Islands

Notes on “How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately,” by Boris Shekhtman.

This book was interesting, although it would have been better as a magazine article than as a book. Here’s a summary of the sections.

Show your Stuff
+

Build up your Islands (foreign language is like swimming…)
+ linking, segue to your island
+ baiting, get the audience to your island
+ each island should be small, practical, and interesting
+ I must create the island myself
+ apply memorization techniques for the island
+ the island must be muscle memory to be effective (create them in memrise)

Shifting Gears
+1. Sidestep and feign indifference
+2. Segue to new topic
+3. Introduce new topic
+4. Develop topic (island)
+5. Connect back to the speaker (ask question on the new topic)
+* alternatively, first get information by redirecting their question back at them

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
+ use the simplest words (the most automatic words)
+ use short simple sentences

Breaking Away (from English grammar)
+ use only the target language grammar
+ know the grammar automatically
+ know as many grammar structures as possible
+ Transmitting vs Translation, transmit meaning in proper grammar structure
+ Rehearse different topics with the same grammar statement (no lo quiero, no lo hablo)

Embellish It
+ purple prose: add parenthetical elements, rhetorical questions, adverbs and adjectives
+ use idiomatic expressions, add islands (seduce the audience)
+ practice! Embellish simple statements

Say What?
+ two levels of listening, skimming and in-depth
+ Practice questions as islands! ¿Como se dice … en español?
+ Clarifying questions, repeat portions, get synonyms, ask to speak slower, etc