What You Need to Begin Learning a Language

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Image by Johan Klovsjö

Once you have chosen a language that you want to pursue you just need a direction to go. And to choose that direction there’s honestly only 3 things you need to really get started. Motivation, a framework, and a course.

1. Belief

Ok, I lied. You need four things. Belief is what its all based on.

And I’m not talking about some fluffy “you can do it”. Believe in yourself.

I’m talking about you have to get it in your mind that there are people like you, at your age, with similar situations that have learned a language. Therefore there is 0 reason you should not be able to.

Without that basic belief you’ll never really get anywhere.

Think of the belief as the engine to your language learning. Without that engine, you car for learning is not gonna go anywhere

2. Motivation

If the belief was the engine, then the motivation would be the gas.

Is it possible to keep going learning without the motivation? Yes, you could also drive a car on E using nothing but fumes and gravity. Eventually once you reach the bottom of a hill, you’re gonna need something to get over that next hill.

One of my favorite ways to build up my motivation is to watch or read something in the language I’m learning for fun. I may not get everything, but I get the majority to understand and enjoy.

When I wasn’t quite at this level I would watch youtube videos or read the blogs from my favorite language learners. Such as Steve Kaufmann, Moses McCormick, Luca Lampariello, Benny Lewis, Khatzumoto.

Steve Kaufmann

Benny Lewis & Moses McCormick

3. Framework

What’s a framework? A framework is just a set of confines that you work within.

Some examples of frameworks would be these:

  • Immersion
    • This is when you go to a foreign country, or possibly go to a area with a large number of native speakers of your language in your home country. Then you live there for a while and constantly interact in that language.

      Due to constantly being able to use the language and hearing it from natives is supposed to accelerate the speed in which you learn. It also has the effect of hearing it real-time with all the native slurring and speed.

      This framework an frustrate some learners and not being able to understand a large amount of what they’re hearing.
  • Faux Immersion
    • This is like the opposite of actual immersion. Rather than going to where the language is being spoken, you bring that language to you in the form of native media. You keep the native media constantly in your mind through different methods such as: changing phone to your language, only watching tv in your language you’re learning, reading only in that language, music only in that language.

      This framework, like actual immersion, can frustrate some learners, and also accelerate the learning speed. The speed and slurring are probably worse because native speakers will typically cater to a second language learner.
  • Class
    • This is a class. You do what the teacher says and do the homework that’s required. The teacher may require extra things outside of class.

      The quality of the framework and quality of instruction varies wildly between teacher to teacher due to teaching ability, teaching effort, class composition, chosen coursework.
  • Course Only
    • This is where you pick up a textbook or self-learning language book and you read it and do the exercises. You essentially are the teacher for yourself this time

      The quality varies from course to course. It would be entirely subjective however. What is a great method for one may be terrible for another and vise versa.
  • Software
    • This is the Rosetta Stones and LingQs of frameworks. These companies have spent countless hours developing a system of learning that is supposed to speed up the acquisition of a language.

      Like a course the quality varies and is subjective.

 4. Course

What a course simply means is a course. It can be within a class or it can be just a self study book/online program. Really, anything that has a beginning and end with incremental guided steps would be what I consider a course.

Now a course doesn’t have to last for the life of your learning. It could be as simple as a 15 page intro. But from zero knowledge, a course is going to be necessary. How in depth is completely based on the learner.

700 Words. That is all you need to know to get started. The most important and hardest step is just to get started. The reason for this is usually a lack of belief.

You can do it. I did it. Millions of people in the world did it.

It’s not easy, but it’s simple.

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