Sensitization to foreign languages
Alfred Tomatis wrote a book entitled "We were all born multilingual". So why is it so difficult to learn foreign languages?
Using the ears, the brain adjusts to a certain frequency spectrum which is typical of its mother tongue. The "English ear" has quite a broad range, especially in the upper frequencies, from 2000 to 12000 Hz. Germans and Italians are trained in specific ranges, between 125 and 3000 Hz and between 2000 and 4000 Hz respectively. In contrast, Russians use an extremely large frequency range, from 125 to 12000 Hz, which explains the Slavs' talent for languages. So in order to learn a language easily, the ear has to be able to adjust to the frequencies of the foreign language. The difficulty in learning a language is nothing more than a kind of hearing impairment with regard to a certain language frequency pattern.
What does Tomatis listening therapy do?
Initially during the => passive phase, learners hear a wash of sounds using the voice of a native speaker in the language to be learned. In the => active phase which follows, learners say words or sentences of the foreign language into a microphone which is connected to a => Brain Activator (BA). Supported by certain filters and configurations, learners then hear the transformed language signal through the headphones. This gives them the opportunity to hear themselves speaking the language in an adjusted, ideal way. After a time, the retention effect sets in (=> The Three Laws of Tomatis). The learners have then adjusted acoustically to the foreign language.
It is recommended to have a listening test done before a new foreign language is to be learned. If there are weaknesses hearing frequencies above 2000 Hz, for example, then it could be difficult for a foreign speaker to learn English, which has a higher frequency range. Language training (= listening therapy) helps to adjust acoustically to the language. It also supports cognitive performance and concentration, which is also helpful, since there is no replacement for learning vocabulary and grammar!