From a young age, I've always wanted to learn languages...
I loved the idea of traveling to new countries, exploring the world, meeting people, making friends and understanding new cultures.
However, I've always found languages difficult to learn. There seems to be a mountain of material to memorize and understand, not to mention the difficulty of comprehending the rapid sounds spoken by a native speaker.
And the books, classes and course material has always been dry and really arduous to plow through. Probably like you, I've tried dozens of different courses. Some were okay (see the comparison for more details), but most were repetitive and boring. I've even experimented with sleep learning, hypnosis, audio programs, immersion programs (yes these do work, but they are expensive and exhausting) and videos. I did have a brief romance with a French girl once - and I learnt more in the two weeks I was with her than the previous two years of formal French classes!
That got me thinking. The other thing I noticed when living and working in France several years later was that I could open my mouth and speak French, but without understanding what I was saying. My subconscious mind knew how to speak! I even began dreaming in French, but couldn't understand a word of it. By allowing my subconscious mind to communicate on my behalf, I learnt to become fluent within a few months. No more lessons, no more grammar books.
The technique used in this course is a combination of ancient memory techniques, developed by the Greeks and Romans, with cutting-edge advances in brain research. Kevin Trudeau (the founder of the American Memory Institute and developer of the Mega Memory program) demonstrated that we all think in pictures. He also demonstrated that he could teach even blind people and retarded people how to develop memories with almost total recall.
Tony Buzan (developer of Mind Maps) has been involved with advances in brain research and how we learn. Over the last ten years, an enormous amount has been discovered about our brains. Mind Maps are pictorial representations of complex subjects, limited to brief key words or phrases. The mind takes in information more readily if it is presented in an holistic way - all at once. In fact, the brain is such an amazing supercomputer that if it doesn't also learn in a rapid, accelerated way then it starts to wa1nder and lose concentration. Tony has demonstrated that if you read 5-10 times faster than normal then you actually take in and remember more than if you read slowly and carefully.
Richard Bandler and John Grindler modeled the famous hypnotherapist, Milton Erikson. They discovered that Milton was able to be so effective because of the way he 'embedded' hypnotic suggestions in his ordinary conversations with his clients. Instead of saying something like "You are getting sleepy", he would embed this as follows: "You know, there are many people in the world, who like getting around. I also enjoy traveling, but I get so sleepy after a long plane trip..."
We've incorporated many of Milton Erikson's techniques as well as much of the understanding of how we communicate from NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) into our courses. A lot of it is pretty obvious, for instance the fact that we take in information through our various senses. What isn't so obvious is that each of us has slightly different preferences for one sense over another. Some of us are mostly visual: we imagine how things look, we use words like "see", "looks like", "imagine", etc. Some of us are mostly auditory: we prefer to communicate by sound and words. Others are kinesthetic: we focus on how we feel about things and use emotionally loaded words in our communication with others.
Our courses communicate through all three channels.
Each word is represented by a picture. However, they are not ordinary pictures. Most courses (if they use pictures at all) either show pictures of smiling people traveling on trains or talking to each other in hotels, etc. or they simply illustrate the word being learnt. A picture of a man for "man", a picture of a boy for "boy", a picture of a ball for "ball".
Our pictures create a subconscious link between the Hebrew word and it's English meaning. It's a technique (called LinkWord) that has been developed by Professor Michael Gruneberg, a memory expert, although it's a modern version of various ancient Greek techniques.
The word for "kitchen" in Hebrew is "mitbach". This sounds a bit like "meet Bach". So we can create an association between "kitchen" and "mitbach" by imagining a man meeting Mr Bach, the famous composer, in his kitchen.
However, this can take a great deal of mental effort. If the picture in your head isn't weird or bizarre or bright or colorful enough then it is unlikely to stick. This is where LinkWord and other pure word-association techniques fall flat.
We've done all the work for you. You might have trouble forgetting something from your imagination, but you never forget a picture. In this way, we "download" the connection directly into your subconscious, like in The Matrix.
A curious thing happens. After a short while, you will forget the picture but you will know the word without thinking. In other words, you will forget how you remember word, because your recall happens so fast, at a deep, subconscious level. The bonus is that you can revisit the course simply to enjoy the cartoons.
Our brains are wired deep down for sound and rhythm. It's why spoken language is often so musical and why poetry and songs give us such enjoyment. Our brains are also hard-wired for making sense of the world. So anything that gives rise to confusion (in small doses) causes the brain to adapt. Research has shown that neurons (the individual brain cells) actively grow in an exploratory way, seeking out connections with other neurons.
What this means in practice is that we can develop an 'ear' for a language by exposing ourselves to phrases that we can only understand subconsciously because the sounds are too complex to identify on a conscious level. It's how we develop an appreciation for Jazz or progressively more subtle classical music. Start with something light, but slowly introduce more and more complex pieces. At first it may sound like noise, or you may find the sound jarring. But after a while, you begin to enjoy the music, finding the sounds pleasing.
In our course, you will be exposed to slightly confusing sentences, each containing the word you've just learnt, such as "ani ohev la-shevet ba-mitbach ba-boker." It doesn't matter that you don't understand what this means (you are not meant to), because your ear will immediately attune itself to something familiar, like when you hear your name across the room at a noisy party. After a while, your ear will be able to pick out all the familiar words. And because your brain tries to make sense of the information it is receiving, it will extrapolate meaning from the sentence, giving you a subconscious understand of the underlying grammar. Just like young children learn!
We use humor in all our cartoons and wherever possible in the phrases, stories, sketches, songs and poems. We all enjoy a good laugh. It gives us an emotional release, we feel relaxed and it makes us feel great.
When did you ever feel like this when learning anything else?
There is a great deal more to the techniques than outlined above. To explain in any more detail would require a Ph.D. thesis. The best way of seeing (feeling, hearing) how effective the technique is, is to suck it and see for yourself.
Try it out now.
Learn 20 words in 10 minutes.