What’s the best way to learn a language?

I don’t think there’s a set answer to this question. It depends on your learning style, the level of your language skills and your goals for learning the language. But recently many people have suggested that I get a Russian boyfriend as a means to learn the language better. A non-English speaking, Russian boyfriend seems to be the answer! I’ve also heard that one of the best ways to learn a language is either while drunk or in bed. I also recently saw the film The Sleeping Dictionary which is about that very topic. According to the IMDB summary, the film is about a British officer working in a British colony who is assigned a “sleeping dictionary,” a girl who will “live and sleep with him and teach him the language and habits of the locals.” According to the site for the film on Wikipedia, sleeping dictionaries did in fact exist. Unfortunately I was unable to find any further information about this.

But what makes this such an effective way of learning a language? I don’t think it’s so much that you learn a language while you’re literally in bed, but that you are in a relationship with someone. When you have a person you care deeply about, you may be more inclined to know more about them, their language and culture. If the urgings of my friends are any indication, this concept is alive and well even today! What are your thoughts? Would this be an effective way to learn a language? Have you ever tried it? Do you have any further information about sleeping dictionaries?

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