Language Exchange with Poly-glot-a-lot, Jeff Brown

Jeff Brown, a Spanish professor at Orange Coast College, learned Arabic in one year via language exchanges; He helped people aquire English, in exchange for help acquiring Arabic.

Typical language exchanges are simply chit-chating in 2 different languages. Brown’s language exchanges were not typical.

Brown gave his language partners instructions on how to teach him Arabic.  He asked them to describe pictures in magazines in Arabic.  For example, his language partner may have shown him a dog food advertisement and said in Arabic, “This is a dog.  Dogs say, ‘ruff ruff.’ This dog is hungry.  Here is the dog’s food.”  After Jeff learned about 500 words, he asked his language partners to tell stories based on pictures in children’s books.  They asked him yes-or-no questions.  He asked questions like, “What is this?” and “Why?”

Jeff requested that his language partners never speak to him in English while he was trying to learn Arabic.  They could gesture, draw pictures or say, “It isn’t important,” (in Arabic) and change the subject, when he didn’t understand something. In reality, they did speak some English to him, and Brown was happy if they spoke in Arabic 80-90% of the time.

He also told his language partners not to correct his speech or teach him grammar rules (for pedagogical reasons.)

This is ingenious! Jeff Brown can turn anybody into a language teacher. He can soak up language like a baby!  You can use his technique to get a FREE language tutor for yourself and your children. All you’d have to do is return the favor by teaching them English. He has ideas for how to find language partners in his video.

Brown speaks several languages and his You Tube channel is called Poly-glot-a-lot. Watch Jeff Brown’s video on how to do language exchanges. Do you think that this is the best idea in the world?  Are you willing to try it?

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