Another small joy, today. I came across the Michel Thomas language learning tapes/CDs in the library.
What fun! His tapes are of himself and two students going through a logical introduction to language. As English contains both Germanic and 'Latin' elements he points out how much you already know, and then gently takes you through a simple logical progression of communicating. Excellent!
Whenever I have tried to learn languages, or to teach what little I knew to others, I have always pointed out similarities and general rules - but this guy is a relaxed genius at it.
I have dabbled in all three languages so far, and the important thing is the feeling of success, and achievement, and the feeling that you could go off and improvise a dialogue almost straight away.
If you don't like tapes and such, you can hire Michel himself for about $5000 a day....
He was also a war hero, and his biography is there in Military Studies - but I would like to finish with this quote from his website:
"However, it was a single sentence -- a negative statement -- made by a psychology professor at the Sorbonne, which influenced Michel and changed his life. This statement -- "nobody knows anything about the learning process of the human mind" -- drove him to devote his life to probing the learning process. It is his deeply held conviction that the biggest weapon in maintaining a free society is education and an educated citizenry."