Effective language learning – just listen and read.

I agree largely with Krashen, and Kato Lomb, the legendary Hungarian polyglot. Input is the key to language learning success. It takes commitment, discipline and curiosity. It is very rewarding. Here I talk about this in three languages.

Chinese Japanese English

11 thoughts on “Effective language learning – just listen and read.

  1. Dear Steve, I want to share a though that has occurred to me recently. Not particularly related to these videos. I???m 27 and though it is not common to respect older people these days (as it used to be), I think the other way around.You, David Allen (the creator of the GTD method), Brain Tracy (very influential business and personal couch, a millionaire if I remember correctly) are all at the age of 66-67.It is very interesting that you all have much in common: successful, happy and robust men. It must be awesome to be so energetic being 66.I want to be like you when I???m your age ??? not sitting in front of the telly and watching stupid soaps that make you dumb and obtuse.That???s it! Just a personal kudos!

  2. COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT you idiot! Not translated, incomprehensible.You DISAGREE largely with Krashen and Kato Lomb.Krashen and Lomb DISAPPROVE TRANSLATING.

  3. Dear Mr.Kaufmann! At last I have dared to write to you! Thank you so much for your great work on demystification of the language learning process.As many of my friends I have been unsuccessfully trying to learn English all of my conscious life (for more than 20 years). For me this process was always ???a long and winding road??? of endless grammar rules and drills, without even a slight hope of achiving a level of fluent understanding and enjoying the language in the future.But everything changed about a year ago, when I discovered for myself Lingq and your YouTube channel. In fact it was one phrase from your book, that made a Revolution in my mind. In the beginning of the book you simply advice everybody to read it, even it would be the first serious English book in their life. I followed your advise, though I didn???t believe that I could do it. I have read the book and several times listened the audiobook. And it was like a breakthrough for me. I have suddenly felt that I CAN DO IT!Since that I have listened to all of your audios and videos, I began listen to different audiobooks and podcasts that interested me. Now I am interested in different approaches to language learning, especially in such prominent authors as M.Brown, S.Krashen, J.Asher. Especially I am fascinated by the ALG-method of Dr. J.-M.Brown. In fact it is a first practical academic application of Dr. S.Krashen???s ideas about input-based method of language learning. I think the ideas of this method is quite similar to your???s. In the past you have devoted several of your videos to the different aspects of Dr. S.Krashen???s method.Could you devote some of your future videos to the analysis of the ALG-method (www.algworld.com). By the way there is several fine YouTube videos on this topic performed by David Long (www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Vg2Eh2LOSE).Thank you so much and waiting for your responseAndrew Lassota, Poland

  4. Andrew,Thank you for your interesting comment. I don’t know the details of the ALG method,but a lot of what David Long says, I agree with. Understanding is the foundation, drills and exercises are boring and not necessary, and mot adults in language classes do very poorly. I also think that LingQ is an application of this approach.Cheers.Steve

  5. I generally agree, but one thing that I would add (that I suspect you may disagree with) is that I definitely encourage people to start talking with native speakers (generally via skype with people you find via language exchange sites like italki and the mixxer) as soon as possible, and I also disagree with people who claim that doing so is somehow damaging or will hurt you. Take the Spanish, for example, that you just spent the last hour learning during your first ever lesson and get on a skype call with a native speaker who’s already at a somewhat advanced level with their English (so that they’re perfectly happy with 98% of the call being in English, which it inevitably will be) and use it on them! Get feedback from them, they’ll tell you about your pronunciation, they’ll tell you about related phrases and alternate ways of saying what you said (e.g. you say "buenos dias, como est??s?" because that’s all you know, and they teach you about "qu?? tal" and "qu?? onda" and "en qu?? andas" and "buenas tardes" and "buenas noches" etc., etc., etc.): you’ll learn all sorts of things and it’ll be fun and interesting because you’re interacting with a real life native speaker and you’re learning about their culture and their language and this little session will give you a huge reason (massive motivation, so important in language learning!) to go back and learn more Spanish before your next session so that you can impress them with what you’ve learned in the meantime and are better able to communicate with your new friend!Definitely speak from day one if possible, preferably with a native speaker, but yes most of what you’ll be doing will and probably should be input, and the more of a beginner you are the more this will be the case. I find that, as an advanced Spanish learner, at this point the great majority of my Spanish learning takes place during skype calls with language partners, not while I’m watching Spanish-language TV shows or reading an article in Spanish.Cheers,Andrew

