How to learn any language in 3 months?

    Tim Ferris article translation from his blog .


    (Judo Okano Isao's textbook, which I used to study Japanese grammar)

    Learning a language does not have to be complicated.

    The principles of cognitive neuroscience and time management can be applied to achieve fluency at a conversational level (in this case it is defined as 95% + percent understanding and 100% expressive capabilities) for 1-3 months.

    Some tips on my obsession with learning from my previous self-study language article :

    From the academic environment of Princeton University (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Italian) and Middlebury Language Schools (Japanese) to the disappointing results that I have seen as head of the study process at Berlin International (Japanese and English), I’ve been more than 10 years I was looking for the answer to a simple question: why most of the language lessons simply do not work?

    An ideal system and process is based on three elements in the following order ...

    1. Efficiency (Priority)
    2. Understanding (Interest)
    3. Efficiency (Process)

    Efficiency, understanding and effectiveness are, respectively, “what?”, “Why?” And “how?” In the study of the selected language. Simply put, you first decide what to learn based on frequency of use (priority). Then, you filter the material based on the likelihood of continuous use and study (i.e. your interest). And finally, you decide how to study this material most effectively.

    Now consider each item in detail. This article will focus on vocabulary and subject matter. To learn grammar, I suggest you read this short article . To “reactivate” forgotten languages ​​- for example, Spanish, which you studied in high school - this sequence will look like this.

    Efficiency:if you choose the wrong material, it doesn’t matter how you teach (if you learn) - in practice, achieving fluency in the language at the conversational level is impossible without the proper tools (material). Teachers depend on material , just as cooks depend on recipes.

    Understanding:revision and repeated reference to the same material will always bring uniformity to which the material's interest should be contrasted. Even if you have chosen the most effective material and method of training, if you cannot adhere to them, efficiency and effectiveness will not mean anything. In other words, can you stick to the materials and methods that you have chosen? If not, less effective materials or methods will still be better. The best approach does not mean anything if you do not use it.

    By analogy, even if a sprint up the hill with a bowling ball in each hand would be the most effective way to lose weight, how long would an ordinary person have been able to follow this program?

    If you are not interested in politics, can you learn the language at a course that focuses on it? Ask yourself: can I study on this material every day and further until I reach my goals? If you are in any doubt, change your choice. Most often, the best solution would be to choose materials that match the ones you are interested in in your own language. Do not read anything that you would not read in English if English is your native language (for example, do not read Asahi Shimbun (one of the largest Japanese newspapers), if you do not read newspapers in English). Use the language you have chosen to learn as a means to learn more about the subject, skills, or cultural field that are of interest to you.

    Do not use materials that do not coincide with your interests as a means for learning a language - this will not work.

    Effectiveness: your training means almost nothing if you use the best materials and diligently adhere to this approach, but at the same time, to achieve fluency in the language is 20 years. Payback will not satisfy you. Ask yourself: will this method allow me to achieve accurate recognition and memory with the least number of defects in the shortest period of time? If the answer is no, your method should be redesigned or replaced.

    An example of efficiency (80/20) in practice.

    The Pareto 80/20 principle states that 80% of the results in any effort come from 20% of investments, materials or efforts.

    We can apply this principle and arrange the material based on the recorded probability and frequency of use. In order to understand 95% of the language and achieve fluent spoken language it may take 3 months of practical study; reaching a threshold of 98% may require 10 years. This is a point of diminishing result, where for most people it becomes more important to learn more languages ​​(or other skills) than to improve current knowledge of the language by 1% in 5 years.

    To see exactly how I deconstruct the grammar of new languages, I suggest you read "How to learn (but not master perfectly) any language in an hour . " Now, the most important thing in communication is words.

    If you studied English (although the list can be applied to most languages), the following English words will have the greatest efficiency for the hour spent in the first 1-3 weeks of training:

    The 100 most commonly spoken English words.

