The Whole World Guide to Language Learning

Terry Marshall

A real asset to those…whose language learning takes place mainly in the community where they are serving.

—Training Forum
Newsletter Office of Training and Program Support
Peace Corps

Terry Marshall, Peace Corps veteran, offers a set of clear and easy-to-follow guidelines and instructions that, used conscientiously, will enable anyone going abroad to pursue language learning successfully. Marshall demonstrates how to learn from native speakers, beginning with the first days of your stay—even if you have never heard a word of the language.

This book will be useful to a variety of learners: overseas students; volunteers, missionaries, business executives, and teachers; members of the armed forces and others living and working abroad; families of all of the above; and anyone in countries whose languages are not regularly taught in language classes.

Once one decides to learn the language, Marshall offers the tools for doing so inexpensively, at the learner's own speed, and with the involvement of local people.

Two elements form the core of Marshall’s technique. One is the use of a “mentor,” a native speaker who lives in the community and serves as a guide and aide in learning the language. The other is the “daily learning cycle,” in which the learner, by following specific steps and drawing on guidance from the mentor, plans the language learning experience, practices communicating, carries out the plan in the community face-to-face with local inhabitants, and evaluates the results. Thus day-to-day life is turned into systematic language study—something which no classroom can do.

Marshall, who writes in a exuberant, humorous style, includes six detailed lessons (for instance, “I’ll Pass on the Pigsblood Soup, Thank You” or “Finding Sustenance in a Local Cafe”) and suggests dozens more.

Terry Marshall was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and Peace Corps country director in the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Tuvalu. He has written several articles about in situ language learning and is co-author of 101 Ways to Find an Overseas Job.

Go Back where I was.