Research has shown that there are two different processes for audio processing in our brains.
The first one processes most "ordinary" sounds, such as street noises, music (unless you are a trained musician), barking dogs and singing birds.
These sounds are coming to the center for word recognition in the brain within about 200 milliseconds.
Next it identifies these sounds as voice / non-voice.
The second process is particularly adapted to the handling of language, and can process the sound of words and sentences we already know within about 100 milliseconds, thus considerably faster.
The key to this speed is obtained by frequent exercise. Unfamiliar words and called phonemes are either rejected or accepted as an already known word-element, or phoneme.
One consequence is that these phonemes arrive distorted or too late and is often understood in the wrong order. Your brain is not able to recognize words in an unknown foreign language, simply because it does not recognize certain sounds / phonemes. Or if it does, it is too late: The speaker has already moved to the next word.
It also affects the pronunciation. The brain adjusts the sound to what it thinks is similar to an already familiar sound, and that's why you end up speaking with an accent similar to your own language.
You "speak German in English".
The problem with the traditional language teaching is just that: it is so traditional. Right from the start it focuses almost 100% on vocabulary and grammar, devoting very little attention to the all-important wording in the new language. Thus one never learns to perceive the spoken language that is the basis for everything. Teaching is also deliberately focused on written language, mainly because it is easier to organize teaching in a classroom where the blackboard always was the main tool.
So, the written language was always the norm, along with the rules/grammar about its usage.
But there is little use of that when you are unable to identify the words in a spoken sentence.
SoToSpeak has developed a method that teaches your brain to recognize the fluent sounds of a new language. Each language has its own set of phonemes. The vowels are slightly different in different languages. "A" in Norwegian differs from "A" in English.
The Japanese do not know how to distinguish between "R" and "L". They have a consonant in their language which has similarities with both, but a Japanese ear can not hear the difference because it is not trained for that.
To learn to perceive the difference is not so easy, but it is entirely possible if you understand how exercise affects the brain.
If you want to read more about the scientific basis, click "the Method and its use" in the top menu.
What are phonemes?
A phoneme is the smallest unit of speech that can change the meaning of words. To identify phonemes, a linguist will try to find two words with different meanings, while differing only by one sound element: one phoneme.
Linguists can have different views on how a language should be analyzed in terms of phonemes. But phoneme are widely regarded as the abstract that identifies sounds that are seen as equal in the spoken language. For instance the sound / r / is considered one phonem in Norwegian, but can be pronounced as two different allophones: throat-y ([ʁ]) or roll-r ([r)]. But as the meaning of the word is exactly the same regardless of pronunciation, the sounds / r / are considered the same phoneme.
The study of phonemes is an important branch of linguistics called phonology.
In our method the most important thing is the relationship between words and their sounds.