Language Acquisition Made Practical: Field Methods for Language Learners

By E. Thomas Brewster and Elizabeth S. Brewster

This book is “A Comprehensive ‘How-To’ Book for Learning Any Language” — one of several included here I wish I’d read in school, when my brain was more malleable!

It’s a kind of manual for “self-directed language learning”; it even comes with a “Demonstration Tape”, not-so-surprisingly missing from my used edition. It’s retro as hell, with a funky black and yellow cover and lots of cute illustrations.

The book is made up of two main parts: “Getting Started” and “Going On!” The first introduces a “week” structure — M, Tu, W, Th, F — that lays out a “daily learning cycle”. The second contains several practical sections: discussion topics, comprehension drills, mastering sounds, mastering structures.

It seems very practical but also fun, a textbook with personality. The “Daily Learning Cycle” methodology seems interesting, and even starts with an introduction to meta-learning.

The bulk of the book is learning content to put into practice using the methodology it establishes early on — it provides all sorts of specific topics, drills, and tips for learning, as well as an appendix filled with resources to help in monitoring your learning progress.

One odd yet interesting thing the book suggests is that language learners hire a “helper” — not a teacher — to assist with learning and tighten the feedback loop of internalizing a new language.

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