Monday, February 18, 2019

The Language Learner Guidebook: Powerful Tools to Help You Conquer Any Language

The Language Learner Guidebook is an interesting hybrid book/textbook from language educator Shane Dixon. Released 20th Nov 2018 by Wayzgoose press, it's 290 pages and available in ebook and paperback formats. Written as a companion book to Dr. Dixon's online language courses, it provides some insights about language learning which he's gathered during his time as a language instructor.

As a native English speaker, I have lived in a number of not-primarily-English-speaking countries.  I've often wondered why my facility (for example) with Korean and Russian lagged significantly behind my facility with Norwegian (and in fact Danish and Swedish for that matter).  Despite having lived in both Korea and Norway/Denmark, my Korean fluency never remotely approached my comfort level with Norwegian. This book provided some interesting insights into why (in my case) it happened that way.

This is much less of a book about how to learn a particular foreign language than it is a philosophical and pedagogic guide to why and how we learn and process language; specifically another language from our first.

The book really reads like a road map or atlas.  There are way-points listed along with a pithy observation at the end of each section. I found that reading the observations at the end of the sections helped me to more easily identify the ones which were more applicable to my situation.  I think this book could be quite useful for a reader troubleshooting his/her own comprehension or language learning process.

There was honestly nothing truly epiphanous for me.  There was no moment when a light-bulb went off over my head and I thought 'Wow!  THAT'S what I've been missing all along'.  There was a slow accumulation of small interesting ideas which will likely be useful to students of foreign language.

What did really interest me very much and for me the most valuable takeaways in the book came from the short exercises at the end of the book.  Presented as mini-lessons/stratagems, they provide starting points for developing a plan for increasing specific areas of your language learning.  There were several lessons for several different facets of language acquisition: culture, developing a network,  preparation, developing an effective strategy for practice and other practical aspects of learning.

It's an interesting book and one I will likely refer to again later. 

Three-four stars.  It would make a good adjunct textbook or support work to teachers learning *how* to teach language.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

No comments:

Post a Comment