This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
Can you learn a foreign language while you sleep?…
Wouldn’t it be great to learn Thai when sleeping? No more drills. No more tedious word lists. Just start snoozing and let your subconscious do the hard slog for you.
Dream on … it’s not going to happen. Or rather, not in the way you might think. Not yet anyway.
But there is one way you can reinforce the Thai you are studying and that’s by first revising a set list of words or phrases right before you sleep, then again before you enter the NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) phase.
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Verbal cues during sleep can boost the memory, at least when it comes to vocabulary: A new study reveals that it may be easiest to learn that second language if you incorporate some verbal cuing during a snooze right after studying.
The study relates memory retention is stronger for those who study vocabulary, then use a verbal cue, such as a tape that recites the same vocabulary, during sleeping. The key is the studying has to be within short order of the nap learning time.
“You can only successfully activate words that you have learned before you go to sleep,” says Schreiner. “Playing back words you don’t know while you’re asleep has no effect”.
Learn Thai Words & Vocabulary…
For Thai, the only app with the above mentioned sleep attributes I could find is Learn Thai Words & Vocabulary Free (created by Languagecourse.net). They’ve only recently added the sleep mode so if you already have the app, check it out.
At the moment I’m experimenting with an iPhone sleep app for Italian instead (SleepyItalian) because the sleep mode from the Languagecourse.net app doesn’t work with iOS (for me, anyway).
So why am I featuring an app that doesn’t fully work on iOS? Because the rest (most everything but the sleep mode) works fabulously. The app is sort of like Glossika, only with fun bits to play with. And to see what I mean, check out Sven Elven’s a sleep learning screen record download from box.com, or get the free app to play with. Or both.
I plan on reviewing the app in full but as this post is about revising vocab/phrases while you sleep (a lightweight Xmas post) I’ll leave that for later.
A brief walkthrough of ‘Learn Thai Words & Vocabulary Free’ sleep attributes…
In the main menu of the app select Sleep Learning Timer (almost at the bottom of the home page navigation).
From the sleep learning menu:
Start in x minutes: The time when the program starts (let’s say you know you will be asleep in 30 minutes so set the timer to 30 or 40 minutes).
Duration: From the next drop down menu choose the duration you want to study.
Course: Choose the course you want review while you sleep (tip: a course won’t appear in the menu until you first study it while awake).
Background music: Select none, white noise, or white noise with binaural beats (the iOS does not have this option).
Volume Calibration: Set your volume then click the button to see how loud the audio is. Reset if needed.
Yes/No: The next window gives you the choice of doing a final review of the words/phrases before you go to sleep (Yes. Show word list) or go straight into the sleep mode (No. Start sleep learning session now). The review is text only, no audio (pity).
Continue/Start: If you are ready to get to sleep press ‘continue’ or ‘start’ or ‘start sleep learning’ (depending where you are in the process, the selection is different). The screen will then dim.
The program will start playing random phrases at the time you’ve chosen. The phrases will be spaced out about 10 to 15 seconds apart. Once your allotted time is over the audio will stop.
From Sven: Very easy to use and a great tool even if you are awake. I use it while running …
Thank you so much Sven Elven – I couldn’t have done it without you!
Note: Here’s a smattering of subliminal products for Thai.
For those who want to know more…
Abstract: Boosting Vocabulary Learning by Verbal Cueing During Sleep Reactivating memories during sleep by re-exposure to associated memory cues (e.g., odors or sounds) improves memory consolidation.