  6. I prefer meaningful activities with any language.I do not enjoy talking to people in a language where I have very limited vocabulary and very limited ability to say anything or understand anything. Once I have a sound basis in the language my ability to speak will improve with speaking. Until that point these painful attempts at discussion are largely a waste of time for me.Even at an intermediate level, I prefer reading and listening to speaking unless the conversation is meaningful to me. In other words I like meaningful activities, in my own language and in the language that I am learning.

  7. Oh I completely agree that it should be meaningful, I guess we just disagree on what qualifies as "meaningful", I personally think that everything I detailed above qualifies, specifically:"Get feedback from them, they’ll tell you about your pronunciation, they’ll tell you about related phrases and alternate ways of saying what you said (e.g. you say "buenos dias, como est??s?" because that’s all you know, and they teach you about "qu?? tal" and "qu?? onda" and "en qu?? andas" and "buenas tardes" and "buenas noches" etc., etc., etc.): you’ll learn all sorts of things and it’ll be fun and interesting because you’re interacting with a real life native speaker and you’re learning about their culture and their language"Not only that but I personally enjoy helping people out with their English, not only is it satisfying to know I’ve helped someone learn a foreign language but I also get the added benefit of learning how to <i>teach</i> a language and learning about how other people learn foreign languages, it gives me an outsiders perspective on that. Sometimes I’ll just tell my partner that I want to just do English for the entire call, usually because I’m tired and dealing with my native language requires less energy and effort than dealing with any other one. That’s me, though, and like you said, you don’t enjoy talking to people in a language that you’re still a beginner in, which is perfectly fine–something I emphasize to people is that different things work to differing degrees for different people and the best method for one person isn’t necessarily the best for another, you kind of just have to experiment and see what’s best for you.I personally advocate speaking very early on, but I’ll be one of the first person’s to tell people that for some people this is not the best method and that they may very well be better served by doing input-only for the first 2 or 4 or 6 months a la Steve Kaufman or Ramses (Spanish Only / Language Dojo) or Iversen (HTLAL forums). Different things work for different people, and one of the most valuable qualities of a teacher is realizing this and encouraging students to find out what works best for them instead of trying to force everyone into the same mold.Cheers,Andrew

  8. I am proof that the input method works extremely well. My first language was German and when I moved to the states, my mother had me watching Sesame Street to learn English.Even though I was still speaking German for a little while, pretty soon – I was outperforming other students in school when it came to reading and grammar. You have to put the information in first in order to be able to use that information later. This approach is much better than just parroting phrases.Thanks for the post!

  9. Hi Steve !Have you read The Word Brain (A short guide on language learning) ?It supports your views on language learning.You can download it on http://www.thewordbrain.comThe micro edition (1 page) says it all but more information is given in the 70-page edition. I am a fan, keep up the good work.

  10. @ SteveALG "Automatic Language Growth" is a language teaching and learning method that was (AFAIK) developed by some expats in Thailand; it is taught by pairs of teachers to a class of students, all in the target language. At the beginning, students just watch and listen to the teachers interact. Soon, they can answer teacher requests like "put your hands up" and later "arrange yourselves in order from shortest to tallest", without producing speech at the beginner level. The people that follow this method say it produces very native-like speakers. To me the disadvantage is I need to take that class; I prefer to surround myself with the right input.re: ???????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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