"The mistake with language learning is that it's seen as an academic subject, but it isn't; it's a practical subject. What you need is to be trained in them." Paul Noble, MA, BA, PGCE. Did anyone read this? http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/may/18/speak-mandarin-in-two-days?INTCMP=SRCH According to Noble "One of the worst things you can do with language teaching is teach someone a massive number of words" and yet in his two-day £299 courses "Writing anything down is banned, as is all technical jargon – talk of participles, perfect tenses and the subjunctive makes Noble wince". So his approach is apparently based on pre-teaching set phrases for specific circumstances... At school, apparently Mr Noble was "naturally particularly good at languages but [...] did German and I was utterly confused by it. I spent about eight years trying to learn and failed". I wonder if he actually learned Mandarin in two days himself?