Stephen Krashen is one of my heroes. He is a linguist, researcher, education activist, and professor emeritus at the University of Southern California. I have wanted to meet him since I began studying linguistics in university, and finally had my chance at Ming Chuan University’s 2009 “Annual Conference on Applied Linguistics” in Taipei, Taiwan. He then agreed to conduct the following interview via email. Please now enjoy Krashen’s unique brand of intellect and humor!
In this interview with Antonio Graceffo, he “pulls no punches” (pun intended) when sharing his views on how to learn a foreign language effectively. His language learning wisdom stems from formal training as an interpreter and translator at Germany’s prestigious University of Mainz, coupled with over a decade of living, learning, and working in South and East Asia.
The term “Multiple Intelligences” was first coined by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner. His theory is spelled out in the 1983 book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In the book, Gardner posits that humans possess many varied types of intelligence, not just one. This stands in stark contrast to IQ and standardized testing, both of which look at intelligence as a one-dimensional concept: you either have it or you don’t. While Gardners’s work is still somewhat controversial, I think it is a helpful way to frame intelligence and useful tool for choosing effective language learning methods and materials for oneself.
Michael Heim (1943-2012) was a highly respected professor of Slavic languages at UCLA. He spoke 10 languages (though he claimed that the number is hard to tie down due to the slippery political nature of language-dialect distinctions). Heim believed that effective language learning must begin (and progress) with a specific purpose in mind; he never learned a language just for the heck of it.
Pronounced like the word “link” (not “ling-kyu” as it is often mispronounced), LingQ is an an online and iOS app based language learning system created by Steve Kaufmann. The “freemium” site allows users to easily look up and save unknown words and phrases (what they call “LingQing”, hence the name of the site)m with tools for 11 languages: Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish (which happen to be the same 11 languages Steve speaks).