This article is targeted first to persons who want to learn a new language. I believe some teachers, not only language teachers maybe, could find some interest in it.

During years, my language courses where a mess.

It is only recently that I understood how to organize them effectively.

It is because of the nature of the course itself : opposite to maths, sciences or history, it is not linear, but thematic.

And everything changes !

linear versus thematic

The vast majority of courses I followed from school to Uni were linear courses : begin point A (let’s say 2 + 2 = 4) and follow the logic to the end, where you find what you’re looking for (4 + 4 = 8). After that, let’s switch to something totally different.

The language course is organized (or not !) in micro individual thematics.

A thematic is, for example, the place of the verb in the sentence. That subject can be covered as generic manner for 90 % of the cases I have seen in half an hour.

The 10 % out of it are precisely an other (or more) thematic because it’s special sentences.

Dividing in thematics leads to move frequently from one subject to another in a total non-linear way. From day to day you switch from verb to subject to nouns then adjectives then reverse back to the first one. And these transitions are pretty fast.

The more we move on, the deeper each problematic is considered, with more and more precise details.

NB : Good side of a thematic course, is that you can work on several course at once !
Each teacher will complete the other ones, without any problem.
I, actually, attend to four danish courses at once : Duolingo (which allows me to practice every day), Lærdansk (the official language school), Netdansk (an option of online Lærdansk) and Stjernen.

Organize yourself

Concrete result of it is that you need to focus, with a strong and efficient organization. You can’t rely on a simple stupid textbook and follow linear logic like in maths.

What you need again, is to organize again in thematics, which can be organized again in smaller one, like fractals.

In my danish courses, I have for example a super-thematic verbs which contains the smaller ones modals, grammar and passive mode.

Therefor, you need a binder to be able to place sheets in the right place, or copy regularly your course in computer files (good time and way to learn other word processing tools like Latex…) or use a textbook and let a big pile of blank pages between each one of your thematics.

The good side of copying the course is that it helps you structure your own mind and the course itself together. By reading and writing it, by searching good words to describe the thematic, you learn the logic. And this is what is important : the real aim of a language course is for you to get into the language ! Not to be able to copy a full sentence but to immerse yourself in the language.

You also have to separate course and practical exercises.

When your teacher ask you to make the exercise number four to the next time, there is a time logic : exercises are done one after the other, linear way.

And they can’t be mixed with theoretical course.

Where to place exercise number four as it deals with place of verb, but also formation of nominal group ? For exercises, a textbook is enough.

Tell the others

Once, one of my danish teachers told us :

The more you teach, the more you learn !

The more you’ll tell to others around you, in course or at home, the more you’ll impregnate the language !

Reason why I think of writing a danish course on this site : to structure my own course and mind, help others and learn better !

The only reason I haven’t done so yet is that I see the immense work needed to do it, and I don’t know if I get enough time or energy to do so.