×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 205
JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 16757
How To Learn A Language In 20 Minutes Per Day How To Learn A Language In 20 Minutes Per Day How To Learn A Language In 20 Minutes Per Day

How To Learn A Language In 20 Minutes Per Day

Karoline Schnur, linguistics expert at Babbel

As you might expect in a language learning company, almost everyone who works at Babbel is multilingual. I say almost because I’m not one of them (yet). Like many native English speakers, my attempts to learn a second language in school were in vain. I have now reached an intermediate conversational level in German, but it’s nothing compared to my international colleagues. Every day I hear people walking around the office speaking dozens of different languages, code switching in conversations with different colleagues, and translating their funny idioms into English. But even among the serial language learners at Babbel, you’ll never find someone poring over French 101 textbooks, cramming themselves to fluency.

That’s because the central principle of the Babbel language learning approach is that people should spend about 20 minutes per day studying a new language. This is surprisingly short compared to the length of time university students are expected to study a language nightly (~90 minutes). So how are people at Babbel picking up new languages even though they’re putting in less time than I spent cramming Spanish verb conjugation in high school? I sat down with one of Babbel’s linguistic experts, Karoline Schnur, to find out how 20 minutes of learning per day is all you need to become proficient in a new language.

The Babbel Approach

Karoline started off by explaining the central principle behind the Babbel learning approach: “If you read a lot of information, you won’t be able to absorb everything. We call this information overload or cognitive overload.” She explained that the brain is a master at deciding what information in our daily lives is important and what is background noise. This background information is tossed out, and never makes it into our long-term memory. Great for guiding our day-to-day lives, but not so great for language learning.

Karoline was also keen to dispel the myths about cramming, or binge learning: “This is when you have a big test coming up so you sit down and try to learn everything that you need to know. But how much do you remember after a week? Probably not that much.” Instead of worrying about trying to do a lot all at once, it’s actually more important to repeat a smaller portion of information more frequently. She continued, “To get something into long term memory, you must make connections and repeat it. Repetition is really important in language learning.”

Fortunately, the Babbel App was specifically designed with the limitations of human memory in mind. Twenty minutes corresponds well with the principle of “chunking” in psychology — our brains work best at absorbing around seven new things at a time. As Karoline explained, “If you think about the capacity of your brain to digest around seven chunks of new information, the time is a clear limit. From our Babbel perspective, you could start with repetition: you repeat 10 items and you need less than 5 minutes for that. Then you can do a new lesson, which takes about 15 minutes. Now you have your 20 minutes.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Source: Babbel.com

About Author

Related items

  • My pubic hair is turning grey

    Dear Allan
    When one grows older, it is not only the hair on the head but that of other parts of the body including the pubis that turns grey. This is because there are cells in the skin and hair pits that produce and supply hair with the black pigment called melanin (melanocytes) that with age die off, leaving hair without pigment (grey). 
    As we age, the body produces less catalase responsible for breaking down hydrogen peroxide in hair so the hydrogen peroxide builds up and bleaches the hair white (peroxide blonde), the reason greying is associated with age.
    Although it may take longer than hair found elsewhere, pubic hair also ultimately turns grey. Men go grey before women, on average, and white people start going grey in their mid-30s, Asians in their late 30s, and Africans in their mid-40s though many Africans are greying earlier nowadays. 
    Sometimes without even aging, the melanocytes fail to function normally, hence leading to premature greying as early as the 20s. How early one develops grey hair including pubic hair depends on genetics and here the greying is irreversible. Vitamin B-12 deficiency or problems with the pituitary or thyroid gland can cause premature greying that may be stopped and, in a few cases, reversible when the problem is corrected. 
    Sometimes early pubic hair greying may depend on a combination of factors with, genetics quickening the process for people who are genetically inclined for pubic hair to grey early. Patchy pubic hair greying may result from loss of pigment in the associated skin in a condition called Vitiligo. 
    Since pubic hair greying is mostly harmless, no treatment is necessary and if one gets cosmetic concerns, he can shave.

    Since in a few people the problem may be associated with disease, greying should not be called harmless unless associated diseases are ruled out.

     

    Source: Daily Monitor

  • Shootings kill eight in eastern DR Congo

    Eight people died in three shootings in Goma, eastern DR Congo, the town mayor said Sunday, while others complained authorities were slow to react to violence in North Kivu province.

    "In Mugunga (district), there was shooting last night. Five people were killed and more injured. In Katoy, one was killed near a petrol station and further north towards Buhene two people were killed," Timothee Muissa Kiense told AFP, adding that investigations were under way.

