Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Subliminal language learning.

In 1988 François Mitterrand was re-elected President of France.
So what? Well, for several days before the election a subliminal picture of him appeared in the title sequence of the news on one of the major French TV channels.

In a 1973 episode of Columbo "Double Exposure", the murderer, a research psychologist played by Robert Culp, uses subliminal messaging in a film to commit murder. Columbo uses the same technique to lure Culp's character to the scene of the murder and somehow (don't ask me, I was 4 years old) proves his guilt.

In 1974, a report commissioned for the United Nations concluded that "the cultural implications of subliminal indoctrination is a major threat to human rights throughout the world".

So if it's possible to threaten people's human rights, become President of France and catch a murderer, the question you must be asking yourself is:

Is it possible to learn a language subliminally?

Most experts on this say "no". They would though, because if it were possible, most of us would be out of a job.

RW Schmidt in "The role of consciousness in second language learning" (1990) OUP concludes that "subliminal language learning is impossible".

He's probably right, but I've never been one to let facts and research get in the way of a good idea and I'm always up for a challenge.

This is why I have added to my Icelandic resources with "Learn Icelandic fast and easy subliminal CD" (sic) which was "developed by Medical doctors and Phds in psychiatry and psychology".

What could possibly go wrong?

I'll be fluent before you can say "Eyjafjallajokull".


Steve Smith said...

I was recently asked to listen to a French language learning CD which made the bizarre claim that you could learn French whilst asleep. Subliminal language learning? Nah.

Dom said...

I think you are probably right, but I'm going to try it out before I agree with you that it's complete rubbish.