5 Shocking Things You Must Know Before Learning a New Language

(#3 will blow your mind)

Gáspár Bálint

1/28/20233 min read


    #1 The learning material supposed to be entertaining or at least memorable

     It doesn't matter how much you learn, if your learning material is boring as hell. For this to understand you need to understand how our brain works. The adult human brain is about 2% of total body weight. But how much energy does the brain require? For the average adult in a resting state, the brain consumes about 20 percent of the body’s energy. It means our brain is designed to forget everything what isn’t relevant for the sake of survival. If your material is boring you are swimming against the current. And it doesn't matter how long you swim you stay at the same place. You learn, your brain forget. It’s simple as that. Make yourself a favour and try to learn a language through materials you would learn anyway or watch movies you would watch anyway in your native language. And if the content is funny, interesting, relevant or even disgusting, you learn that in a heartbeat. I don't want to tell you what to learn, just how to learn.

         #2 Don’t analyse the language

     Focus on the meaning not on the words It should be so obvious, however we don’t use this principal . How many times did you analyse your own language until age 6? NONE, I knew it. And still your strongest language you have ever learned. I am not gonna lie about it. You can't learn a language to your mother tongue level. The answer is quite simple. Every basic word which you use on a daily basis you have learned through experience, and this first experience will stay with you forever. I am Hungarian which means that my finger was burnt by ,,tűz” 🔥 first and not by fire, Feuer or by fuego. You can’t and you don’t really want to overwrite those experiences. This is your identity. However you can still use this power when learning a new language.

    #3 You don’t learn speak by speaking your learn speak by listening

     It’s the most important and liberating lesson from the book From The Outside In. by J Marvin Brown. (In my humble opinion it is the best book on language learning) People tend to speak too early, many language courses encourage you to speak from day one. They tell (sell) you how to learn a languages in a humanly impossible timeframe. Like 3 months 3 weeks, 3 hours, whatever , the less the better. It’s nothing else just marketing bull💩, To be honest I also use them because they work. In this noise we need to catch your attention somehow. But don't let fool you in the long run. Did you learn your mother tongue in 3 months? I doubt it. So why would you set yourself such impossible challenges? What is this hurry anyway? For almost 2 years you were a listener before you really spoke. Please do yourself a favour and don't set yourself impossible challenges that don’t make sense anyway. ,, Tagging along in a cascade of everyday happenings without trying to say anything for nearly a year.” This is what you need

     #4 You can’t really learn a language, you can only get used to it.

     No matter how much you learn, how much you analyse, the truth is by speaking you don't have time for analytical thinking. When you construct a sentence that must be instinctive to some extent. Somehow unconscious. Sometimes even linguists get the third persons singular wrong, because they didn’t get use to it. It doesn't matter if you understand at a conscious level. It isn't impossible to learn a language by the analytical way, but you can tell the difference right away. And exactly this is the reason why you are so perfect in your native language, because you didn't learn it you just get used to it. You didn't do anything it happened to you. Actually you should completely avoid grammar in the first 1 or 2 years. The longer the better. I can understand that you want to show off with your knew skills but I also want you to understand that patience pays off extremely.

    #5 Repetition is key

     Not only in languages, but also in many other areas of life, repetition is key. I don't want you to use a proxy language to learn another one. You didn't use another language to learn your mother tongue so don't get started now. You can utilise videos, you have the pictures, you have the narrative, in many comprehensible input YouTube channel you can start with super beginner level, they talk to you like they would talk to a baby. Even if you don’t understand for the first time you gonna understand more and more with each repetition. Remember the #2 rule, the most important advice from mister Marvin Brown: don’ focus on the words, focus on the meaning. Forget about words, forget about grammar, forget about everything you knew about language learning up to this point. If you would like to learn more about the importance of repetition please watch this video from Mr. Steve Kaufmann: