Break through

I had something very interesting happen to me today. While I was volunteering at some place I volunteer once in a while I got to spend some time with a young guy who I found out came from Germany after one hour of working with him. He had a slight accent so I asked him if he was born in Canada and he said he was German and had been here for one year. I was shocked at how good his English was.

The other thing that surprised me was what I was able to say to him, never having spoken to a tutor before. Things just popped into my head and I knew a lot more vocabulary than I thought. He only corrected me a couple times and they were for little things like I said "hast du geschwestern and he said geschwister. And I struggled with expressing myself in a few other ways but was really surprised at how well I did with only reading and listening to beginner 1 and 2 stuff hear at lingQ.

I’m not trying to boast, I’m just reassured at what steven krasen said about language learning and how speaking “emerges” after acquisition. For me this was a little break through and I just thought I would share this with other LingQers out there.

That’s fantastic. Especially if you’ve only been using LingQ for a month or so. And sounds like phrases are already coming out quite automatically. I’m also learning German, at Beginner 1/2 level (though I also listen to intermediate podasts for a challenge) so great to hear about your ‘real-world’ breakthrough.

Well to be honest, I’m a false beginner. As you can tell by my stats, I knew over 1000 words in one week and am still running into different versions of verbs that I count as words known. I move highlighted words over slowly, I’m not in a hurry and I often have to re-highlight words I’ve forgotten. I’ve been dabbling in German on and off for a while but lingQ has really made a big difference in my learning. I really enjoy the reading, listening format and bought a 6 month membership so I’m going to make the most of it.

My goals are to listen to an hour daily, and to make 100 lingQs a day. I’m
surprised the lingQ goal per day are so low. With many of my lessons, I’m lingQing 20 or more a lesson, more than the daily goal. I’ll be on beginner for a while as there seems to be so many new words that keep popping up. I tried intermediate and then quickly went back to beginner with my tail between my legs.

What works for me is to just relax, do things I like doing, not pressure myself to much and find some speakers with nice voices, which really goes a long way as beginner content can only be so interesting. However some of the lessons that are humorous for beginners are pretty good, like the course I’m reading now.

I did think your activity level was impressive for that amount of time! Perhaps we’re around the same level as I guess I’m a false beginner too. I had weekly lessons with a tutor over several months around 2 years ago, but did virtually no study between lessons so it was really more like poking in a toe. My husband is German and back then I was learning mostly to be able to speak to my mother-in-law during an upcoming visit. But I was pretty slack.

This year I suddenly became passionate and the experience has been so different. I started with LingQ late February and think it has made a big difference with my German (especially comprehension - my husband has noticed this too). I count all versions of words too, but I think I know more (passively) than my known words count indicates. I have no idea how much more though. I find it takes ages to get my words to known by just doing the LingQs of the Day… not sure if this is how most people do it. But like you, I tend not to just make words ‘known’ unless I am really really sure.

So you are doing up to 5 lessons a day? And then you would listen to all those 5 lessons that day over your hour?

I find at the moment that doing a few different lessons at different at a time is working for me. So I’ll do some simpler ones like the beginner 2 dialogues from Ab Jetzt Lerne Deutsch Private, combined with the conversational ‘German LingQ’ podcasts (Intermediate 1/2). I don’t easily understand the intermediate ones at all but if I listen to them over and over, especially after lingqing, maybe after half a dozen times or so I can pick out sentences here and there, and after while get the meaning of most sentences, even if not every word.

With some of the intermediate podcasts, I am creating 100-200 lingqs (with say 30-40% new words), so I agree 20 seems low! But then I think this is really high ratio of new words that maybe wouldn’t even be recommended. But for me, I would rather work my way through slowly, then listen to 10-minute natural conversation on a more interesting topic 30 or more times, than a really simple lesson with slow speaking 10 times (I find the latter is too painful!). But that is just me.

I think you are right that just not pressuring yourself is the key. I think I don’t feel pressured with the intermediate because I think of Steve’s podcasts where he describes just working away through his Korean podcasts, even if he only understands 30%. Plus I can see how much more I can understand just by listening to a podcast numerous times, so it feels like there is progress even if the first time I might only understand 10%. I might listen to a long (i.e. 10-minutes plus) for several days or even a week, then still come back to it. Anyway, each to their own but just to say you might be surprised how much you COULD understand with the intermediate podcasts if you kept listening to them? For me, the more interesting content definitely helps keep me motivated to listen over and over, and somehow I also think the more natural rhythms and speech of the conversation keep me more interested over the long haul.

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Wow, I just had something else very interesting happen to me. I just watched this soap opera made for beginners “Deutsch Lernen Extra auf Deutsch” on you tube and was blown away how easy it was to follow. The last time I watched it I was constantly stopping it and typing the words in google translate.

And since then I haven’t been actively learning German, just looking at the odd video on language learning. The only serious language learning I’ve done since then was on lingQ. It’s absolutely amazing at how as little as an hour or so a day of listening and reading can increase your understanding.

@freespirit
Thanks for mentioning “Deutsch Lernen Extra auf Deutsch”, I’ve been watching it and it’s very rewarding to realize that I understand almost everything. I see you have 1821 known words, about 200 more than I have, which would place us on the same level, I am curious, can you keep a conversation?

I watched the 30 episodes of “Extra English” with my daughter 2 years ago, and we had a lot of fun with it.

I didn’t know there were other languages. I’ll take a look at it!

As far as I know there are English (30 episodes), French, German and Spanish (with 13 episodes).

Extra English
Extra en français
Extra en español

@ mfr
I can’t say how well I would be able to “hold” a conversation as I haven’t spoken to a tutor here yet and have only said a few things to the random Germans I’ve come across. I imagine I would struggle quite badly at the moment and would prefer if I had more writing practice and more of a chance to build up my vocabulary.

Thanks, Vera!

@freespirit , ok! that makes me feel a bit better (or no so bad!) :slight_smile:

I just looked at my stats and I was mistaken. Since I started I’ve averaged around a half hour a day. I’m all over the place, sometimes listening and reading for 2 hours a day and then miss the odd day etc. I better try to be more consistent. :wink: