Linguist and author, Antonio Graceffo, meets with David Long at AUA Ratchadamri, Bangkok, to discuss their innovative Thai program, which is based on ALG. ALG, Automatic language Growth, is a listening based second language acquisition theory, developed by Dr. J. Marvin Brown, of the United States. The method is an outgrowth of previous natural Language methods, which paralleled the way a child learns its mother tongue.
These videos focus on the Thai program but the linguistics and language acquisition concept of teaching and listening could be applied to any language.
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In the Thai program, students sit and listen for 800 hours before they begin speaking. Thai is a difficult, tonal language with numerous vowel sounds not found in English. Extensive listening seems to be the only way to “absorb” these sounds. Students need repetition of perfect, native speaker models in order to eventually be able to produce the sounds themselves. During the course of listening, students are also learning vocabulary, syntax and appropriate usage, the way Thai native speakers manipulate their own language for the purpose of communication.
Although students would generally begin speaking at 800 hours, the entire program is 2,000 hours as it transitions into reading, writing, and speaking practice.
Other methods promise to get you speaking in as little as 30 days. But you will be speaking like a foreigner, forever. The goal of ALG is to help the student reach native like pronunciation and listening: To speak Thai like a Thai.
The program is currently being expanded to include Japanese and Chinese.
In a recent round of interviews, networks and media sent Antonio the question via email and Antonio answered on camera. If you are interested in doing a similar interview, fire off the questions to Antonio. Antonio is looking for an opportunity to study for an MA/PHD in linguistics.
Antonio Graceffo is the author of the book, “The Monk from Brooklyn,” and is he host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts odyssey.”
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Send him email Antonio@speakingadvdenture.com