    1. the
    2. of
    3. and
    4. a
    5. to
    6. in
    7. is
    8. you
    9. that
    10. it
    11. he
    12. was
    13. for
    14. on
    15. are
    16. as
    17. with
    18. his
    19. they
    20. I
    21. at
    22. be
    23. this
    24. have
    25. from
    26. or
    27. one
    28. had
    29. by
    30. word
    31. but
    32. not
    33. what
    34 . all
    35. were
    36. we
    37. when
    38. your
    39. can
    40. said
    41. there
    42. use
    43. an
    44. each
    45. which
    46. ​​she
    47. do
    48. how
    49. their
    50. if
    51. will
    52. up
    53. other
    54. about
    55. out
    56. many
    57. then
    58. them
    59. these
    60. so
    61. some
    62. her
    63. would
    64. make
    65. like
    66. him
    67. into
    68. time
    69. has
    70. look
    71. two
    72. more
    73. write
    74. go
    75 see
    76. number
    77. no
    78. way
    79. could
    80. people
    81. my
    82. than
    83. first
    84. water
    85. been
    86. call
    87. who
    88. oil
    89. its
    90. now
    91. find
    92. long
    93. down
    94. day
    95. did
    96. get
    97. come
    98. made
    99. may
    100. part

    The first 25 of the words written above make up about a third of all printed material in English. The first 100 contains half of all written material, and the first 300 comprise about 65% of all written material in English. Articles and conjugations of the times, which can often be omitted in some languages ​​or studied for recognition (understanding), but not for reproduction.

    Lists of frequently used words presented as “the most used words” in English are erroneous without separation between the written spoken dictionary. The list of the 100 most frequently used words used in speech is significantly different and this difference applies to any language studied.

    The 100 most frequently spoken words in English.

    1. a, an
    2. after
    3. again
    4. all
    5. almost
    6. also
    7. always
    8. and
    9. because
    10. before
    11. big
    12. but
    13. (I) can
    14. (I) come
    15. either / or
    16. (I) find
    17. first
    18. for
    19. friend
    20. from
    21. (I) go
    22. good
    23. goodbye
    24. happy
    25. (I) have
    26. he
    27. hello
    28. here
    29. how
    30. I
    31. (I) am
    32. if
    33. in
    34. (I) know
    35. last
    36. (I) like
    37. little
    38. (I) love
    39. (I) make
    40. many
    41. one
    42. more
    43. most
    44. much
    45. my
    46. new
    47. no
    48. not
    49. now
    50. of
    51. often
    52. on
    53. one
    54. only
    55. or
    56. other
    57. our
    58. out
    59. over
    60. people
    61. place
    62. please
    63. same
    64. (I) see
    65. she
    66. so
    67. some
    68. sometimes
    69. still
    70. such
    71. (I) tell
    72. thank you
    73. that
    74. the
    75. their
    76. them
    77. then
    78. there is
    79. they
    80. thing
    81. (I) think
    82. this
    83. time
    84. to
    85. under
    86. up
    87. us
    88. (I) use
    89. very
    90. we
    91. what
    92. when
    93. where
    94. which
    95. who
    96. why
    97. with
    98. yes
    99. you
    100. your

    The individual frequency of words will vary from language to language (especially articles, pronouns and possessive), but the differences mainly relate to the position on the list, rather than the absence or substitution of another term. Surprisingly, the two above lists apply to all popular languages.

    The choice of vocabulary in addition to the most frequently used 300-500 words should be dictated by the area of ​​interest. The most relevant questions are: “What do you do when you use this language?”

    If necessary, the closest suitable rephrase is “What am I wasting my time with?”. And again I repeat - do not read what you would not read in your native language. Use the language you are learning as a means to learn more about a subject, skill, or cultural area of ​​interest. Bad material will never lead to a good language.

    Feed your language abilities with food that you like, or you will end your “diet” and stop learning long before you reach any significant level of skill.

    As a personal example: I used martial arts training aids to compete effectively in judo competitions while I was a student in Japan. My main goal was to learn the shots and apply them in competitions. I was very motivated to learn step-by-step diagrams in each tutorial to avoid pain and confusion. Language development was a distant second priority.

    Someone may suggest that the intersection of material with other areas will be minimal, but the grammar is generally identical. Vocabulary can be highly specialized, but I exceeded the grammatical skills of students studying Japanese for 4-5 years in just 2 months of study.

    The specialization of my vocabulary did not represent a problem in communication at all. It is important to note that I spent 80% of my free time in training with people who also used the terms Judo and other vocabulary unique to sports training and athletic development.

    Once the “backbone” of the grammar is transferred to long-term memory, vocabulary replenishment will be a simple repetition process, which I will describe in the next post.

    In the meantime, don't let the languages ​​scare you.

    Original (English): How to Learn Any Language in 3 Months

    Translated by the crowd

    If you want to learn more English words, I would pay attention to the excellent EngCards mobile program. It uses 3,500 of the most common words with pictures and voice acting. It is built on exercises: memorization, dictation and test.

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