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Why you learn faster with the Birkenbihl method - without learning words by rote

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The Birkenbihl method

Verena F. Birkenbihl was a bestselling author and one of the most successful management trainers in Germany. She was involved in language learning for over 20 years. She developed a method with which her countless students achieved astonishing successes.

The secret of her success:

Her method enables people to learn languages as our brains intended. Vera F. Birkenbihl calls this brain-friendly learning. The method is based on the same neuronal processes that small children use as they learn to talk.

The first step is to familiarize yourself with the meaning of a small passage of text. You listen to the foreign text several times and read a word-for-word translation in English at the same time.

Once you know all the words in the text, you can let your brain learn by running the text in the background.

By hearing texts in that language over and over again, the sound of the words embeds itself in your subconscious, just as it would if you were staying in the country concerned. Afterwards you learn the correct pronunciation with a minimum of practice time.

Advantages

  • Save time

  • No iron will required

  • Anywhere and anytime

  • Good pronunciation right from the start  

Learning to speak by listening - is that possible?

In many language schools, students start by speaking the foreign language, for example by reading or repeating loudly. This does not correspond to the learning process envisaged in the human brain.

We learn intuitively through imitation. Before a child learns to speak, it constantly hears other people talking. As a result, the brain builds up nerve pathways that enable the child to speak.

The same happens to adults when they are surrounded by a foreign language. Our brain begins to create new nerve pathways until we are ready to start speaking.

We imitate this through the passive listening step. You will quickly notice how easy it suddenly becomes for you to say the text with perfect pronunciation. Give it a try!

Learning a language without learning lists of words by rote - is that possible?

When you learn vocabulary by rote you don't even know the correct sound of many words. This can later lead to incorrect pronunciation. For Example, you may mispronounce the German word „zwei“, e.g. [svay] instead of [tsvay]. Such errors can only be corrected later with great difficulty.

Learning individual words by rote makes learning unnecessarily difficult for our brain. It is much easier to learn if several words make a meaningful statement in context.

You therefore learn faster if you listen to whole sentences while at the same time reading the individual vocabulary word-for-word.

In this way you not only learn the meaning of the individual words, but automatically also the rules for how they are put together to form a sentence (grammar).

Frequently asked questions

The Birkenbihl method follows the approach of brain-friendly learning. Methods that take into account the natural learning techniques of the human brain are described as brain-friendly.

Man naturally learns through imitation. When our ancestors learned something, they first observed their environment before imitating a desired behavior. Babies and toddlers still learn through imitation and adults can do the same. Therefore, any method that supports the neuro-mechanism of imitation is described as brain-friendly.

If you want to learn a language, the best thing to do is to act like an infant learning his or her mother tongue. Get to know the foreign language in detail before you try to speak it. The Birkenbihl method makes that possible.

It’s true that the literal translations do not correspond to English grammar rules. You will learn the rules of your target language - automatically in your subconscious, without boring grammar exercises.

Grammar describes the rules of a language on an abstract level. Learning a language indirectly through these rules is very theoretical and extremely inefficient.

If you learn the language in whole sentences instead of single words, you will automatically and unconsciously understand the rules.

Even small children can express themselves with grammatical correctness over time without having to learn grammar rules beforehand. Learn the language in practice instead of in theory!

While listening, complex processes take place in the brain. New nerve pathways are created and old ones are reconnected. A child learns a language through simple, passive listening.

You too can make your brain learn automatically and benefit from the innate processes of language learning when you learn a foreign language. Find out more about it in our blog.

Of course, this is very individual. But one thing's for sure: The more you repeat the exercises, the faster you will make progress. A few minutes per day are sufficient. Repeat small sessions several times over and you will see how quickly your brain gets used to the new language.

Your subconscious takes it on board automatically and in the course of time you will no longer have any problems understanding the language. You will even be able to speak it.

To get you talking faster, Linguajet uses the Birkenbihl method of language learning. The motivational trainer Vera F. Birkenbihl developed a brain-friendly learning method that differs from traditional and long-winded methods. Find out more about it in our blog.

There are good reasons for this: Teachers have to teach whole classes at once. They cannot address the individual learning needs of each student, but instead depend on a standardized curriculum. It is also important that teachers can objectively test and assess their students. It is much easier to do this in writing. In addition, schools attach great importance to grammar, although you can express yourself correctly in a language without knowing all the rules - just as with your mother tongue.

The technique of brain-friendly learning therefore follows an individual approach that is less practicable at school. However, some schools now incorporate brain-friendly learning into their teaching as far as possible.

Further questions and answers can be found on our FAQ page.

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