Second Language Fast – Part 1

Hello, everybody

Abstract

This post is about thoughts on topic of Second Language Acquisition. Current status of research and future developments. It is written in a popular science manner and has my conjectures that may or may not be backed by research in the field.

Not a programming language

Second language Acquisition in this post relates to natural human languages as opposed to programming computer languages.

Imagine

Have you ever tried to learn a second language and found it frustrating because of investment of lots of time, effort and even money? We all know that learning second language while being an adult takes time and effort. But despite of all investment it seems we`ll never be able to achieve the fluency and intuition of native speakers. The big question is ‘why is that?

Wouldn`t it be nice to acquire second language effortlessly and gain a native speakers` level of language control.

But this dream cannot be achieved in the near future due to biological constraints that we have in our brains and it has nothing to do with the amount of time invested in the second language learning.

Some linguistic background

We know from research that children that grow in a multilingual environment can acquire a number of languages in a level of native speakers effortlessly until certain age. After this threshold age acquisition turns from effortless to conscious practice and requires lots of time and effort. The question you may ask is what happens at this threshold age?

The answer is complicated. So far there is no clear answer. However it is known form Noam Chomsky`s research from past century that there must be some biological constraint in the human brains that is underlying this transition form unconscious language learning to a conscious one. And it has to do with brain plasticity and other unknown factors.

What other researches found

There is an interesting hypotheses by linguist Stephen Krashen known as Input hypotheses that conjectures that only written and spoken inputs are sufficient for effective second language learning in adulthood.

To be continued…on demand

Advertisements

Goals like a laser

 

Hello there,

It is not a coincidence that the title of this post is Goals like a laser.

Clear, detailed, focused goals may pave the way to you success like a tiny beam of laser that penetrates massive obstacles.

My thoughts on the subject are influenced by a number of authors such as Brian Tracy, Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale and certainly others. In addition I`ll compare some points to other areas such as Theory of Inventive Problems Solving (TRIZ).

Define a result

One of the key components in Genrikh Altshuller theory is an Ideal Final Result. And it may be seen as a goal setting. It means when you set a goal you want to achieve there is no need to constrain yourself by your current means or situation. That yourself imagine Ideal Result as though you already has your goal achieved. When you`ve defined the result what you`ve done is actually set to yourself a destination but what remains is a way of arriving there.

Write it to your heart

Here comes the advice of Brian Tracy to write this goal down. And it seems there is a wisdom to this advice since psychological studies points out goals written down is more likely to be achieved. It has to do with the mentioned in previous post Robert Cialdini`s principle of Commitment and Consistency.

Put a time constraint

Next comes a definite time you`ll set for achieving your goal or a deadline as they call it. This thing will put you in a kind of pressure you`ll need to mobilize your resources and focus your energies on your goals. There is a Parkinson`s law that says the work that needs to be done will take all the time provided. This means without a time limit it may take centuries that we do not possess.

What are the obstacles?

In TRIZ it would be figuring out what is a contradiction that prevents you from achieving the Ideal Final Result or goal that you`ll set for yourself. Well achieving a goal not always has to have a contradiction but knowing about contradictions may help you invent.

Get knowledge and find resources

Think of information, experiences, knowledge or simply put resources that you`ll need in order to achieve you goal. Consult with other people if you know that there is something you do not know.

Make a plan

Breakdown you goal into smaller goals and then compose plan with prioritized activities that you think may lead you to your goal.

Constantly Proceed

Make a habit of working on your goal on a daily basis. Review your progress and compare it to you plan. Adjust the plan accordingly.

Start now

Without any excuses get to work now because tomorrow`s activities stay permanently in the future. And it takes now to make all the difference.

That`s it for tonight,

Stay tuned.

 

Attention! Manipulation ahead

manipulation_aheadHello everyone,

  • Have you ever felt that somehow you made that decision of buying this or that faster than you wanted?
  • Have you ever wondered why you’ve seen that recent best-seller just to find out it was not so best?
  • Have you wondered why every ad looks the same and uses same language tricks?

Since there are infinite number of posts these days and we as finite creatures have finite amount of time I’ll try to be as much helpful and concise as possible in my post.

Today’s post I wanted to write quite for a long time. Its topic is manipulation, kinds of manipulation and what is the difference between influence and manipulation.

At first that’s define for the sake of this post a number of terms. That’s define an influence as an evident way of affecting a person’s behavior, thinking etc. Since this act is evident to the person that’s assume that he or she can deduce if this influence is positive or negative.

And then that’s define manipulation as a hidden way of affecting a person which is unaware of this process. This definition does not state that manipulation is negative or positive. It depends on the one who is manipulating. Though according to Wikipedia it is obvious that it is negative.

Now I want to share with you templates that are used almost at any online site that tries to sell, promote any kind of product or service. What will help us to tell that there is a manipulation ahead is an interesting and educational book by Robert CialdiniInfluence: The Psychology of Persuasion‘ first edition dating back in 1984.

