Argument Deconstruction: “How to learn any language in six months” by Chris Lonsdale

Synopsis: The video “How to learn any language in six months” was presented at the independently organized TEDxLingnanUniversity event by Chris Lonsdale, a managing director of Chris Lonsdale & Associations, and the developer of a unique approach that helps people to learn any language in a short period of time. In the lecture, the presenter provides 5 principles and 7 actions claiming that they will help anyone to learn a second language.

Thesis: Following 5 principles and 7 actions offered by the author every adult can learn any language to fluency in 6 months.

Deconstruction: The speaker begins his talk with a question “How can you speed up learning?” and during the performance, he tries to answer this question by offering several pieces of advice. He speaks very enthusiastically and confidently, it is obvious that this man knows what he is talking about. His speech generally can be divided into three parts: 1) explanation of why 6 months period is quite realistic; 2) an attempt to dispel two widespread myths about learning languages (talent and immersion); 3) demonstration of 5 principles and 7 actions for better language learning.

Regarding the first part, the author’s decision to include it in his presentation is based on the fact that many people think he is crazy with his idea of learning a new language in a short time. But he draws listeners’ attention to some historical examples when people also did not believe in things which then became reality. For instance, no one could ever think about a flying machine. However, it was invented later and successfully introduced into our life. According to the speaker, the same is about learning languages. Nobody may believe that it is possible to learn a second language in 6 months, but it may turn out to be real. I partly agree with this statement, but I also think that there are some differences between creating material things or improving your physical state and overcoming cognitive barriers that one may have. But in general, I liked his examples.

The second part included the author’s attempt to dispel two popular myths. The first is that to learn a language effectively you need talent and the second is that it is much better to immerse oneself in a new country for a better result. He underpins the first claim that talent does not matter by giving an example about an Australian girl Zoe. However, the speaker does not mention if this girl is a real human, it seems therefore that this story is just a fiction. So, this example completely fails. Supporting his second claim, the author provides an example of Chinese people living in America or Australia, yet not being able to speak English. For me, this is somehow ambiguous, because even if I know such people in my life, I am also acquainted with people who on the contrary learned a language by being totally immersed in a language environment. Thus, I was not convinced by his examples. As for the third part, I finally started to enjoy the talk, and although I did not understand some of the principles at once, after watching the video again I realized that they were great.

Since I am very interested in learning languages as well, I naturally tend to sick for some advice and tips that hopefully would help me to gain a deeper understanding. But when I first looked at the title of this video I was quite skeptical and my first thought was: “oh, this is probably going to be another mediocre video with a standard range of advice”. But the more I watched it the more was interested in the content and the data presented by the speaker. His psychological approach to learning process made me believe in the effectiveness of the given principles. The idea of imagining oneself as a little child is really worth applying. In general, the talk is helpful and deserves attention.

So, did I enjoy the video? Yes. Did I agree with it? Mostly. Will one be able to learn a new language by following the tips? I think YES. And starting now, I am going to apply them. The one thing is that it would be better for the presenter to include more meaningful and reliable examples.


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