language learning

11) Six Phases of a Growing Participator Approach to Language Learning

Curious as to what it would look like to learn language using a GPA study model? Check out this page with 6 ideal phases:

I’d love for a GPA learner to jump in and hit “comment” immediately following the web version of this item. Did it work for you this way? Would you? (if so — thanks!)

9) ICLL9 (a Conference on Language Learning): Spread the Word

The 9th International Congress on Language Learning is now open for registration. It will be held April 17-21, 2016 in Estes Park, CO. The theme of ICLL9 is Spread the Word, focusing on how the Gospel is shown through the act of language learning. There will also be a lot of great ideas presented for how to set language learners up for success. You can get more info here:

14) The BackPage: What’s in YOUR Language Learning Wallet?

language-benefitsLast week, a friend put me in touch with the ongoing development in the GPA language learning approach. I believe Greg Thomson was one of the (if not THE) person to coin this term. Learn more at sites like…

I don’t think Thomson did this from the vantage point of someone working for the Kingdom, but this method seems to fit SOOO well with a Kingdom-friendly mindset. For my own part, I used the LAMP method. Prior to departure, I got to study directly under Tom and Betty Sue Brewster at Fuller in the LAMP heyday. (I never take that for granted, by the way.) For whatever reason, I loved the method and it really made sense to me. I used pure aural/oral LAMP for 9 hours/day, 6 days/week for entire 9 months straight. At that point, I could lay aside full-time language learning and focus full-time on outreach (which was, at that point, merely a ramping up of what LAMP had modeled for me). The fun part about LAMP was – it wouldn’t have mattered what language I was learning. Nor would it have mattered if it was tonal or not. I didn’t really focus on reading/writing that much — so for all I know, Spanish might have been scripted in Cyrillic. It didn’t matter. I was memorizing phrases like one memorizes opera. I met with a helper to figure out 4 new phrases or sentences per day (the Brewsters called them “texts” and they called this process “Get”), then had him record the text in several unique ways. Then I listened (passively at first, then more actively) to the new text for 30 minutes. Then I worked with the recordings (as prescribed by the Brewsters) for 2 1/2 hours (“Learn”). After eating lunch, I’d take off into the community. The Brewsters had told me not to quit until I had been able to say the text to 50 different people (“Use”). I was nearly religious about it. They all took me so seriously, trying to develop my pronunciation and flow. At quitting time (never before 5pm [grin]), I would figure out what I needed to learn for the next day (“Evaluate” – so Get, Learn, Use and Evaluate spelled “GLUE”). To this day, 32 years later, when I speak Spanish, thanks to the Brewsters (not through anything I did), someone in the room asks inevitably asks me if I’m from Argentina. (Never mind that I studied in Uruguay; at least they have me pegged in the country next door.) I haven’t been able to LIVE in Spanish since 1982. But for some reason, give me 1 day back in a Spanish-speaking location and it’s all there again. How does LAMP do that?

So I have questions:
*** How is GPA different/better/worse than LAMP? What are the bullet points of how it’s unique?
*** Have you done LAMP and did it work for you? Have you tried GPA and was it easier or harder?
*** For you, how do these methods compare to using tutors or studying in a language class?

If you would be so kind, please respond by logging on to the web version of this edition (see link below), then click “Comment.” Thanks in advance!

2) Is poor Spanish sufficient for communicating the Gospel?

Spanish / English classThe Roca Blanca Spanish Language School doesn’t think so either! They’ve been helping missionaries and cross-cultural Christians learn to communicate well in Spanish for the last five years from Oaxaca on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Students like the quality curriculum, methodology, and teachers, as well as the reasonable cost, and the great environment, both natural and spiritual, that they live and learn in. Learn more at…

4) What’s Your Opinion of the “Pimsleur” Language Learning Method?

One Brigada partner wrote this past week, “Do you know anything about the Pimsleur Approach to language learning? I wonder if any Brigada readers have tried it.

