Do-It-Yourself Learning: More on Dr. Kató Lomb

KatoLombDr. Lomb in Polyglot asks the question, why should we learn languages?  She answers: “… because languages are the only thing worth knowing even poorly. ”  She gives examples of the dangers of playing a violin or practicing medicine poorly.  She writes:

Solely in the world of languages is the amateur of value….Asking in broken Italian which train we are supposed to board at the Venice railway station is far from useless.  Indeed, it is better to do that than to remain uncertain, and silent and end up back in Budapest rather than in Milan.

Dr. Lomb’s methods for learning languages involve reading novels  you have already read in a language you know  translated (or originally from) the target language accompanied by a translating dictionary.  She suggests only looking up the words that repeat.  Do not look up every word, because it will slow down rather than help you to progress into the language.

So, her ideas are inspired by Voltaire’s poem, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.”


About Richard Rollo

I am a retired Community College Instructor. I taught Political Science 1 American Government for 22 years in Southern California. I am originally from Northern Minnesota. My earliest years were spent in the living quarters of a rural Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Railway Depot. Then my family joined the great 1950's migration to Southern California where I joined up with fellow baby boomers in overcrowded schools.
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