Does language learning exclude essentialism

I listened to a video about essentialism and wondered if it could be applicable to language learning or if the two are mutually exclusive.

I personally do think essentialism does not work for language learners. Language learning is like treasure hunting, if you don’t know, what you are hunting for, as language is incredibly vast. Not only are there many different aspects of the language but with the www content equals too much choice. When I look at polyglots they tend to have extensive physical libraries additionally.

What do you think? Is there anyone here, who tries to limit their input to just “essential” stuff, and if so: how do you decide what to study?

When I read your post I immediately though that there are too many interpretation of what the word “essentialism” could mean, so for convenience I attach here one definition. I believe that pragmatism applies better to languages.

From Britannica definition:

Essentialism, In ontology, the view that some properties of objects are essential to them. The “essence” of a thing is conceived as the totality of its essential properties. Theories of essentialism differ with respect to their conception of what it means to say that a property is essential to an object.

The concept of an essential property is closely related to the concept of necessity, since one way of saying that a property P is essential to an object O is to say that the proposition “O has P” is necessarily true. A general but not very informative way of characterizing essential properties is to say that a property is essential to an object if the object cannot lack the property and still be the object that it is. Properties of an object that are not essential in this sense are said to be accidental.

Thanks for the definition. If this is what Safran meant then I am very confused.


Sorry if the thought is confusing. I simply meant essential in the “purest sense” of the word, namely what is very important to a person.
Let me rephrase my question: can we merely learn with the essential content for us, like eg History topics AND moreover can we limit input not only by topic but also in its amount. Hope that clarifies things, and I admit it’s a very philosophical approach to overflowing content cues :wink:

Thanks for the information. I think that when learning a foreign language sometimes it is necessary to move towards essentialism, because sometimes it is very difficult to understand a rule or remember a phrase. On the website Long And Short test questions and answers | Get Access To Long And Short Flashcards and exam tests when I found solutions to some tasks and tests in linguistics, I realized that sometimes simplifying the task leads to better performance. The same applies to learning a foreign language.