Instead of memorizing vocabulary and grammar, Idahosa used his training as a musician to mimic the sound patterns of a language. Once he got the sounds down, he then figured out the meaning of the words afterward. It was backwards, but apparently works.
Epiphany: #1 thing holding people back from being able to communicate is being able to pronounce.
‘If your goal is to have real conversations and make connections to people, then you can’t overlook pronunciation. In fact, it is the most important step.’
– Idahosa, a musico-linguist, Mimic Method
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Read more at How to Study Korean and Four Engines Accelerate Language Life. Hear and interview at INTROVERT TALK SUNDAY: LANGUAGE LEARNING FOR INTROVERTS.
I can tell you that being able to tune my ears to hear Korean and train my motor skills in my mouth to make the sounds has been a difficult process. Yet one of the biggest stumbling blocks I’ve had is when I did try to speak words I thought I knew, either they got stuck in my throat, or croaked out in an accent so thick that Koreans could not comprehend me. How could I gain confidence to speak Korean, when every attempt just left people confused?
I felt an overwhelming depression when, after studying Korean for 7 months, I had to go back to listening to the alphabet. It had to be done. Listening and speaking had been ignored. I had to go back to the beginning and master sounds. It has been 3 months, and I can say it is an on-going process.