Unknown New Language

05-30 November 2012
UNL (Unknown Natural Language)


The tutor entered to tell us about a language that would be taught and stated that on returning into the class she would teach that language. She did not tell us which one. We were just told that from now on, during the lesson, no English was to be spoken. I was shocked by our tutor’s energetic and gesticulating entry, whilst speaking only Turkish. Starting with a greeting to the whole class, she then went on to introduce herself. She did this by means of saying words and phrases, using body language, and hand signs to elicit the word or words, through understanding and guess work. At each stage of this process she prompted the correct item, drilled the words and phrases into the class, and concept checks were carried out. This ensured that within minutes, I had started to pick up my first words and small sentences in Turkish.


I believe I learned more in these 4 periods, than I did in my first intensive German course. The pace was fast, but followed a logical sequence. The tutor brought in a dynamic that I had never seen before, it was fun and exciting, and the manner in which it was taught ensured my attention and made me want to learn more. By the second lesson, I found myself on a learning curve that I had never before appreciated.


The method used for teaching the unknown language was a direct method of teaching. This method is often used for teaching foreign languages and dates back to Europe at the turn of the 20th century. All teaching is done only in the target language. This is a very artistic form of teaching languages as it incorporated the teacher being somewhat like a pantomime actor. Very gesticulate and using a lot of miming, the students are able to see by impression what some words mean. The language is taught using native pronunciation and in the manner that it would normally be spoken.   Only vocabulary is...