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Learning Languages

Listening Exercises
Listen to the conversation again by pressing the Play Audio button and read along with the conversation. Review the Key Vocabulary and the sample sentences.

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Talk Show Host: Good evening and welcome to tonight's program. Our guest is the world-known Dr. Charles Adams, who has sparked a great deal of attention over the past several years for his research in the area of language learning. His new book, Learning a Language over Eggs and Toast, has been on the best seller list for the past six weeks. Welcome to our program.

Dr. Adams: Ah, it's a pleasure to be here.

Talk Show Host: Now, Dr. Adams. Tell us about the title of your book, Learning a Language over Eggs and Toast.

Dr. Adams: Well, one of the most important keys to learning another language is to establish a regular study program, like planning a few minutes every morning around breakfast time.

Talk Show Host: Now, sorry for saying this, but your ideas may sound a little simplistic to our viewers. I mean I took Spanish in high school for four years, and I didn't become a proficient speaker of the language.

Dr. Adams: Well , I think there are many people that feel that way, and that's just it. I'm not implying that we can become fluent speakers in a matter of a few minutes here and there, but rather following a regular, consistent, and focused course of study can help us on the way to the promised land of language mastery, and remember there is a difference between native fluency and proficiency in a language, and I am proposing the latter.

Talk Show Host: So what are some of the basic keys you are suggesting in the book?

Dr. Adams: Well, as I just mentioned, people need to plan out their study by setting realistic and attainable goals from the beginning. I mean, some people get caught up the craze of learning the language in 30 days, only to become disenchanted when they don't perform up to their expectations. And small steps, little by little, are the key. For example, planning to learn five new vocabulary words a day and to learn to use them actively is far better than learning 30 and forgetting them the next day.

Talk Show Host: Um-hum. Now you mentioned something about maximizing your learning potential by learning about your own individual learning styles. Can you elaborate on that?

Dr. Adams: Sure. People often have different ways of learning and approach learning tasks differently. Some people are visual learners who prefer to see models of the patterns they are expected to learn; others are auditory learners who favor hearing instructions, for example, over reading them. Now, our preferences are determined by many factors, for example, personality, culture, and past experience.

Talk Show Host: Well, Dr. Adams. What is your learning style?

Dr. Adams: Well, I'm a very tactile learner.

Talk Show Host: You mean one who learns through hands-on experience?

Dr. Adams: Exactly.

Talk Show Host: So, how does knowing your learning style benefit you?

Dr. Adams: Well, this might seem a little unusual, but moving around while trying to learn and memorize material helps me a great deal. While I cut up tomatoes and onions for my omlet in the morning, I might recite aloud vocabulary to the rhythm of the knife. But it is important to remember that often our learning styles are not singular in nature, but are often very multidimensional, and we tend to learn differently in different situations.

Talk Show Host: So what is my learning style?.

Dr. Adams: Well, you're going to have to read my book to find that out.

Talk Show Host: Okay. We have just found out from Dr. Charles Adams, author of the book, Learning Languages over Eggs and Toast. Thanks for joining us.

Dr. Adams: My pleasure.

Key Vocabulary [Top]

  • spark (verb): to start or begin suddenly
    - His comments sparked a lot of controversy.

  • establish (verb): to set up or create
    - The parents established a cancer fund in memory of their son who died.

  • imply (verb): suggesting or leading someone to believe
    - I'm not implying that you shouldn't take the job. Just think about it a little more before accepting the position.

  • disenchanted (adjective): disappointed or disillusioned with a feeling of not having been told the truth
    - He became disenchanted with life overseas and soon returned to his country.

  • elaborate (verb): explain in more detail
    - Could you elaborate on your ideas on starting your company?

  • tactile (adjective): the idea of touching
    - He is a very tactile learning and always benefits from hands-on activities like building things.


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