January 28, 2015 michellem

Thinking like a baby, bebek, ბავშვი, & երեխա

It’s a common frustration among foreign language learners that “a baby can learn this- why can’t I?!”.

Nowadays, many parents see the advantages of teaching their children second (or third, or fourth) languages at a very young age. For English, there is a whole plethora of YouTube videos where children can not only learn to sing the alphabet, but also popular nursery rhymes and stories, like “Old MacDonald”, “Bingo”, and “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.  Through catchy tunes and cute cartoons, children begin to piece together pronunciation, word order, and culture.  For adult learners, we often learn these things in a classroom through a book laden with heavy grammar and conversations.  Though it puts the language in context using “adult situations” (like getting coffee or going to work- get your minds out of the gutter!), sometimes the vocabulary just doesn’t “stick” in our minds and we trip over our tongues when placed in that real world situation ourselves.

Sometimes, you have to go back to basics and start thinking like a baby in your target language.  We’ve included some alphabet videos for Turkish, Georgian, and Armenian to give you an idea of how children first learn their letters and pronunciation. The videos are designed to be short, simplistic, and easily understandable.

For instance, both Turkish schoolchildren (and Turkish language learners) will find themselves whistling this tune after a listen:


Likewise, you can learn the basics of the Georgian alphabet here:


Once you feel pretty confident in these letters, progress on to this faster-paced video that sets the alphabet to music:

You can learn the Armenian alphabet with the help of this familiar tune:

And if you want a bit more practice with Armenian, a kind soul has put together a collection of 25 videos dedicated to each letter of the alphabet:

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