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Easy Language Learning by Vera F. Birkenbihl - The Decoding Method

birkenbihl Mar 28, 2019

Forget about cramming vocabulary: the best way to learn a language is by using decoding exercises. Translate a German sentence word-by-word into your native language – thus you will learn the word’s meaning as well as the language’s grammar.


Definition of Decoding

Decoding means to “decipher”. The native language serves as a supporting factor as we know it inside out. By translating a foreign text word-by-word into the native language, we learn to understand the foreign language.


Every word is being translated separately, which enables the language learner to easily learn:

  1. the word’s meanings
  2. the word’s using in context
  3. the language’s sentence structure
  4. the language’s grammar such as conjugation, tenses and prepositions
  5. the differences and similarities to our native language


How to decode a text?


On paper:

Write down on a piece of paper two to three sentences of your foreign text, preferably on A3...

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5 Exercises for Better Language Learning.


Would you like to learn a foreign language? These five exercises will boost your learning progress immediately!

TIP: Most exercises require a brain-friendly learning course. Fortunately, you can adjust the exercises a bit so that they fit in with other language learning material, as well.

No 1: Karaoke Exercise

Listen to a text passage on loop. Listen to the native speakers in the movie and read along the word-by-word translations in your native tongue. Concentrate on the second line only (the translations). The word pairs are highlighted in sync with the speakers – just like a karaoke player.

With this exercise, you will intuitively learn:

  • The meaning of the words (instead of cramming vocab)
  • The grammar of the foreign language (how to use words in context)

Repeat the text passage regularly until you understand approximately 85% of all words. Then, move on to the next passage/lesson.

No 2: Background Listening

With this exercise, you can start to speak the language...

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