I don't know if this will help anyone else but

I just finished reading Steve’s “The Linguist Blog Book” and it really answered a lot of my questions about how to use LingQ. After reading the book I realized that I might have been placing a little too much emphasis on grammar instead of reading, listening and trying to internalize the language. It gave me a bit of a new perspective on language learning and some good ideas on Steve’s language learning philosophy.

Anyway, for new people like myself it might be helpful to check it out early in your LingQ adventure.

ya…I think Steve’s book helped me to rethink language learning. Acquiring a new language and becoming proficient in it is a long process from my own experience of learning English. I think my high school ESL and English classes had failed me big time. We did so much grammar exercises it’s just unbelievably boring. Novel studies, however, helped me tremendously. And newspaper reading of course.

I think once we have some basics we can jump into reading newspaper articles. It’s tons more enjoyable than doing exercises and you get more out of it (in terms of critical thinking). But there are languages that require more emphasis on grammar, such as French. But that can be gained slowly by reading.

Another thing I really hate during ESL days is how the grammar books give you names for grammar rules. Well, in my opinion, it’s a major distraction. And what you really want to know is how the phrases are structured…I don’t really care about rules since the point is about communication first and the rules will follow once communication becomes a habit. That’s my personal experience anyways.

I agree, and I think that point is made very well in the book. I never really thought about it the way Steve put it. I don’t know all the grammar rules in English, but since it is my native language and I use it all the time in reading, speaking, and listening, the grammar just comes naturally. So it only makes sense that when learning a new language, tons of exposure to the usage of the grammar will help you internalize everything without having to break it down like a math equation.

Basically, it made me just decide to stop overthinking grammar and just try, for at least the forseeable future, to learn the grammar naturally through exposure to the language.

But when I’m writing essays for university it’s a whole different case. Those people are so picky about grammar and they’ll make you suffer (in terms of grades) if you make “ESL mistakes”…But ya, for my language learning I don’t think being complete flawless in grammar should be a goal at all since it’s a hobby and not a academic pursuit; and secondly the opportunity cost of “perfecting” a language is higher than just being able to communicate effectively, which is just good enough for me at this stage lol

ya, I remembered I used to ask my English tutor questions about certain grammar rules and she was like “…not sure, this is just the way use it” lol…So I guess, you don’t really NEED an explanation for how the language works (that’s reserved for the trained linguists) but it’s just the way it works :wink:

Right, well you know I also don’t understand why so much emphasis is put on grammar for ESL people anyway. It seems like, although I could be wrong, there is a heavy emphasis on these types of mechanical things instead on peoples conversational ability. It’s been said numerous times that the purpose of language is effective communication and especially in an ESL situation I would think there would be a much heavier emphasis put on conversational ability and listening comprehension. Mostly because I don’t remember the last time I went into a business and had a conversation with someone using our grammatically correct writing skills. I mean, what is the use of being able to write a 3,000 word paper with perfect grammar if you get lost speaking and listening at conversational speed? Once I can communicate effectively and at a normal speed I could see pursuing a more deep understanding of the underlying grammar rules to enhance my writing ability or whatever. On that same note I think this is part of the problem with language learning in Asia, well specifically Korea because I’ve spent three years there. In Korea, in order to get a good job you need to have outstanding TOEIC scores. Well, I’ve met people with extremely high test scores that cannot have more than a very basic, I mean less than intermediate level conversation. In Korea, the only people I met that could really communicate effectively in English had either been educated abroad or spent a significant amount of personal effort learning the language much the way Steve pointed out in the book. The one thing Steve mentioned that I think might be slightly inaccurate in the case of Koreans is when he said only people who want to learn will learn. Well, I can honestly say that in my experience there people very much wanted to learn English but they were still not good at it even with the countless hours they spent in after school programs and English tutors. I don’t know exactly what the problem is there, I suspect it is the method of teaching and the fact that it is kind of a cultural taboo to challenge elders even if they are wrong. So it might just be that they are going in circles with the way they learn English or something.

I agree. A lot of language teachers seem to treat language learning like any other subjects such as math, physics, chemistry so on. But I think testing and re-testing is quite ineffective for language learners because it puts them into a mindset that if you got a perfect score on your test that means you’re good at it but nothing can be so far from the truth. Language learning is much like playing sports: you just have to practice and practice on a consistent basis while looking for things to keep your interest high.

Also, to be fair, I think the English learning environment isn’t as ideal as, like say, immigrants in N. America. It’s much easier to pick up accents and such by watching stupid programs on TV (I remembered I started by watching Digimons: Digital Monsters on YTV) . But then again that was before, with Youtube and internet radio stations you can pretty much be in anywhere around the world and not having to be there physically, so to speak.

just to be clear…

“…the Enlgish learning environment in East Asia* isn’t as ideal as, like say, the learning environment for immigrants…”