ПОЧЕМУ Я НЕ СТИВ КАУФМАНН? (Why I am not Steve Kaufmann?)

This is my article about the methods of language learning.
I tell about the similarity and the difference of my method and Steve Kaufmann’s method.
But in any case, I wouldn’t like to underestimate the method of Steve Kaufmann.
I appreciate him deeply as a unique and very interesting person and a great linguist, but it doesn’t disturb me to have my own method of language study.
It would be interesting to me to have any feedback about my article.
Here is the Link to the Russian version:


Will there be a version in English or German? I’d like to read it, but I doubt my passive comprehension of Russian could be enough to understand this article.

I would be happy to correct and record an English version, if someone else wants to try to translate.

Evgueny, if you rewrite this article in German, I would correct it and we could make a German podcast together from it. I would be very interested to listen to this topic - but I don’t understand Russian.


@evgueny40 - Frankly, I sincerely found your article very interesting and well-written. You begin by stating that you are in 80% agreement with Steve, and strongly support his system. You summarise your main points at the end, which I especially like. If I understand the gist of what you said correctly, I would disagree with you on one minor point – I wouldn’t like LingQ to be described or advertised as an online/internet(?) school, but that is my preference.

You mentioned Steve’s preference of beginning to talk only after several months of reading and listening. In contrast, you say that you prefer to start speaking right away – though there’s no rush(?). Actually, I see merit in both positions. If I attempt to have a conversation at this stage of my learning, I do in fact get all tongue-tied, and flounder. My vocab and range of expression is limited, plus it’s a strain for both sides. I, too, would find the experience more positive and enjoyable if I wait. Sometimes it’s fun to say a few greetings or simple expressions to native speakers.

No one understood my initial attempt at ordering a coke the other day in Mandarin, but on another occasion I was able to befriend some women from overseas seated near me in a coffee shop. I could only say basic stuff in Mandarin, such as saying I’m sorry, I can speak a little Mandarin, but it isn’t very good. I had practised that too well perhaps, as one woman immediately began to rapidly speak to me! We spoke of our common ground of being mothers with love and concern for our children, and thoughts about our materialistic society and so on – with the help of one woman as a translator. Had I never befriended them and tried out some Mandarin, I would have missed out on this exhilarating experience.

Similar to you, I like to talk aloud to myself from the beginning, repeating everything I hear as much as possible – and I can notice progress.

I see the merit in the article of your idea of the beginner creating a database of some 500-600 words (language core) and doing some elementary grammar in the early stages, not just reading interesting topics. I think we need both.

Thanks for this interesting article! By the way, I’ve never learned Russian – that’s the beauty of the internet! :slight_smile:

By the way, I forgot to mention your little mistake, which Gintaras also points out on the Lithuanian forum: you should say “I would not like to underestimate Steve Kaufmann’s method.”

@LingQ - the wonderful LingQ resources and tools here at our disposal means a novice can translate up to 95% of a text in an unknown language!

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Thank you for your good words and for your pointing of my type mistake. I’ve corrected it.
But how can you understand my article (Intermediate II by the level!) without knowing of Russian?!..
The Lingq resources are even richer than I could suggest!..
About speaking: of course you can’t speak fluently after 3 weeks of studying, but you can’t speak fluently and after 6 months when you speak for the first time.
Speaking hardly depends directly of the number of words that you know.
In speaking we are really similar to babies who start to talk - first words will be always difficult und clumsy, but if after first words the second, the third ones follow, so finally the hundredth words would be fluent and skilled.
@ Fasulye, Mikebond, Keke
Thanks, I’ll think about the translation of the article into German and English.

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@evgueny40- Your article is very interesting. Definitely it should be posted in English version.
I agree with you that the first step of learning foreign language must be “the collection” of 500-600 basic words even
though the beginner is not interested in all of them. This motion that one should learn only words from texts which are
interesting to the student is very “american”. To have FUN, FUN, FUN :slight_smile: and study texts that are interesting all the time is just little naive. I also agree with you that some elements of a new language grammar ( maybe as you suggested , assembled in special lessons ) should be added to LingQ. I think you are right that the beginner of any foreign language should start speaking from the beginning. To wait 6 months and read/listen during that time “always interesting” :slight_smile: texts is just unnecessary.
Thank you for emphasizing that learning foreign language, although very rewarding, could be often a very hard and arduous process. I also like LinkQ for its innovative approach of learning foreign languages. Nevertheless some genuine enthusiasts, like you Evegueny, can help Steve to create even better method.

Ja zelaju Wam schastia i samych uspechow!!!

