在我們的多語咖啡有些人學語言進步很快,而且還會講好幾種語言,這些人通常都被認為是有天分,實際上是因為他們就算不會也想辦法開口,所以進步得很快。這次就來說明在任何語言交換都能學到東西、並生存下去的方法。

Why is it that certain people seem to pick up new languages with ease, while everyone else has to struggle like a normal person? The truth is it has nothing to do with language talent. These people know how to start thinking in their new language from the very beginning, and actively find ways to practice this. So, how do they do it?


Let’s say you’ve decided to learn French. You come to a language meetup, and get up the courage to sit at the French table. Wait a second, you can’t speak French at all! Someone speaks to you, and you have no idea what they said or how to respond. Clearly you’re not ready to start speaking French yet, right?

假如你想學法文,於是就到多語咖啡參加了法文桌。糟糕!你根本還不會說法文,就有人開始用法文跟你聊天,你不懂他們說什麼、也不知道怎麼回答,這表示你還沒準備好說法文吧?

Wrong! Stick with it. Yes, it’s hard to dive into a language environment where you’re completely new, but it’s the most efficient way you’ll learn to start thinking in that language. The reason is simple: You can do all the preparation and study all the grammar you want, but what you’re really trying to do is learn a language. You won’t start learning how to speak until you start practicing speaking. Humans have an innate capacity to learn new languages, and the way we do it is by immersing ourselves through listening and speaking. Any time you spend doing something else — including mental translation — is almost certainly better spent trying to immerse yourself.

不,你應該要盡量用目標語表達!確實,要立刻融入全新的語言真的很難,但這是開始用目標語思考最有效的方法,理由很簡單:因為熟能生巧,想做好某件事,絕對要靠大量練習,而不是避免使用它。

Remember when you were learning your very first language? You probably don’t, but we can assume it involved scenes of your parents shoving things in your face and making various sounds. At first you didn’t understand these sounds they were making, but over time you learned to associate them with particular things being shoved in your face. You learned to associate the word “water” with the clear, tasteless liquid, and the word “pizza” with that round, flat thing that always burns the roof of your mouth.

記得我們剛開始學母語的時候,爸媽會把東西推到你面前、發出一些聲音,一開始你完全不懂他們說的是什麼意思,但漸漸的你就會把聲音跟那些到你面前的東西連結,開始明白「水」是指透明、無味的液體,「 披薩」是圓、扁、經常燙到嘴的東西。

For adults, the biggest challenge of learning a language is recreating this situation. In other words, to learn a new language naturally and fluently, first we need to learn how to become language infants again. Fine, but how? Here are some tips to get started:

大人學語言最大的挑戰,就是複製學母語的情形,如果想要自然、流暢的表達一個新語言,我們就要變回「語言的嬰兒」。盡量用目標語溝通的方法可以分成兩部分:

I. Speaking from zero 從零開始

  • Mimic. Even if you can’t say a single word, you already have a great resource in the people around you. By mimicking what you hear others saying, you’ll start to get an impression of the pronunciation and expressions in your new language.

重複對方的話:有人跟你說話時,你可以試著重複他的話,重複別人的話可以幫助你,加深對發音和這個說法的印象,而且當別人注意到你不懂時,可能會另外教你一些東西。

  • Use eye contact and facial expressions. Language is all about communication, and nonverbal communication often conveys even more than words. For instance, even if you don’t know how to say “I don’t understand” in French, you can always raise your eyebrows and shake your head to communicate the same thing. The other person might ask you “you don’t understand?” in French, and then you’ll know how it’s said.

善用眼神和表情:語言就是為了溝通,非語言溝通經常能傳達更多。你可以皺眉、搖頭讓對方知道你不懂。對方可能會用法文問你:聽不懂嗎?這時候你就知道法文的不懂怎麼說了。

  • Use props, or pen and paper. Even if there’s no pizza nearby to point to, you can always draw a picture. Use pictures to express yourself, and watch as native speakers feed you the words you need to know.

利用道具或用紙筆畫:你可以指向一個東西表示,或嘗試用畫圖表達然後看母語會怎麼說,這樣你就學會這個東西該怎麼表達了。

  • Accept your current level. No one was born being able to discuss their plans for the weekend, let alone politics. Don’t feel bad if all you can say is “bonjour, comment ça va?” Simple stuff is important too. And if the topic is clearly beyond your level, don’t sweat it. It’s perfectly fine to sit it out once and a while. We’ll share more useful tips in part 2 to help you get there.

提醒自己還是個嬰兒:沒有人一出生就能聊週末的計畫、更別說討論政治,因此就算只會打招呼、問候也不要沮喪,下一篇再教你更多招就可以說更多~


1 Comment

語言交換生存法 2:A guide to survive in any language exchange, part 2 · February 19, 2018 at 12:28 pm

[…] Part I 列出了一些基本的策略,就算還不會說一個語言也能讓你在語言交換的情境中生存下去。第二部分列出一些更明確的方法,可以百分之百成功利用新的語言活下去。 […]

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