Learning Language ... the Sexy Way
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because now you’ll know how to conjugate those sweet nothings.
By Zara Stone
We know people will do almost anything for sex — but can sex drive be harnessed as a tool for teaching? Yes, yes … yes. At least when it comes to learning a new language. If you’re in the market to brush up your Mandarin or learn English, there are some curious alternatives, with teaching methods that involve one targeted approach: Get your brain into learning language by getting it into your pants.
English language teacher Jack Napp’s book project, Learn English with Sex, uses sexual motivation to encourage students with both hard-core and soft-core options. During his studies at Oxford Brookes, he observed the international students approaching the local girls. After examining the personal motivations involved in English language acquisition, Napp found that interpersonal contact — like trying to land a date — created the best language retention.
One learning task: filling in a Tinder-like profile, which uses imperative grammar.
His steamy series caters to two levels of courtship. “The soft-core version uses sex as a vehicle to teach the flirting process,” he says. One learning task: filling in a Tinder-like profile, which uses imperative grammar. Then there’s date night language, where students learn conversational questions like, “What do you like to do?” The explicit version, well, takes things to the next level. It’s not exactly about translating porn films … but Napp admits it could help with that. The Kickstarter campaign for his books failed, but he plans to self-publish this year.
Hot teaching is also at the heart of SexyMandarin. Created in 2012 by wife and husband Kaoru Kikuchi and Mick Gleissner, scantily clad models work as Mandarin teachers, and lessons cover topics like popular culture, news events and using Facebook. A monthly fee of $9.95 provides access to video tutorials (lingerie-clad women rollicking on silk sheets, licking popsicles), with the option to pay for one-on-one Skype sessions (teachers are fully dressed) for $40 to $75 a month. More like a dating site than an educational tool, every teacher’s profile page lists her astrological sign, hobbies and bust size. But Kikuchi stresses that all their teachers have language training. Gleissner developed the idea after finding himself unmotivated by his teacher, as she “wasn’t pretty, so I had no need to impress her.”
Originally started as a joke, SexyMandarin became so popular that it turned into a real business. The teachers might not be wearing much, “but the curriculum is thought-out and teaches you numbers, et cetera,” Kikuchi explains. She likens SexyMandarin to Hooters in America: “Built around the server’s physique, but the food has to be good.”
Sam Maher, a language teacher with Fluent City, has reservations about using sex to teach. He thinks sexually charged language can make the process more exciting, but that real learning “is more about consistent relevance than it is about novel themes.” Lack of momentum is also a potential problem, he stresses.
Obviously, sex learning services are catered toward heterosexual men. If you’re a boob-loving dude who struggles with language, this is basically an educational Playboy. For now, women will have to learn new languages the old-fashioned way: with clothed instructors.