Step 2: active listening

Now we are back to the step you are already familiar with, if you completed the example. Let me repeat the key points here. This step is to

  1. Listen to Telugu while at the same time following the English translation with your eyes.

  2. Do this until you no longer need to follow the English words and still understand every word you here in Telugu. You are done with this when you can close your eyes and listen to the sound, holding a clear picture of what the words mean.

As you listen, be as vivid in your fantasy as you can. Try to imagine the faces, the colors, the smell, the mood, what ever comes to your mind is important. Remember: the key to effective learning any new information is to build bridges between the new and what you already know. What comes up in your mind is exactly this point where we can attach the new element to. I can not stress this enough. This is not a game for dummies, or for children. It is the way our mind works.

There was a time in history when abstraction was favored over direct, vivid experience. As people recognized the ability of generalization or reducing the concrete into a general concept as a higher form of intelligence, they tried to formulate all the knowledge in an abstract form. This was the time when all the images and simple descriptions vanished from scientific literature. This development soon drove itself into the corner. Modern development is clearly back to describe the achievements as simple as possible.

Albert Einstein.jpg

Albert Einstein, the German physicist, who discovered the mass-energy equivalent once wrote: "It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience" (published in 'Philosophy of Science', 1934). This is sometimes referred to as: making everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

So if Einstein allowed himself to ignore the unnecessary complicated theories, why should we stick to it?

Step 2

Take as much time as you need for this step. You can use the pause button on your MP3 player to allow a certain phrase to sink in. Remember, it is not only the active time of listening to some new information that makes up a successful learning session, but also the breaks in between allowing yourself to digest and integrate the new stuff.

Another very useful feature of all common MP3 players available today is the ability to repeat a certain sequence over and over again in a loop. This is usually described as A-B function. On the start of the sequence push the A button. As soon as you reach the end push the B button. The sequence can be as little as a second or as large as several minutes. Marked this way, the phrase is then played in a loop until you stop it. This is very useful if you want to work out a certain phrase more intensely.

So let me once again list the advantages of this step:

  1. After finishing this step we fully understand the words it contains. This means that it does not matter if we hear the text in English or Telugu, we understand both versions easily. This is not only an intellectual understanding. It is also coupled with a full range of emotions and experiences. All this is done in a short time with minimal effort.

  2. All words have been learned within a meaningful context. Similar to other languages, the words in Telugu often have several different meanings depending on the context. Learning this way we will soon develop a natural understanding of how the words are used without having to memorize any abstract rules.

  3. It is very motivating to watch the own progress. We start to understand concrete phrases right away. This is very encouraging and helps a lot to keep one going.

Thouse feelings of success can make one fly. Often people choose to learn a third language this way simply because it is so easy and fun.

But before we rush into starting a new language let us first discuss step 3: passive listening...