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Kick-starting Your Language Learning:
Becoming a basic speaker through fun and games inside a secure nest
by Greg Thomson

1993 Greg Thomson. Used by permission.

Complete Table of Contents


This books describes a developmental approach to language learning for beginning language learners developed by Greg Thomson. It describes how a beginning learner can work with a speaker of the target language to learn to understand basic language structures and vocabulary to be ready to become a basic speaker of the language. This information can be helpful to anyone wanting to do self-directed language learning working with a speaker of the target language.

Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1. What is a beginning language learner trying to do?
1.2. Learning about the language versus learning the language
1.3. You can learn the language in the language before you know the language: an example

Chapter 2. Getting started with your Language Resource Person

2.1. Your very first language session
2.1.1 TPR -Total (and minimal) Physical Response
2.1.2 Back to your first language session
2.1.3 TPR with lots of junk (Object Manipulation)
2.1.4 TPR as role-play
2.1.5 Pictures - the language learner's gold mine
2.1.6 Back to your first session again
2.1.7 For those who want to start talking in the first session
2.2. After your language session is over
2.2.1 Using tape-recordings of your sessions
2.2.2 Daily record keeping --more than just a frill
2.2.3 Planning each session.
2.2.4 Your daily routine
2.3. Some more advanced techniques for increasing your ability to understand the language

Chapter 3. Getting on with talking

3.1. How soon should I start talking?
3.2. General principles in starting to speak the language
3.3. Survival expressions
3.4. Heavy duty two-way communication: a new phase begins
3.4.1 Biting the bullet, or taking the plunge, whichever you prefer
3.4.2 Incorporating heavy duty two-way communication into your daily language learning
3.4.3 Biting another bullet, or taking another plunge, as you wish

Chapter 4. Ideas for vocabulary and sentence patterns to learn to comprehend in order to become a basic speaker

4.1. Some ideas for vocabulary to learn to understand
4.1.1 Which vocabulary items should I learn first?
4.1.2 Some categories of vocabulary Words for referring to human beings Items used by human beings Places frequented by humans Common substances not yet covered Nature Time
4.1.3 Words used to further describe all of the objects covered so far
4.1.4 Things that happen to all of the objects covered so far
4.1.5 Actions of human beings
4.1.6 Additional sources for basic vocabulary
4.2. Sentence patterns you need to be able to understand as a basic speaker
4.2.1 General principles about sentence patterns
4.2.2 Learning to understand simple descriptions and instructions Bare bones Learning to understand sentences that identify and describe Combining descriptive words with names for objects Simple instructions Identification and description of actions and experiences Understanding who is doing it to whom. You and me and he or she or somebody To whom, where, with what, with whom, from where, to where, for whom and whose? More on possessors and possessions The manner of action Adding a little bit of muscle Dealing with the past Talking about the future Making general statements about things that happen, or used to happen Time words When you don't want to mention who did it Asking questions about all this stuff Possible, likely or at least desirable, or maybe even necessary Denying and forbidding Starting, stopping, becoming, continuing and remaining
4.2.3 Expressing deeper thoughts-adding a lot of muscle Stringing sentences together The person who I did it to was not the person who did it to me If this, then that When things happen, other things happen Just because, or even in spite of, or perhaps in order to He made me do it Making comparisons Things I thought, or said or at least wished, and maybe even tried
4.3. Suggestions for covering a basic range of language functions and communication situations
4.4. Final thoughts regarding using the above suggestions

Chapter 5. Conclusion (Kick-starting your language learning)

5.1. Going on once you're a basic speaker
5.2. Other Resources You Might Want to Consider
5.3. A Final Summary and Overview

Back Matter

Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 3.5, published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 1999. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 21 March 1999

1999 SIL International