Breaking barriers to second-language proficiency - EnToneYo's Way

EnToneYo's Way
(Photos: EnToneYo's Way School)
In this day and age, we all know that those who speak English have a better chance of finding a job or getting promoted than those who don’t. However, it seems to go even further than that. Apparently, if you can find a way to speak like a native, your chances of success are even stronger, as many experts suggest. اضافة اعلان

After all, we live in a world where English has become the lingua franca of global communication, and the ability to speak it fluently can open doors to countless opportunities.

But learning to speak fluently, as if it were your mother tongue, sounds like a pretty far-fetched goal, doesn’t it? And that’s especially true if you’ve exceeded a certain age, namely puberty, according to linguistic scientists such as the prominent Eric Lenneberg.

To be precise, he was the one who first proposed the critical period hypothesis in his book "Biological Foundations of Language”. Published in 1967, he used this work to suggest that there is a biological basis for language acquisition, and that the brain's plasticity declines with age, thus affecting its ability to acquire language with native-like proficiency.

Antonio Hodge, however, begs to differ. And he’s making linguistic magic happen, from right here in the heart of Amman. As a matter of fact, this visionary linguist has seemed to rewrite many of the traditionally agreed upon premises for language, including those written by Lenneberg back in 1967. And he’s proving these new premises daily, through the outstanding success of his students at the flourishing EnToneYo's Way School.

How it started
Hodge, 35, originally came to Jordan for a brief period of study at the University of Jordan. However, he quickly fell in love with our beautiful country in ways that he never thought possible, continually immersing himself deeper and deeper into the culture. Over the years, he learned Arabic and eventually converted to Islam, as reported by Jordan News in a recent interview.

However, his linguistic passions hadn’t fully awoken until he noticed that Arabic, especially the Holy Quran and other religious texts, uses a process known as diacritization (a.k.a. harakat). These diacritics or diacritical marks (short & long vowels) are added to a script or writing system to indicate specific phonetic, tonal, or other linguistic distinctions that are not apparent in the basic script.

Needless to say, this proved to be a light-bulb moment in the life of Mr. Hodge. Filled with inspiration, he went on to implement these diacritics into a language methodology that teaches English in a completely new and unique way.  He took what he learned from the Arabic diacritical system and designed his own symbols for the English language, all with the heartfelt purpose of providing Arabic speakers a precise system for rapid language acquisition and native-like pronunciation.

He then took what he had discovered and tested his new system on a sample group of students. After realizing profound success, he knew he was on to something and filed for a patent. Now, Antonio and his team tell of more than 1,700 people who "speak English fluently with an American accent”, since the School opened its doors to eager learners in 2018.

In this short time, EnToneYo's Way School has already created remarkable prestige for itself through the undeniable success of its students. Hodge’s innovative approach powerfully diverges from the conventional language systems available, thus placing it on the leading edge of English methodology for Arabic students.

It does this through the meticulously designed “EnToneYo Symbols”. And since they are inspired by Arabic diacritics, they’ve been unmatched in helping local learners grasp the diverse sounds, pronunciation nuances, and varied intonations of American English. In short, these symbols act as stepping-stones that bridge the gap between learners and their own native-sounding fluency.

Rhythm, culture, and melody
"We have seen a considerable number of students learn to speak English with an American accent, demonstrating remarkable fluency," boasts Hodge, emphasizing the practicality and efficacy of his approach.

Ronahi Al-Majdalawi, a seasoned curriculum expert, acknowledged her initial doubts. Nevertheless, she gave EnToneYo’s Way a try and soon witnessed the transformative impact of Hodge's technique firsthand. "I attempted to learn English through conventional methods for years, and I only accumulated vocabulary and theoretical grammar knowledge. However, when I observed EnToneYo's students conversing fluently, it instilled hope within me," she told Jordan News.

Central to the EnToneYo's Way method is its emphasis on linguistic rhythm, culture, and melody – all of which contribute to the natural acquisition of English. Hodge continually draws inspiration from the way children learn their mother tongue, relying on melodies and emotions to associate sounds with specific contexts.

By immersing learners in the cultural nuances of American English, EnToneYo's Way has truly succeeded in transcending traditional boundaries faced by language learners. "This method allows the language to become second nature, empowering learners to speak without overthinking when they try to utter words," Majdalawi said.

Shaima Nassim, a third-year English literature student at the University of Jordan, attests to the transformative power of EnToneYo's Way. "Before joining the School, my conversational skills were weak, but after completing the first level, I witnessed a significant improvement, and my confidence soared, opening up new opportunities," she enthusiastically recounted.

What’s next for EnToneYo’s Way School and its founder Mr. Antonio Hodge? Only time will tell, but the future seems brighter than ever for this linguistic pioneer and his innovative language method. So as those Americans say, I’d stay tuned if I were you!

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