Now you must be really eager to study, with this textbook open.  I assume you are now more motivated to study than ever before.

So, for you, let me ask you the most important thing first - Do you watch TV?

You probably have no idea what I’m talking about. I like soccer and often watch it on TV, but why is TV so popular? Before TV, radio was popular.

What do you think these two things have in common?

They both let us be passive and relax.

For example, if you want to know the latest news, you can read the newspaper as well. But reading is active and so very tiring.

It’s really easy to be passive.

Remember this for the moment.

Then, what process do you think human beings go through to acquire a language?

Newborn babies hear the things their parents say, and continue to store them inside, until they start talking, at about age 3, I guess?

In the case of languages that have no letters, they learn words only through their ears. In the case of languages that do have letters, they learn them as they grow up,starting at about 5 years old.

Now, let’s look back on the circumstances in which you have studied English.

中学校にいき、ABC を習い、I am a boy. This is a pen. その次は三人称単数現在。このあたりからつっかえる人が多いのでは?
You went to junior high school, learned the ABC’s, “I am a boy”, and “This is a pen”. Then you went on to the third person singular, which, I guess, a lot of people find difficult to understand.

That’s only natural because that was the first time you had ever heard of such a Japanese word.
As you went on, you heard “the notional subject of absolute participial constructions”, which sounds cool even though it’s just another Japanese word.

This is a bit unnatural. In other words, it’s against human nature, so you can never learn to use English well if you stick to this way.

When you study, try to relax and make the most of your natural learning abilities. Yes,
the combination of the two points mentioned above is the best method of learning English.

That is, you should give the first priority to listening.

You can never produce something out of nothing, so you need some input at the beginning. And that should be from the ears, because that’s the most natural for the human body.

Some might say, “I understand it’s physiologically right, but I’m already used to learning by reading and for me it’s quicker.”

そんなことありませんよ。これは生理的に正しいほかに、物理的に圧倒的に速いというメリットもあります。 例えばこの文章も口で伝えれば3秒もあれば十分でしょう。
But that’s not true. This is not only physiologically right, but physically it has the advantage of being by far the quickest method of learning. For instance, it wouldn’t take three seconds to get this across to you by talking.

Letters are basically for recording, so it doesn’t matter if they are slow, as long as they are preserved well. They are for different purposes in the first place, and so are slow.

By phone is definitely faster than by email.

Also, do you remember what I wrote about TV? We all like being passive, because it’s easy.

So, by improving your listening skills first, you can learn languages in a way that is easy, quick, and compatible with our physiological makeup.

What’s more, listening skills can be mastered in a surprisingly short time.

I’d say one or two weeks is enough to get the knack of it. Are you all ears?