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Sink or swim language school

Motivate people by abandoning them
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We learn our first language by osmosis, sort of, but are highly motivated at the time, whether or not we acquire it instinctively. There are many people who have little choice but to learn a new language, and some of those manage it very fast.

So, i suggest this as a strategy for learning a language. You pay a "college" for a course in the language. They then kidnap you, deprive you of anything but a wad of cash and a passport and ship you to a settlement in the part of the language-speaking area where the lowest proportion of people share a language with you, then abandon you. You then have to find your way back.

nineteenthly, Nov 03 2010

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       This is, of course, the complete opposite to the way that the British Empire worked. We dumped hordes of ill-prepared travellers, mostly from the poorer classes, in foreigh countries but, rather than force them to learn the local language, we forced the locals to learn English. This seems to have worked rather well judging by the proliferation of English speakers around the world.

Not so much motivating people by abandoning them but motivating others around them by paying them rather too much attention.
DrBob, Nov 03 2010
  

       Well, invasions are more expensive than sending one person somewhere else, unless that somewhere else is another planet.
nineteenthly, Nov 03 2010
  

       'round here it's a yearly event for high-schoolers called the "March Break Ski Trip" where we load as many late adolescents as possible onto buses and ship them to Quebec for a week where, armed only with pheremones and as much liquor as they can stash in their luggage, they proceed to amuse the local constabulary.
FlyingToaster, Nov 03 2010
  

       My version of that was to be taken to the _border_ of the neighbouring country for a week where everyone hated the official language and used to insist that we didn't speak the language we were supposed to be learning because of the French hexagonal fixation.
nineteenthly, Nov 03 2010
  

       At the now extinct World College West, my girlfriend participated in an exercise where you were were taken on a long drive blindfolded and dropped off in a strange place with only a few dollars in your pocket.   

       You had to find someone to give you shelter for the night and find a way to get home the next day.   

       All participants made it back okay - I would have found such an exercise a minimal challenge, but for some of them it was a scary experience.   

       I thought this idea was going to be about learning to yell "HELP" in a foreign language while struggling to stay afloat.
normzone, Nov 03 2010
  

       Seems the logical variation of this is someone else deciding you need to learn the language, and them arranging to have you kidnapped and held hostage.
baconbrain, Nov 04 2010
  

       // I thought this idea was going to be about learning to yell "HELP" in a foreign language while struggling to stay afloat. //   

       That'll be the splash course equivalent.   

       Yes, [baconbrain], that would be appropriate for the younger generation.
nineteenthly, Nov 04 2010
  

       I remember seeing a TV programme that tested 3 individuals trying to learn a language. 1 person was given full, delux access to a take-home learning pack (Linguaphone, or something), another had a private tutor for a fortnight, and the third got cheap plane tickets and travelled over to stay with a family for a week (or two).   

       The costs were not wildly different. I can't remember the assessment results but the visit to the country itself certainly wasn't too bad.
Jinbish, Nov 04 2010
  

       What about bringing the other country here?
Ian Tindale, Nov 04 2010
  

       The Simpsons episode was unintentional with a corrupt exchange "family" involved.
nineteenthly, Nov 04 2010
  

       Immersion is the best way to learn a language. Within a week you're at toddler level, with a basic vocab and a handy range of hand signals and "grunt & point" gestures.   

       Give it a month and you're able to make basic jokes and carry on a simple conversation.   

       A year and you've got an accent, reasonable grammar and a strong understanding of the vocabulary.
infidel, Nov 05 2010
  

       Yes indeed. It should develop quickly, but a year is a bit of a long time in practical terms.
nineteenthly, Nov 05 2010
  

       But you're proposing kidnapping and dumping the students in a remore area of an unknown country. What's with the squeamishness over a year's immersion study?
infidel, Nov 05 2010
  

       The "language" they learn will be some horrible bastardized pidgin which functions for purposes of communication, but isn't the same one the natives speak. At least that was my experience with a milder version of this idea. But that may be consistent with [nineteenthly]'s intensions.
mouseposture, Nov 06 2010
  

       This might raise the issue of whether a pidgin of a pidgin can arise where the language spoken is already a creole. I suppose it can, but that probably implies that this would work better with some languages than others, for instance those with more regular grammar.   

