constant improvement without perfection

The following exchange was from our Forum at The Linguist. It might be of interest.

Question from Daniel Lautenbach, Germany.

“I think all of the above mentioned articles are very good. They explain the usage and the value of each single step of The Linguist system clearly. They are written in a highly motivating way. It is a perfect mixture of explanation, motivation, and marketing of your product and services. It also considers the basic purpose of your system: “Learning English without being forced to”.

The Linguist system has already reached a high level of professionalism. I would like to suggest two ways to improve your system further. I, and probably other students too, would like to get some more details on how to learn the huge amount of words The Linguist system recommends to learn. It is nearly impossible to click on a word, translate it, store it in the database, repeat all the words 10 to 20 minutes per day, and remember all the words and their meanings. Do you have special hints or advice on how to learn? “

My answer

“One of my principles of language learning is “constant improvement without perfection”. You will not achieve perfection so do not worry about it. Do not worry about the words you cannot remember. Just keep improving.

The goals that you set for yourself in The Linguist are meant to encourage good self-study habits. If you listen often, and read often and study words and phrases often, you will improve. You will become more observant of the key words and phrases that you need. You will notice them in different contexts. You will become more confident in using these words and phrases.You will start to use them naturally and almost unexpectedly.

But you cannot learn all the words and phrases that you are saving. The first time I save a word or phrase in another language, it just goes and sits somewhere in my brain, but I cannot retrieve it.?? It is only after repeated exposure to the word that I will actually be able to retrieve it, to remember its meaning and eventually to use it.

But it does not matter! Keep saving words and phrases. Keep reviewing words and phrases.As you see your statistics of saved words and phrases growing, you can feel proud and confident that you are improving your mastery of vocabulary. You have sent these little items into some part of your brain. Through continued exposure you will gradually improve your ability to retrieve them when you need them. Keep listening and reading and reviewing. Try to save a list of words and phrases and use them in writing and speaking. Let our tutors be your personal coaches for constant feedback, encouragement and advice.”

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