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Kato Lomb's Ten Suggestions for Successful Language Learning

Kato Lomb (1909 - 2003) - famous Hungarian translator, writer, one of the first simultaneous interpreters in the world. She is widely known for her abilities in the field of learning foreign languages. She spoke, read and wrote fluently in Russian, English, French, German. Furthermore, she could speak and understand Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Polish. I read with a dictionary in Bulgarian, Danish, Romanian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Latin, Polish.

In her book "This is how I learn languages", she outlined 10 tips for successful language learning which allow you to implement the principle of total language immersion:

  1. Study the language every day. If there is absolutely no time, then at least ten minutes. The morning hours are especially valuable in this regard.
  2. If the desire to study weakens too quickly, do not force yourself, but do not drop out of school either. Switch to some other form of learning, for example: instead of reading, listen to the radio; put the textbook aside and look through the dictionary, etc.
  3. Never memorize isolated units of speech, out of context.
  4. Write out whole phrases and use them as ready-made blocks in your speech.
  5. It is unpretentious to translate everything that is possible: a flashing billboard, an inscription on a poster, fragments of accidentally overheard conversations. This is a good workout, even for a tired head.
  6. Only what is corrected by the teacher is worth learning firmly. Do not re-read your own uncorrected exercises: with repeated reading, the text is involuntarily remembered with all possible errors. If you study alone, then learn only what you know is correct.
  7. Ready-made phrases, idiomatic expressions, write them out and remember in the first person, singular. For example: "I am only pulling your leg" (I'm just making fun of you).
  8. A foreign language is a fortress that needs to be stormed from all sides at the same time: reading newspapers, listening to the radio, watching undubbed films, attending lectures in a foreign language, working through a textbook, correspondence, meetings and conversations with friends who are native speakers.
  9. Do not be afraid to speak, do not be afraid of possible mistakes, but ask to be corrected. And most importantly, do not be upset and do not be offended if they really start to correct you.
  10. Convince yourself that you are a linguistic genius who knows how easy it is to learn a language. If it is not easy for you, scold textbooks, dictionaries and the language itself, but not yourself - they are imperfect and inconsistent.

Kato Lomb proposed a simple formula that determines the result in language acquisition: [time spent + interest = result].

See also


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