“La Negra Tiene Tumbao”
Mimic and Meaning
The focus of The Flow of Spanish is on the raw sounds that make up Spanish. Before you can perceive and reproduce Spanish fluently, you have to develop a mastery of its sounds. Once you have a strong concept of the Spanish sounds, you can start assigning actual meanings to them. If you try to learn these meanings before mastering the sounds, however, you will attach meanings to the wrong sounds and continually struggle to speak and understand the language as a result. This is why, in The Flow of Spanish, you do not learn the meaning of the lyrics until AFTER you can already sing the song correctly.
Normal Speech vs. Musical Speech
Normal speech and musical speech are the same in the two most important aspects of speech: The speech sounds and stress patterns. They do, however, differ in two features: voice inflection and meter (the beat). When we speak normally, we do not sing melodies or rap our thoughts to a steady beat. So in order to learn to speak normal Spanish, you will need to practice mimicking normal, non-musical speech.In the “Mimic” section of this lesson, you will practice mimicking the speaker as he recites the song lyrics you have just learned in normal, non-musical Spanish. Since you already learned the component sounds and stress patterns, your brain can focus on picking up the natural pacing and voice-inflection patterns of Spanish. With more and more mimic practice, the Spanish inflection pattern will become second-nature to you.
Contrary to what most people believe, fluency in a second language does NOT require explicit knowledge of grammar rules. Children and people who have never studied grammar are STILL able to recognize when things or grammatically incorrect. This is because, they know what proper grammar sounds
like, as a result of hearing it so many times.Humans actually build their knowledge of meaning and grammar unconsciously through a process called “Statistical Learning.” Basically, when we hear the same thing enough times, our brains start to recognize patterns and automatically apply them generally. So at some point in your childhood, you unconsciously realized that you add /s/ to the end of a word if the thing is more than one (“apple”–>”apples”).
This is the type of organic learning that The Mimic Method promotes. Learn to mimic, go off into the Spanish world, and through exposure, mimicking and interaction, your brain will start to unconsciously learn the meaning patterns. To aid that pattern-building process, the “Meaning” section provides additional phrases with similar grammar and words for you to mimic. There is no need to memorize these phrases; the point is to make the “patterns” more obvious to your brain.