Hello my friends. My name is Gabriel. I speak some languages. Today, I would like to speak about a very interesting topic and that is how many words can we and should we learn a day when learning any language. Many people want to learn a lot of words a day. I would like to say this, often it’s going to be really important for us to focus on quality and not on quantity and what I mean by that because often we’re trying to just learn a lot of words, we’re not going to be really learning them that well. Many of these words that we’re going to learn are just going to be forgotten. Sometimes you are going to be able to recognize them when you see them but I’m really going to be able to recognize it when you hear it in quick conversation or will you be able to even use it in context. So I think that often the focus shouldn’t really necessarily be on quantity but it should be on quality.
I’m really trying to learn words quite well and eventually be able to actually use these words in context and incorporating them in our vocabulary and I think that one really important thing is actually use different resources because they think that a lot of people are just too reliant on one specific resource. So nowadays a lot of language learners are a learning a lot of vocabulary with funky for instance the flashcard and software and web site. While I think that there’s nothing wrong with funky. It’s a reviewing flashcards is great especially with the space repetition but the thing is that often people aren’t really necessarily learning with these words in context and in think that in addition to using something like Anki or using just straight flashcards. It’s going to be really important to also do lots of listening, lots of reading. So you can also see these word in context and the better you do this. The more you do this, the more you going to be able to actually or rather the quicker you’re going to be able to actually use these words as well as you speak in the foreign language.
We would be better off learning perhaps 30 words a day instead of a hundred especially if we can try to really incorporate them in our long-term memory. Really be able to understand what these words mean and what context these words can be used and so on. So I think it’s nice to have a balanced. Try to have some quantity. Of course we just don’t want to just learn three words a day or five. We want to learn more of course. But we also want to make sure that we’re really learning them that we’re able to actually use them in context where we’re able to recognize them when we hear them and I’ll give you guys an example as well. I did this challenge for mandarin in July which I did a hundred words a day through memorize the app and while I thought that this really helped me progress in Mandarin Chinese, many of the words wouldn’t be able to really even incorporate into sentences that quickly or that well and many of them have just simply forgotten without practice.
So I think that it’s good to go for quantity but at the same time keep in mind that you want to learn them quite well and if you were aiming for too many words a day, you may be a bit detrimental. So let’s say if you have time, perhaps a 30 to 50 words a day but of course it depends as well as on the method that you’re using and if you are not at the level in which you can learn them any words yet, that’s okay. Just try to build it up. Try to gauge how many words that you’re being able to introduce into your vocabulary a day while actually learning them well. So keep in mind to always use different resources. Do flash cards but do reading, try listening. That way if you’re actually exposed to the same words, through listening, through reading and through flash cards then you’re very likely going to be able to learn them well, understand in what context these words can be used and that way you’re going to be able to actually use them in conversation as well. So I hope this video has been useful to you and good luck learning in your language.
Ok so here at the park and right now I just want to talk about the importance of focusing on what you really want to learn as you learn a new language and I think that not enough courses not enough people really emphasize this, that essentially we should be prioritizing our language learning and and often what I see for example in textbooks or in courses in my opinion many of them have like a really weird order in which the tackle a language you know so for instance oh let’s go and learn about, you know, a conversation at the airport or conversation at the hotel.
Of course that eventually I want to know these things I want to know vocabulary related to the airport and flights and hotels and so on, but I have other priorities when I’m learning a new language I have other priorities, I wanna learn other things really bad I wanna really learn vocab that I’m gonna be able to use in a normal conversation with someone outside of a hotel or outside of an airport, ok?
So because the fact that many language text books they focus on helping I guess people who are gonna learn a language for touristic purposes they’re tourists they are gonna be traveling and so then they… These courses or textbooks teach them how to engage in conversations in these places the airport, the hotel, the market whatever, but what personally when I wanna learn language I really want to focus on what really interests me and not what kind of interests me, what really interests me. For example topics that I’m really passionate about and also Vocabulary that I can really use in conversation with other people and if you do that you’re going to learn a language, I believe, more effectively, more quickly and you’re gonna be more passionate about it you’re gonna be more motivated while learning if you focus on learning using topics and chasing vocabulary, trying to learn things that you really want to say and that you really want to focus on. So there you go I hope this makes sense and well just noticed that like the lighting on my face is just like super weird but hopefully that won’t distract you and that’s it!
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So today I would like to talk about one big reason why I love learning languages a reason why I keep learning new languages and the reason is quite simple regardless of where you are language is freedom. Freedom. A few more free languages and this may sound cheesy to some people and if that’s ok but I’ll share a quick story essentially that will illustrate this.
In 2007 I went to Paris with my father and I was under the delusion that I could speak some French ok and if you don’t know yet a little bit of background on me, basically I was born and raised in Brazil so my first language is Portuguese, which essentially is not that far from French of course it’s still a completely different language but it still has the same roots, both come from Latin so you know, I was in Paris and I was just making an absolute fool out of myself trying to communicate because my levels very very low and I just felt like a complete idiot, embarrassed, especially because of the fact that you know, knowing Portuguese, I thought, well you know if I just spent some time trying to learn French I would think that I would progress quickly in the language and I would you know I couldn’t get around Paris that well, I was just struggling and would always have to ask people for help I made a friend who would speak English and French to just, you know, and we would go around… But it was just essentially… I had no freedom in Paris when I spoke no French.