In his book Mr. Cialdini describes in concise and useful way with real examples a number of types of manipulations. Or as Cialdini puts it there are 6 principles of influence that seem quite reasonable.

  1. Reciprocity – People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. For example, have you ever felt to give back when got a gift from someone meaningful to you?
  2. Commitment and Consistency – If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self-image. For example, try once to write your current tasks or goals in a notepad and later check how many of them came true.
  3. Social Proof – People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, have you ever heard that millions of people already using this wonderful product?
  4. Authority – People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. For example, titles have a magic force to them such as PhD in any kind of X-phaty etc.
  5. Liking – People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. For example, have you ever recruited one who you liked during the interview though he or she was not a perfect fit but you’ve got the intuition?
  6. Scarcity – Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, have you heard that the selling will only last for a few days (actually lasting a century)?

OK. Now that we know how to tell a manipulation that’s practice it on a real example.

1-Reciprocity

2-Commitment

3-Social_Proof

4-Authority

5-Liking

6-Scarcity

 Main point is to tell manipulation from influence and be aware that manipulation is ahead! That’s it for today.

Thanks for your time.

Distilled Self-Help or Who is helped actually?

Hello everyone,

Today I want to write about interesting and hot topic these days as Self-help movement. And the main goal of this post is to try to figure out the useful parts of it.

The traces of the self-help moment are dated back to 19th century when the book of Samuel Smiles ‘Self-Help’ was published in 1859. Actually traces are even older if we consider works of ancient philosophers.

What really matters though is not the origins but the evolution of self-help movement and how it came to be as it is today when there are legions of self proclaimed self-helpers helping in most part enrich themselves.

But there are a number of real pearls, for my opinion, even in this sea of self-help chaos.

I think that any approach be it self-help or any other kind must have a scientific basis and must not be taking seriously without testing it first.

So according to this guideline I want to describe a number of self-help authors and their books that may be of use to you.

It is possible to split self-help movement into a number of intersecting fields. For example field that has its roots in popular psychology, pseudo-science, coaching, general literature. I`ll describe them in more details below.

I want to start from coaching field as it is called today. One of the prominent figures in this filed was Dale Carnegie who started his course on public speaking back in 1912. Dale Carnegie was a teacher and a salesman by education and used his skills to promote public speaking and sales courses becoming in effect the first coach of modern kind.

His most famous book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People‘ from 1936 is still readable and useful. Though this book hardly may be called scientifically based it still has useful advise that may help you in everyday communication with people. Dale Carnegie leave a heritage of Dale Carnegie Training that flourish to this day.

Next one worth mentioning who was a contemporary of Dale Carnegie was Napoleon Hill. He started as a journalist that happened to meet with one of the richest persons of his time Andrew Carnegie (not related to Dale Carnegie). Mr. Carnegie  challenged  Napoleon Hill to interview prominent people of his time and figure out what made them successful in life. As a result of this challenge came a number of books by Napoleon Hill and most famous one was ‘Think and Grow Rich‘ from 1937. This book is a collection of story based advises and wisdom. So it has no science based roots still there is a zest to it that may be useful.

Another person that also comes from sales background was W. Clement Stone. He collaborated with Napoleon Hill on one of Stone`s books ‘Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude‘. Main point to be taken from the book is this quote ‘Every great man, every successful man, no matter what the field of endeavor, has known the magic that lies in these words: every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.

It seems that real burst of self-help movement was ignited by Earl Nightingale that had a radio program on self-help topics and appeared on TV. His well known master piece is the ‘The Strangest Secret‘ that was no more than motivational pep talk to salespersons at the company Mr. Nightingale worked at the time. The main point to be taken form his talk is this ‘Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.’

Next person who happened to start his career as salesperson at Nightingale-Conant Publishing was Brian Tracy. Mr. Tracy has produced wealth of content throughout his coaching career and the most remarkable for my opinion is ‘Maximum Achievement‘ book from 1993. If you`ll ignore pseudo-science subconscious mind stuff the book still has some insights and quotes from W. Clement Stone etc.

[Attention here comes opinionated view]

As you may have noticed there is a strong relationship between self-help courses and sales. I mean those who teach how to succeed are trying to sale there courses, books whatever in the first place. The content though sometimes important is on the second place.

There are many more self-help authors these days but those above stood out.

A few words on pseudo-science filed. I tend to put there Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) though it has interesting basic assumptions, The Secret movement and the like.

And last but not least is the field of general literature, I`ll mention Richard Bach`s ‘Illusions‘  and Paulo Coelho`s ‘The Alchemist‘ as worth glancing.

OK.

Thanks for investing your time in reading this.

I hope it was worth it.

Till next time.

So it begins

OK.

Hello my name is Andrei.

If you read this post right now it seems you are here not by chance in the contrary it is like the saying ‘When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears.’

Now that you have read this maybe you`ll find below presentation as inspiring as I find it.

It is about Intelligent Machines as they may be Numenta.

See you soon.