    Benin Butatunda, vice-chairman of a Mugunga youth association charged meanwhile that "assailants fired on passers-by. Authorities did not intervene in time to save human lives.

    "There is much tension here in Mugunga. The population is angry at the authorities' lethargy," Butatunda said.

    The shootings came as Martin Fayulu, controversially beaten by fellow opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi in the December 30 presidential election, was in the province for a meeting at Butembo, 266 km (165 miles) from Goma.

     

    Source: The Uganda Monitor

  • Why Uganda’s Opposition is in the battle of the tallest pygmy

     

    Those opposed to the NRM government are now more than ever talking about change ‘to rescue the country from what they call Museveni’s misrule.’ The truth of the matter is that come 2021, if President Yoweri Museveni stands - and there is no indication that he will not- he will be announced winner as most of the conditions in place favour him.
    The money, the military, the election management manpower and the State machinery which is fused with the ruling party, are all firmly in his control. Some will tell you that this applies even to the Judiciary. So those talking about change are looking at something else and not necessarily the presidency come 2021. Their eyes are set on Parliament in the short-run to keep them on a political journey to the promised land.

    A political party in Uganda is recognised and respected as active and influential going by the number of MPs that it has. Opposition FDC with about 36 MPs leads the Opposition in Parliament and forms the shadow cabinet where it includes other Opposition and Independent MPs. FDC appoints the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in Parliament, who stands almost at the level of a Cabinet minister and the Opposition chief whip.
    They appoint the leaders and members to various committees of Parliament and the Parliamentary Commission. These positions come with influence and additional financial perks. MPs fund their political parties by contributing a percentage of their earnings periodically. What this means is that the bigger the number of MPs a political party has in Parliament, the higher its chances of strengthening its position on the Ugandan political scene. It can use this strength as leverage in negotiating with the ruling party.

    A strong position at home is useful abroad in that if a party is perceived as viable locally, it may be considered for funding by influential parties and NGOs abroad. So the game plan is to outwit the other political parties in getting in as many MPs as possible in order to lead the opposition in Parliament. 
    Something interesting has come up which tells us that there is more than meets the eye in this endeavour.

    Those identifying with the Democratic Party (DP) have warmed up to the charisma and moment of Kyadondo East MP Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine. They think that his youthful influence may help those who stand on their ticket to get into Parliament if he campaigns for them. Bobi Wine may not necessarily stand against Museveni, opting instead for the MP seat where he is assured of victory. 
    It is worth noting that this group though not showing interest in vying for presidency, directs a lot of its time covertly disparaging the de facto leader of Uganda’s Opposition Kizza Besigye - a man who has stood against Museveni four times and lost - as ‘a spent force.’

    Those who support Besigye accuse his detractors of being sympathetic to the ruling NRM and having a sinister motive. They accuse them of attempting to exclude Besigye to make it easy for the ruling party to lord it over Ugandans in exchange for favours. In other words, they are opportunists with selfish motives.
    In the middle of all this comes the proposed Constitutional Amendments to allow Parliament to vote for the LoP and decide on who heads committees of Parliament plus who sits on the Parliamentary Commission. Also the one that changes the system of government from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. NRM, being the majority, will compose Parliament in a way that suits them and makes things easy for them to perpetuate themselves in power.

    What all this tells us is that many political players seem to have a feeling that in the long-run, Uganda is headed for a period of uncertainty where many important decisions will be made by consensus. 
    Now more than ever that Museveni is still in power but ageing, there are more people looking at a post-Museveni era, which may come gradually or even abruptly. In both cases, if Museveni is easing out and wants to go peacefully, he may have to either overtly or covertly engage in negotiations to settle the transfer of power to another generation to ensure certainty of the country and his future.

    Now the people who view things this way are increasing their visibility and not only forming political organisations where they are prominent, but also fighting to diffuse the relevance of politicians like Besigye, who has overshadowed especially Opposition politicians for more than two decades. The Besigyes are looked at as a stumbling block because of their recalcitrance and obduracy, which does not allow them to consider reaching out and negotiating.

    So come 2021, the Opposition will still be relatively small in terms of numbers compared to the ruling NRM. But in the run-up to the election, they will stage a fight akin to that of dwarfs trying to ascertain which of them is taller.
    It is the tallest of the dwarfs, which will lead the rest to negotiate with the giants should that time come.

    Mr Sengoba is a commentator on political and social issues. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Twitter:@nsengoba

    Source: The Daily Monitor

Login to post comments