The Informed English Student #4 - Only One Way

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Feb 10, 2008, 7:59:53 PM2/10/08
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If the first Informed English Student (It's the Verb!) we learned that
most of our language ability comes from language that we
subconsciously acquire (we don't notice it when it happens), not
language that we consciously study.

If that's true - and it is! - how do we acquire language? There is
only one way: by understanding messages, in other words, by reading
and listening to understandable English.

Remember how I compared acquiring language to eating a balanced diet?
I suggested that English learners should treat themselves to a good,
balanced diet of English and trust our minds to acquire the parts of
the English language that it needs when it is ready for them. If you
didn't see that comparison, it's in Informed English Student #2 (First
Things First).

Let me add to that comparison. When we eat, we are careful - usually!
- to feed our bodies foods they can digest (easily absorb and use). In
the same way, when we want to acquire a language, we must feed our
minds language that our minds can absorb and use.

We only acquire (pick up or absorb) language when we understand what
we read or listen to. If we understand what we read or hear, our minds
will acquire the elements of the new language that we are ready for.
We don't have to consciously study them.

Many students believe they have to work hard to acquire new language.
They read or listen to things that are too difficult. They stop
frequently to look up words they don't understand. That doesn't work
very well! We only acquire language when we understand the language we
read and listen to.

Treat yourself to a digestible diet of English! If you have trouble
understanding what you read and listen to, find something easier. Be
patient. Slowly increase the difficulty of the things you read and
listen to. If you do, your English will steadily improve.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know!


Eduardo Gonçalves

Feb 11, 2008, 9:01:22 PM2/11/08
Hello Mr. Warren,  always writing nice articles, Thank you..

I have a question for our members...

What´s your English Diet (Or Language Diet for Native English)
in order to Acquire a Language ?

My recipe is...

at least 2 Good fresh (recent) downloaded podcast
1 or more English podcast of any subject (like VOA history)
1 nice place for write like ESL Podcast Google Group
1 nice place for talk like Skype
300g to 500g of interesting text to read

How to prepare:
Put the podcasts on your iPod or MP3 player and listen on commuting by 40min
on low flame, read interesting texts and the nice articles write by Warren and mix it
with the subjects from ESL Podcast Google Group. After, put the mixture within the
ESL Google Group replying those subjects. Is it..

If you have time, use the Skype´s friend for having a lunch..

The result is very good.


Feb 11, 2008, 11:20:19 PM2/11/08
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Good recipe, Eduardo!

By the way, the first word in my post should be "In" - "In the first
Informed English Student...."

Two comments:

1. I would encourage more readers to participate in this forum. It's a
great way to become more comfortable using the English everyone has
acquired. Everyone here is an English learner (including me!)!

2. Don't worry about mistakes! (Many of us teachers don't even think
of them as mistakes.) They are simply a kind of "in-between" language
that will keep changing (and improving) as you keep feeding on a diet
of easy-to-understand English.



Feb 12, 2008, 11:42:33 PM2/12/08
It's really a funny and delicious recipe. Ed.
Well done!

2008/2/12, Warren <>:

Rosângela Souza

Feb 13, 2008, 5:44:54 PM2/13/08
 I'll try to do that.

2008/2/13, 刘专 <>:


Feb 14, 2008, 2:24:37 PM2/14/08
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In my case, I have some problems with my learning meals. I'm not much
self-disciplined with what I eat nor with my free time. But I already
know where to find some delicious English plates to enjoy :) Thanks,


On Feb 13, 11:44 pm, "Rosângela Souza"
<> wrote:
> Great!
> I'll try to do that.
> Thanks!
> 2008/2/13, 刘专 <>:
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