During the last decades, the primary focus of foreign language learning has been on grammar. Nowadays, a new trend is emerging. While grammar is still important, it appears that it is better to leave it until much later – after a basic understanding of the foreign language has been developed through learning English phrases and vocabulary.
This is a renaissance of ideas developed by great Enlightenment thinkers who managed to teach thousands of foreign language students without the help of computers and internet. In agreement with John Locke, a work by James Hamilton says: “The theory of grammar should be taught only when the pupil can read the language, and understand at least an easy book in it.”
There is a surprising truth to Hamilton’s words. There are two major flaws in the traditional learning methods. One is an early English grammar drill that scares away so many potential students. The second is the emphasis on too much unnecessary detail for beginners. This slows down the learning process to a boring pace and crams student’s mind with unnecessary information.
Take for example an English language course where students learn how to say “I am”. Now it is quite redundant to teach them how to say “My name is” since they already know how to introduce themselves. The same goes with phrases like: “Where are you from” and “Where do you come from”, or “I don’t understand” and “Could you repeat”, and so on. These were real life examples. When students face this over and over again, their time is well wasted.
The language learning progress can be much faster. Recent studies show the enormous importance of English reading. In fact, reading and watching movies in foreign languages can so significantly speed up the learning process, that it’s becoming the most popular way to achieve fluency.
However, in order to make reading English books and watching English movies pleasurable, we need to understand them. The fastest way is to learn English words and English phrases. That poses a problem with the old learning methods. Ernest Blum explains in his essay: “The explosion of computer-based studies of large texts has demonstrated that the number of words needed to read foreign-language books exceeds by several multiples the amount of vocabulary that is acquired by most foreign-language students.”
The idea behind our English Online course is to teach you English words and phrases in a super-fast and super-effective way, then let you have some fun reading, listening, exploring grammar, and practicing your speaking skills.
We use two principles to make the system work.
First, we use a memory technique called Spaced Repetition. Paul Pimsleur says that continual repetition at increasing intervals has enormously positive impact on memory. We put this knowledge to use by presenting English words and phrases to passively studying students at carefully chosen intervals. In our empirical experience, it works like magic.
Second, we select only the most frequent English words used in day to day conversations. We base our selection on several scientific and popular publications, which study transcriptions of billions of words and create frequency lists of word usage. A study by George Kingsley Zipf supports the empirical law which says that the frequency with which distinct words occur in large corpora declines regular, fixed, and simple way, as the number of vocabulary words in the text increases. For example, the most frequent word occurs two times as often as the second.
This law has unprecedented consequences in relation to English for beginners courses and especially English online courses. With 10 most frequent words, we can understand one fourth of the text. That’s right: 10 words = 1/4 of the text. With 150 most frequent words, we get a grasp of one half of any text or conversation. Now imagine what power gives you those 2000 hand picked words that you will learn fast and effortlessly with our English online course.
You don’t have to know all the words to read a book or engage in foreign language conversations. Researchers specialized in vocabulary acquisition found out that our brains are capable of inferring the meaning of unknown words by their contexts. However, it is necessary to have a good foundation to build your castle on. That’s our job. No drilling, no scribbling, no stress.
A study from Great Britain by James Milton states that their students of French acquire only 530 words per year on average. A study from Japan by Kiyomi Chujo determined that their Japanese high school students acquire only 3200 English words in four years. And a study from Germany by Erwin Tschirner says that most of their English students do not pass the 3000 words mark after eight years of study.
That’s why we are here to help!