Their claims seem “too good to be true”, yet Forbes & New York Times supposedly endorse them. If it does work as well as they claim it could be a real tool for missions.” I have used Pimsleur CD courses on four different languages and, I’d have to say, they’ve never disappointed. But what’s your own opinion? (In reality, much of what the Pimsleur method uses is well-developed by folks like Smalley, Brewster, Gradin, and many others, right?) Please give your opinion in the comment box following the web version of this item.

5) Learn a New Language in 22 Hours?

Well, maybe not EXACTLY. But according to the guy in this story..

using this approach, you might be able to learn 1000 common words in a language in that same amount of time. Learn more at …

and put it to the test yourself. I tried a course in French and, I’ll have to admit, it’s a compelling solution, especially for someone unable to leave one’s job, family, or home — for the moment. Either way, after you’ve tried it out, please give us your opinion here (in the comment box following the online version of Brigada), so others will be able to learn from your experience. And thanks to Joshua for tipping us off about this opportunity.

7) Idea for New Device: Could the Device Highlight Text Being Read? —

Here’s an idea from a Brigada Reader. He’d like someone to invent a device or software that highlights, one word or phrase at a time, the material being read. He sees the need, not just in English, but in other languages like Urdu. He specifically wishes the device would feature the Bible itself. Imagine, as some narrator properly pronounces the words, a yellow highlighter bounces from word to word. As I understand him, he’s envisioning something not unlike a Karaoke prompter. He feels it would help the learner associate the spoken word with the written words as they’re being pronounced. Could you or someone you know make that happen? If so, please jot a comment below, along with your website or email address. Or, alternatively, write Michael directly at

mmack4647ataoldotcom but please make a note in the comments below that you’ve done so. It’s the only way we’ll know that someone is giving attention to this request.

3) What’s the Best Computer-assisted Language Learning Tool? —

That’s the question we were asked this past week. The Brigada participant was aware of…


billed as “The World’s Largest Language Learning Community,” and


billed as “The gold-standard of computer-based language-learning.” The question is, what’s your experience with either . . . and are there other, competing sites, services, and/or apps we should mention? Just click “Comment” below and share your experience please — and thanks in advance for any help you can give.

8) Linguistics For Bible Translation Or Language Learning —

Are you interested in Bible translation or other missionary work? Your best tool in training will be to learn how to understand and learn the language. SIL at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, has the courses you need. June 2 – Aug 4 could be a wonderful summer for you alongside others with similar interests. Apply by May 1 to avoid a late fee, or by March 15 if you want to apply for financial aid. The summer package costs $2680-$3125. For more details:


2) Language learners and teachers – Here’s a good tip! —

Brigada participant, Belinda, wrote recently, “I’ve been working in missions for close to 30 years and a man I used to work with (YWAM in Holland) was really gifted with learning languages. I was astounded at how easily he picked up the Dutch language and as far as I know he already spoke French fluently (and flawlessly!).  We took a mission band to give evangelistic concerts in Austria, Switzerland and I forget where else, but this man suddenly would “meld” into the public because he could communicate.  Amazing! David Durham blogs and wrote a book about language learning keys.  He doesn’t just give you easy answers, he expresses the heart of learning the culture of another language – and that is big take-home value even if you never “master” but only enter another language.”


Check it out at:


She continued, “You can subscribe to his blog or download a free sample to give you an idea. Those of us who minister in languages other than our own are sure to benefit from his book.  I proof-read the manuscript and felt privileged that he asked because I only speak one other language fluently and am trying to gain some ground in three others. His approach gives you the basic tools and the heart of the mission of learning another language.  You’ll read it, benefit from it and pass it on to your friends.”


I went there and, indeed, the guy looks to be the real deal. Worth the read. Thanks Belinda!!!

7) Interested in media or minority languages in the Eurasia region? —

Media, Communications, and IT experts, as well as linguists, translators, and ethnomusicologists, will meet near Frankfurt, Germany 19-22 March, 2012, for the Eurasia Media and Distribution Consultation (EMDC 2012). To gain access (web site and secure login), email


with a letter of introduction.

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