In his article, What to Be Fluent in Spanish? Watch Cartoons!, Doug explains that most adults try speaking and reading a new language before they understand how to pronounce the sounds of that language correctly, and for that reason, they never truly become fluent. When he and his wife started learning Spanish, they decided to learn the way children learn. They purchased a Learnables program and started at the very beginning, listening to native speakers and looking at cartoons. Learnables was originally based on the Rosetta Stone method, but has evolved into presenting pictures in a story-like fashion, rather than randomly, and is now a very different approach.
This makes a lot of sense to me. I've learned Spanish, French, and Norwegian in my lifetime, the traditional ways, and I can't speak one of them. Native speakers of those languages would smile at me, humored, when I stumbled through a question in their language, and then answer me in English.
On the other hand, I remember how quickly a young Vietnamese friend of mine learned English by watching television for hours a day. I realize that might raise some eyebrows, but when you think about it, she was learning the Learnables way, and it happened very quickly.
The trick is finding cartoons in the language you want to learn. Hmm. Has anybody else out there tried this? I'd love to hear your story.
How do adults learning differently than children?