       [Infidel], it's really about "the best laid plans gang oft agley". One might intend diligence but it might not happen.
nineteenthly, Nov 06 2010
  

       Diligence, true diligence, eludes almost all humans, I have observed.
infidel, Nov 06 2010
  

       Right this second i'm diligently endeavouring not to fritter my life away.
nineteenthly, Nov 06 2010
  

       I presume you know the difference between diligently and successfully? If you're here then it's success that's eluding you.
infidel, Nov 06 2010
  

       I haven’t got time for diligence.
Ian Tindale, Nov 06 2010
  

       Well, i'm succeeding in being diligent, [infidel].
nineteenthly, Nov 06 2010
  

       //I haven’t got time for diligence.// The curse of modern life, nu?
mouseposture, Nov 06 2010
  

       Sink or swim, which is the Berlitz Method.
ldischler, Nov 06 2010
  

       I don’t know. Which is it?
Ian Tindale, Nov 06 2010
  

       The last one tagged.
baconbrain, Nov 06 2010
  

       Once upon a time, yes, as it happens, but i don't get it, sorry.
nineteenthly, Nov 06 2010
  

       I went there once--made the mistake of drinking the water.
baconbrain, Nov 06 2010
  

       Yes, fair enough. Considering that a pidgin or creole is usually but not always (there's a Canadian one i think which isn't) simpler than its parents, there would have to be some kind of limit.
nineteenthly, Nov 07 2010
  

       (+) It would be a sacrifice but I would volunteer to learn Hawiian in this manner... then Latin. I think perhaps Dutch for the third course.   

       Sadly, Hawaiian is pretty easy and i don't know where you'd find a community of monoglot speakers. You need to find a really hard language in a really nice part of the world. Maybe they don't go together?
nineteenthly, Nov 07 2010
  

       Indonesian starts off easy, then gets really hard. The food is good and there is surfing. And volcanoes.   

       I recall reading that several tropical jungle peoples, who seem primitive and all, actually have mind-breakingly complicated languages. (Seven hundred words for "snake" and a lack of TV will do that, I guess.)
baconbrain, Nov 07 2010
  

       [19thly] "Frenglish": 18c French with modern English words sprinkled on top; argualy not more complicated than full English or modern French except for the chronological etymology break. There's also Frenglish (yup, the same word) which is what happens when two natively bilingual speakers get together: a pastiche of English and French based on whatever's the easiest language to express one's thoughts in at the time. I imagine the same sort of thing happens in Switzerland but with much more cheese and chocolate.
FlyingToaster, Nov 07 2010
  

       [Baconbrain], yes, i was thinking of Papua but i don't know how pleasant it really is there because the island's big and full of whatever, and it's sort of a bit Australian too. Maybe Bougainville or New Britain?   

       Thanks [FT], sure that's true but i had a First Nation-French creole in mind. Maybe it's a tendency in Canada for some reason. Not sure about Switzerland interlingually but they do have a weird thing going on with their native non-French, non-Italian Romance dialects, plus Swiss German to my Ruhrgebiet-dominated brain is really quite peculiar.
nineteenthly, Nov 07 2010
  

       [Baconbrain], yes, i was thinking of Papua but i don't know how pleasant it really is there because the island's big and full of whatever, and it's sort of a bit Australian too. Maybe Bougainville or New Britain?   

       Thanks [FT], sure that's true but i had a First Nation-French creole in mind. Maybe it's a tendency in Canada for some reason. Not sure about Switzerland interlingually but they do have a weird thing going on with their native non-French, non-Italian Romance dialects, plus Swiss German to my Ruhrgebiet-dominated brain is really quite peculiar.
nineteenthly, Nov 07 2010
  

       I spent a few years in Papua New Guinea when I was a teenager. Only saw one or two snakes there, one curled up on a leaf, another going away quickly. Of all the languages in PNG, which is probably over 300 distinct unrelated languages, they have almost no words for snow.
Ian Tindale, Nov 08 2010
  

       //almost no words for snow// The Inuit must have stolen them.
mouseposture, Nov 08 2010
  

       //almost//?
po, Nov 08 2010
  

       On the other hand, English also has almost no words for snow.
hippo, Nov 08 2010
  

       If you round down to the nearest thousand for any given concept or thing, then no language in the world has any words for anything. It's no wonder that the world is in such a mess.
DrBob, Nov 08 2010
  

       I came up with 20 words for naturally occuring solid water precipitant without breaking a sweat. All variations on water:ice composition, individual particle structure, delivery method and aggregate ground formation.
FlyingToaster, Nov 08 2010
  

       //a community of monoglot speakers//   

       I'd never seen that word before. I was thinking, Hawiians came from Mongloia? That Genghis fellow really got around.   

       Apparently the Khan and his brothers really did father many children.   

       Back when I was cross-country skiing on waxable skis, I learned that there were many types of snow, most of which could be described with three or four common English words . And there were many words for waxes--"klister" is one I seem to recall.   

       The "Eskimo words for snow" bit may relate to the fact that some languages have no generic word for things that other people do not differentiate between. For instance, Indonesians have no generic word for "rice" even though they live on the stuff--they have "padi" for rice in the field, a word I can't recall for rice in the bag, and "nasi" for cooked rice on the table. Inuit would have little use for an all-encompassing word for snow.
baconbrain, Nov 09 2010
  
      
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