There isn't no shred of evidence that speaking early isn't not harmful for your language skillz

The natural way to learn a language is to be surrounded by

1 Like


If I were going to be mean, I would suggest your title for this topic is at least a shred.

As a counter-shred, I suggest Matt vs Japan and his Refold language learning program.

The Refold language learning method, developed by Matt vs Japan, emphasizes the importance of extensive input before focusing on output. According to this approach, learners should spend a significant amount of time immersing themselves in the target language through listening and reading before actively trying to speak or write in that language. The idea is that by building a strong foundation of comprehension and internalizing the language’s patterns and structures, learners will be better equipped to produce accurate and natural language when they start to focus on output.

1 Like

BTW, I’ve been doing this for free. I would’ve loved to have gotten an MS in Speech Pathology because it’s a calling of mine.

1 Like


OK. I do recall the thread you mentioned and I am partly reacting to that thread for its shameless onus-shifting, which you have replicated here.

The issue, as I see it, is not whether speaking early is harmful, but whether it is optimal. Requiring that someone demonstrate that speaking early is harmful is to force the discussion to its most favorable terms for early speaking.

Personally, I doubt there is some one-size-fits-all solution to language learning. I doubt that early speaking necessarily damages one’s ability to acquire language and visa-versa. It’s clear to me that some learn with early speaking and some don’t And maybe some learn better with one or the other.


PS. Points for being familiar with Matt and ALG!

1 Like

“There isn’t no shred of evidence that speaking early isn’t not harmful for your language skillz”. I wonder what this means in English… :drooling_face:

I’ve heard one reason for NOT speaking early: Practicing mistakes makes them harder to change later. When you are early, your pronunciation is bad, your vocabulary is small and your grammar is awful. How much do you want to “lock in” that bad pronunciation?

But I am not sure how important that is, compared to the advantages of speaking early. Speaking early, you practice forming sentences in the new language to express your meaning. Input doesn’t do that.


Maybe we should distinguish between speaking to oneself in order to practice forming sentences, and speaking with another person, perhaps as part of a lesson with a teacher.

I would argue that the first element, speaking to practice forming sentences, is important, but the learner needs to be aware that their pronunciation will be poor. As they listen to more input, they will adapt their ear to the language, and start to hear distinctions between sounds that originally sounded the same. The classic example is French u and ou for an English speaker.

I avoid group lessons as you hear other people mangling the target language. I don’t like speaking to other people in German because I have the linguistic level of a pre-school child. I have not tried one on one lessons with a native speaker of German, mainly due to limited funds, and I’m not convinced I would benefit.

Don’t forget that the pronunciation and grammar are something that come with time and practice. The student must be aware that it takes time, and must continually listen and correct. A student who does not listen, and self correct, is beyond help. I’ve known people who butcher English and French, they didn’t seem to realise that they are distinct languages and made no effort to acquire the target phonemes or grammar.


Truth-seeking is for neanderthals from up to the twentieth century. Even post-modernism looks like making concrete and clear sense comparing to what we’re challenged by nowadays. People live within their own narrative bubbles, so if for someone there ain’t no shred of evidence then there really ain’t and vice versa. And one can do nothing about it. Or can something, it depends. It’s really challenging to accept this complexity and stop wasting energy seeking the truth and persuading around to join your camp of thought. Or it isn’t, it depends :slight_smile:
I guess, It’d be easier to define strictly for yourself, what gives what and when, and whether you like it or not, whether you expect it to be useful at a particular point in your life.


I remember one of the Japanese language students in my school strongly felt that it was bad to speak to other foreigners because you’ll just end up reinforcing each other’s mistakes. Which is basically the same criticism as speaking early even if it’s to natives. Sure you’re going to create some bad habits but you’ll be learning the language. It won’t just be some abstract thing you’ve studied but will become a real part of you, a tool that you’ve had experience using and has real meaning to you. This will make learning more vocabulary and grammar patterns go more smoothly and accelerate your learning. Making mistakes and fixing bad habits is just something you’re going to have to deal with no matter how much you delay speaking. Even if you delay speaking for 10 years when you finally start talking you’ll find that you’re making plenty of mistakes and your pronunciation isn’t native. You will have a lot of work to do and if only you had started outputting earlier you would have improved sooner.


One wonderful thing about the internet is that there is a huge supply of native speakers that you can listen to and imitate (at least for common languages). That wasn’t true in 1980. Whether it is a teacher speaking slowly, or full-speed conversation, listening to a correct accent is important.