So essentially that really triggered me to start learning French because they then at a time I just sort of fell in love with French culture and I started reading French books and so on, and it took me about four years to become fluent then my experiences in Paris and I went to Paris several times after that as well, they completely changed. Basically I had the freedom to go around Paris and communicate, but anyway I think that language this freedom. You can travel to different places and you know be more self-sufficient in those places. Essentially when you meet people who speak those languages wherever you are, it doesn’t have to be when traveling it can be in your own country you have more freedom in expressing yourself and I think that that’s it. That’s one gigantic reason for which I learn languages so good luck my friends learning a language.
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Today I’d like to talk a little bit about one of the reasons why I love learning new languages and essentially it’s to see the reaction of people when you speak their language. And it’s even… Usually you get a really good reaction even if it’s at a basic level, even if you say just a few words in that language, it’s really cool to see the reaction from people. And I’ve dabbled in a lot of languages, so as a result I know who say a few words in many, many languages, and of course that in several of these languages I can just really say a few words, or maybe a few sentences and then… Of course, other languages, I speak them at a basic level, and then some I speak at an intermediate level, then many at a fluent level. But even these languages that I can only really say a few words in, it’s so cool to see the reaction from people, people who have that language as their mother tongue when I speak to them, and that’s just such a rewarding thing. To just see the look on their faces of surprise: “Wow, you know a few sentences, you know a few words in my language” and especially if you can actually communicate a little bit, and let alone if you’re fluent, of course.
If you’re fluent, then people are just like: “oh wow, great!” But it’s… If you’re at a, you know, at a basic level and intermediate level or, like I said, even if you just know a few words or sentences it’s really, really cool to just see the reaction, the reaction you get from people and they’re like… Normally they’re just pleasantly surprised and sometimes they’re just like: “oh wow, that’s really cool, you appreciate my culture, you appreciate my language”… Because of course language is always tied to the culture, so it’s really neat to see that, you know, the look in people’s faces when you talk to them in their language.
I am blessed enough to just actually live in a pretty multicultural city like Vancouver, Canada, and so I have the chance to, you know, meet people from all over the world, people from many different cultures. So then, I have the chance to just actually approach people and be just like: “oh hey, I can say a few words in your language” and normally they’re very pleasantly surprised, and that’s… That’s really cool, and I think that even for people who don’t really plan on spending a ton of time learning a new language and mastering it, I think it’s actually so cool to just learn a few sentences, and you know, that’s just not gonna take you long. Get to a basic conversational level in a specific language and then go out, try to chat with people. I know that some people prefer to actually only have a conversation when they are at a pretty high level in the language. If that’s you, I respect that, that’s totally fine. I personally like actually having a chat even if I just know a few sentences or even a few words in the language, so I can get feedback from my pronunciation and you know on, whatever, grammar and whatever else, but so that’s what I like to do. So it’s kind of like a personal choice, really. If you like to do that, if you like to try to have chats right away, you can go ahead. If not, that’s totally fine well, but it’s a really cool thing, it’s a really rewarding experience to have a quick chat with people from a different place, you can speak with them in their language it’s quite awesome. So that’s one of the big reasons why I am quite driven to learn new languages and that’s it!
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So today I would like to share a story about language learning and I think it would be useful for anyone who wants to learn a language or is already learning a language. It is about a boy who started learning a second language at a language school and he didn’t think he was good at learning languages. He never felt that talented it always took him a while to learn new words and to learn the grammar, but he was a good student. He tried to do his homework, he would go to school and try to pay attention to the teacher (as much as possible, of course) and he started learning that second language when he was 10.
After about four years of school and doing his homework he tried to already have a conversation in that language but it was still pretty tough, like, his understanding wasn’t that great and that’s after four years of trying to learn the language, ok? And he never felt that great at it, he thought he was terrible at learning languages, but he kept going. He kept going and kept learning that language, he kept taking his course. Once he was done the whole program, he actually moved to that country and took him another two years to actually become fluent, so in total eight years to learn how to speak the language well and then he was finally fluent in it and he thought to himself: wow! That took forever. Can I… is there any way that I can learn a language faster?
So he started learning other languages and his third language actually only took him four years to become fluent in, so he shortened that time in half, right? Because first it took him eight years to learn that second language then he kept going. He kept learning languages simultaneously and then he’d become fluent in about three years and then in shorter amount of time, progressively shorter.
So he went from being terrible at learning languages to actually becoming good at learning languages in a way, because he was able to actually become fluent faster in those languages. He was able to learn vocab faster, more efficiently, he was able to have better pronunciation quicker and essentially learn quicker. He was more motivated, too. So how did that happen? Well, with all that experience, making mistakes, right? Essentially with a learning process he figured out ways to learn effectively and that boy is me.
It took me eight years to learn English and become fluent in it and of course I still have an accent, my mother language is Portuguese and then I started learning German, French, and Spanish and I became fluent in all of those and I started learning more languages and I have good news for everyone who thinks that they’re not great learning languages. You can overcome that! You can overcome that but the great thing too is that you don’t need to take as long as I needed to overcome that idea that you’re not that great at learning languages.
And why is that? What’s the shortcut? Well, today there are a lot of polyglots, people that speak multiple languages. They want to share their ideas with you and their methods and essentially ways to learn a language more officially. I’m one of them you can subscribe to my blog, I hope you do, and you can actually learn how to learn a language more effectively. So you don’t have to go through what I think that me and most other polyglots went through which was, essentially, not know how to learn a language and take a lot longer with that, and back then, when I started learning languages I didn’t, I didn’t have that!
The focus of my teachers, although many where excellent teachers, was just to teach the language but not teach people how to actually learn them. So that’s it, that’s the shortcut! Get the advice of polyglots on how to learn a language faster and more effectively that way you’re gonna become good at learning languages then you can learn as many languages as you want. And you’ll be more motivated too, because you’re going to be progressing quickly, which is great. So good luck my friends learning a new language!