I have subscribed to Tim Ferriss’ blog for a few weeks, and have found its content enlightening and interesting. Having done a degree in applied linguistics, I found the his item about learning a language in an hour interesting, if slightly mis-named.
Tim reckons that you can work out how to learn a language in about an hour, but not actually become fluent in it in that time. He lays out a plan for analysing and comparing differences between languages we might already know with a target language, and using that information to make decisions about how to learn.
As part of my studies at Kings, we looked at learning styles and communicative competencies. (Check out George Yule for more on linguistics). I would have thought that the idea that you can focus on a particular tactic for learning a language lies partly with the language itself (and for that, Tim’s blog entry seems completely apt), but also on identifying one’s own learning styles and techniques. Then, a language could be tackled in a way which makes use of one’s particular strengths while focusing on the areas which would most help.
I recommend Tim’s blog, and think it’s well worth a few hours reading!