Learn Languages Fast By Learning Slow - Steve Kaufmann

We need to be patient when learning languages. We will learn and forget, learn and forget over and over again. This isn’t a sign of failure but rather the natural way we learn new things. Relax into it and you will be successful.


For our native languages we actually fast track our progress by learning fast. I mean when I went to school, I listened to my teachers non-stop in Urdu from 8.00 AM until 1.00PM. Non stop language exposure. Then 3 hours of home work after school like reading a text in Urdu and answering text related questions.

The approach should be the same for a foreign language unless of course you have family responsiblities.

Why should I take 6 years to be a fluent reader in German when I can only take 3 years. More so with a tool like LINGQ (wink wink, free advertising, LOL). But for the right reasons.


I agree. I feel like I am in a race to become fluent. Always racing from one lesson to the next with a shallow understanding but not really absorbing the content fully. As Steve says, a relaxed mind absorbs more than a fretting and hurried mind (well he indicated that anyway!).


how do you study english ?
hello i am new here i am writing to you from translate :slight_smile: i am having a hard time learning english how do you do it? Are you progressing by just listening and creating lingq words you don’t know? how many hours do you spend a day can you help me :frowning:

I think there is a bit of both, however I can say I understand what Steve would like to convey. Something that I’ve been learning myself right now.

Taking your example, it is something that you could actually think about. Lots of exposure doesn’t mean knowledge. In fact, I’m sure you make mistakes in your language as well or you don’t know the complex structure of it. Especially if you want to start writing in a sophisticated way, unless you have decided to do so.
Even if you are good to do what I have just said, imagine your country or every country. The vast majority of the population have a poor knowledge of their own language and yet, they have been exposed all the time.

Exposure and quantity is not enough for everything.

I’m actually slowing down myself because I realise that I pay more attention on what I’m doing. That doesn’t really mean doing a lot less but just paying more attention.
If you read 1 million words with frenzy but 900k with more attention, the latter is better. Of course, you would say, I can do 1 million with the same attention as well.
Great, but with that racing philosophy you would try to do 1.1 millions and not 1.

Sometimes, it is just enough to turn the wheel a little bit slower and pay more attention to what we are doing. Of course, if we can do it and have the luxury to afford it.

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Choose beginner lessons (Mini Stories are a great choice!), and create LingQs for every word you don’t know. Don’t force yourself to remember the word when you create a LingQ yet.

When a yellow word (a LingQ) comes up, see if you remember what it means. If not, look again.

You will soon remember the most common words. Continue from there!

I tend to believe that that most children well before they hit puberty have a very strong active command of the core of their native language, and can both process it and produce it at high speed without thinking about grammar at all, with a strong intuitive grasp of structures and usage and both connotations and denotations, and cultural understanding, at a level to be greatly envied by most intermediate language students.

I guess my standards must be much lower? But I think the vast majority of even native 10 year olds would be very competitive in fluency in many ways with intermediate and advanced foreign language students, not to mention adolescents and older.

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Sure, but keep some numbers in mind: a young teenager will likely have more than 50,000 hours of communication in his native language behind him.

Where is the typical intermediate level adult learner? 1,000 hours?


In Sentence Mode I find repeating the sentence out loud several times, while visualizing the action or meaning, is very helpful. If the sentence is long, I break it down into clauses and phrases until I can put them all together. Great for pronunciation practice too.

Note that you can select a group of words (turn them blue), then click the speaker button (or press the S shortcut) and the app will speak only those selected words. However, don’t save those words as a LingQ, unless you want to.

I can get caught up in the “Why aren’t I better yet?” loop. I made good progress in the beginning stages. Now I’ve reached I1 in LingQ terms and I notice how much farther I’ve yet to go.

A discouraging thought.

So I’ve decided to let go and enjoy the process. My time on LingQ with my target language is a special time, a party to which I invited myself and was accepted as a guest.

I aim to make the most of it.


I’m theorizing here ok? I am in the over 8K camp on Portuguese(with easily probably 500 being acronyms and names) but I think I am not listening to enough audio. I have still been using LingQ but have missed some dailies and focused on Pimsleur for audio to repeat, even repeating some lessons. This may have cemented further some words I have used before or seen in articles. I find it has really helped firmly establish nos/mos pairings now.

What does your audio listening/oral practice look like? This may be what is holding you back. I feel somewhat less self conscious now about booking another tutoring lesson having had the audio side reinforced.

Absolutely, once you let go of worrying about how long it’ll take to get to ‘x’ level, the pressure will ease and you’ll start to enjoy it more. This acceptance is one of the hardest things to achieve IMO (I honestly don’t think you can even arrive at accepting it until you’re into a very solid intermediate, B2 type level, which is when you realise how much you still don’t know), but also one of the most important. It takes as long as it takes, and it’ll never end if your goal is to always be improving.

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