I think that trashing language learners who want to try out new methods is a big problem online. People are looking for any excuse to say another’s method is terrible and throw it in their face. But why?

The more experimenters there are, the more language learning information is out there for you.

Maybe they have the next break through in fun language learning… maybe their method doesn’t work very well…so? If they are posting an honest status of their ability in their new language using that method, it only allows us to use that to make more efficient language methods in the future.

My RSS reader is filled with language learning progress blogs just for this purpose. Instead of discourage them, I carefully observe what they’re doing and how fast their skills in the language is improving. Perhaps I see one thing that they are doing that seems to be working really well while the other seems to be boring or dragging down their progress.  I simply take the part I think works best for them and would fit in best with my routine and leave the rest alone.

Recently there was a post on Keith’s Voice on Extreme Language Learning entitled breaking the silence. Keith’s method basically involves a 2000 hour silent period so the brain can get used to the sounds of the foreign language before you have to do any output. So, he just watched TV for 2000 hours gaining a feel and a passive understanding for the language.

In this post Keith shows his first ever conversation in Mandarin Chinese and I think he got unfairly criticized in the comment section. He did no output at all until this conversation. The commenters were saying he should have been able to easily respond to the other persons questions… but why should he have been able to? He just watched dramas for 2000 hours. He didn’t work through the textbook drills asking things like “where are you from?” “what’s your job?” etc. He’ll learn this stuff out of necessity now that he’s started the output phase and I look forward to see his progress and how the silent period affected his ability to confidently use tones in the future of his learning.

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