I very much enjoyed Evgeny’s article. I must say that having members of Evgeny’s quality at LingQ not only contributes a lot to our community, but also makes me happy. I have the feeling that many of the members of LingQ are people that I would like to invite home for coffee, or for dinner, so that we can discuss language learning, culture, travel, food and many other things of interest. I was able to do this with Evgeny on my last visit to St. Petersburg, and I definitely look forward to doing so again.

I would like to have a discussion with Evgueny, in both English and Russian, where we can discuss some of the issues he raised in his article. I would like to do this with a videocam, upload the video to my YouTube channel and also upload these as lessons in LingQ.

There is no reason why Evgeny and I have to agree on all aspects of language learning. In fact as they say in French “vive la difference.” We can all find the approaches to language learning that suit our inclinations and follow them.

I am usually more comfortable waiting to speak until I feel I understand more of the language and have enough vocabulary to express myself. However if an opportunity arises where I meet a speaker of the language that I’m learning before I’m able to express myself, I will usually try to use what I have. These encounters are usually brief and sporadic. My main learning activity usually consists of listening and reading for quite a while. It is not so much question of what is “necessary” but rather what we like to do and what we find efficient in our language learning.

I don’t worry too much about the most common 500 or 600 words. These will actually appear often in my early listening and reading.

I don’t know if my approach to language learning is naïve or “American” (what ever that means), as Markc says. The fact is that listening to authentic content which is of interest, and to subjects that we are familiar with, has much more resonance than listening to subjects that are of no interest to us. I believe interesting texts engage us emotionally, engage more of the brain, and therefore are better for learning the language. Of course, at the beginning we do have to start with rather uninteresting texts since we know so little of the language. In the early stages our interest is sustained because we know so little of the language and we are struggling to understand. Once the strangeness of the language wears off, especially with the help of LingQ, we are able to move into subjects of interest. At least that is what I prefer to do, as soon as possible.

I do agree that a grammar overview is helpful at the beginning, but I am doubtful that it’s possible to retain much of the grammar rules and declension tables if we study them up front. I will admit that if I had the privilege of being in a classroom taught by Evgeny, he might be able to teach these rules to me in a way that would stick. Usually, however, I find that I have to revisit the grammar pages over and over again, and only with enough exposure do I start to remember and to notice different aspects of the grammar.

As to changes to LingQ, it should be remembered that LingQ is a community and in many ways a platform. Individual content providers can create lessons which cover grammar. Evgueny has done this for Russian, and other content providers have done this for other languages.


I started to translate a bit into English last night, I’ll finish this weekend (perhaps even this evening, if I have nothing else going on).

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I finished translating it into English. I was wondering if I could send it to you (Evgueny) in order to look it over to make sure I didn’t change any of your original meaning. You can email and I’ll send it to you.

Thanks, David!
I’ll write you my address.

David from the USA has made the English translation of my article. THanks a lot, David!
Now everyone who can’t read in Russian, but can read in English, is able to read it.
Here is the link:
Login - LingQ

I started to translate the article also into German, so maybe in 10 days you can read it in German as well.
Good luck, friends, with all your languages!

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Well done David! However…just a couple of teeny-weeny English errors…it’s important for me to point these out for the sake of English learners.

“For this reason I hope that Steve would think this over, and no longer abject to calling LingQ.com an original Canadian Internet school”. The correct word should be object, since there’s a huge difference in meaning between these 2 words.

“To me it would be very odd for a person to chose to study…” The word should be choose. Unless you say instead, “for a person who (whom) chose to study…” That’s actually how I read it in Russian the first time, not that I know Russian.

That’s all. Oh, and just a comment: Wow, do you say “…from the get-go” in America? In Australia, we say “…from the word go” (and without a hyphen). Interesting!

THank you for pointing these little mistakes.
I’ve corrected them.
That means that only the provider can correct something in the text.

No worries. I’m still getting the hang of LingQ.
It’s a good article in any language:)

Actually, a text can be corrected by anyone having obtained editing rights. As a matter of facts, I just corrected a small typo in this lesson (Linkqs → LingQs). It was interesting to finally be able to read this article in English!

I will be for three days on mini-holidays, but after return home, I will work on the correction of Evgueny’s German version of his language learning methods. Correcting texts in German (or Dutch) is routine work for me, I only hope that my voice will be stable enough during a reading session of such a long text. We will try this out.

Looking forward to this task,


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Thanks for the corrections! And yes, “from the get-go” is commonly used in American English (at least where I’m from). :slight_smile:

Meanwhile, Evgueny has translated his article “Why am I not Steve Kaufmann?” from Russian directly into German and I took my time to correct it and to style it so that it sounds natural German (not translated) and we will have a Skype appointment today to record me reading the article in German.

As soon as the German podcast “Warum bin ich nicht Steve Kaufmann?” is ready, I will post the link here in this thread.