), here are the other things Mr. Bailey did to learn French in17 days:
1. Writing things out by hand is the best way to memorize things (vocabulary, etc)
2. Listen to language learning materials and hear other students make mistakes.
3. Music is a great way to learn the intonation of a language and train your facial muscles as you sing along.
4. Listen to native people speaking in normal to fast pace.
5. Read children’s books you’ve read as a child.
6. Write basic essays about yourself (Where are you from? What do you do?..like?)
7. Learn filler words – words or phrases that native speakers say all the time but
have no real meanings.

316 The Secret to Learning a Foreign Language as an Adult

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