Watch ”The 4 Ways of Knowing” (20min)
Most people treat language learning like any other academic subject. In reality, learning a language is much more like learning to dance, fight, surf, or drive a car - skills that could never be acquired in a purely academic context. Part of the problem is that our culture only has one word for “knowing” and one word for “learning.” Learning/knowing that Paris is the capital of France is very different from learning/knowing how to converse fluently with a Parisian. So why do we use the same term to describe these two very different phenomena? In this first video, I break down the 4 different ways of Knowing and how they apply to the domain of foreign language acquisition. Pay close attention to the different terms, as they will come up over and over again throughout our training.
Watch ”How to Train the Skill of Mimicry” (20min)
Language is basically about perceiving and producing noisy movements with your body. Therefore, language-learning is essentially about mimicking the way natives perceive and produce noisy movements with their bodies. Mimicry is a skill you can train. In fact, it’s the main skill we’re going to focus on training in Flow School. The better you get at mimicking, the easier it will be for you to intuitively pick up new expressions in the language just by watching and listening. Mimicry is also the key to you reshaping your habits of perception and movement (procedural knowing), your awareness or relevant context cues (perspectival knowing) and even your sense of “self” to be more fitted to target language environment (participatory knowing). In this video, I demonstrate my methodically-trained skill in mimicking Spanish, and break down the process by which you can develop this same skill for yourself in any language.
Practice Mimicking a Native Speaker (5min)
Now it’s time to put all these ideas into practice by making your first attempt to mimic a native speaker. Find a youtube video of a native speaking your target language. It doesn’t matter how much you understand. All that matters is that it’s a native speaker in a natural context (as opposed to an artificial one made for language learners). Using the chart below, decide what part of the person you want to focus on mimicking and make your attempt. You can use Loom or your smart phone camera to look at yourself for comparison. Have fun with it, but take it seriously. Remember, you’re trying to acquire the skill of doing ever more accurate impersonations of natives. The more effort you give to the process, the more skill you will derive from it. This is just our introduction to full body impersonation. In later weeks, we will dive deeper into the artform.