If you are trying to learn a foreign language, you are probably wasting your time. In this video I am going to explain why and what you need to do to actually get results and speak fluently.
My name is Mateusz and I am one of the co-founders of Taalhammer, which is an application for rapid language learning. I have spent the last 30 years learning and teaching foreign languages, and I see people making two fundamental mistakes.
Mistake number one in language learning
#1 – not using a repetition system.
Most of the things in a language should be repeated at least a few times at very specific moments. That’s the role of the repetition system. Otherwise you’re wasting your time because you simply forget what you’ve just learned and you struggle with the same things again and again, only losing your motivation and feeling embarrassed by your mistakes. Are you curious about how to battle the anxiety when speaking a foreign language?
Mistake number two in language learning
#2 – the exercises you do are too easy. I don’t know why, but I see this happening again and again.
Whether you’re using an app or working from a textbook, most of the exercises consist simply of choosing the right answer, or translating into your native language.
The real problem
This is fundamentally wrong. Because it’s easy, it doesn’t force your brain to work hard.
And what is even worse, many apps let you repeat these easy exercises way too often.
This creates an illusion of making progress because you score high, but when it comes to saying something in a real situation, you freeze and mumble something.
You simply can’t expect to produce speech fluently if you don’t do the hard memory workout in the first place.
Let’s be clear: you need to put your memory through hard training if you really want to learn a foreign language. You’ll have thousands of small language chunks (words, phrases and sentences) to repeat again and again till you gain language reflexes.
There is no other way to do it, because in order to speak fluently in a conversation you have to practice recollection of these language chunks so they come naturally with reasonable speed.
Don’t worry if that sounds overwhelming or demotivating.
It turns out there are many ways in which you can improve your repetitions without extra effort. Psychologists, linguists and neuroscientists have done thousands of studies over the years on how to learn, how to retain information, when our memory works best etc. We have described it in this article.
In Taalhammer we’ve put that knowledge into practice. We’ve spent countless hours testing all those methods and memory techniques first on ourselves and later on our users while we were building the Taalhammer app.