What I learned about good language learning strategies

According to the course I’m taking at Arizona State University, these are the strategies good language learners use that lead to ACQUISITION

in addition to getting lots of comprehensible input—

  • Practicing
  • Asking questions
  • Taking notes
  • Preparing – thinking about what one wants to communicate in advance
    *Using physical response – relating new information to a physical action
    *Playing – experimenting with language
    *Monitoring – correcting one’s own speech for accuracy
    *Using imagery – relating new information to a visualization
    *Finding the answer in multiple ways
    *Predicting – using social and contextual clues to guess at the topic
    *Using selective attention – paying attention to only what seems important
    *Looking ridiculous – being willing to look foolish in order to complete the task

Pretty comprehensive, but anything you would add to this list?


As a teacher I would say - very good recommendations!
I could add only some nuances:

  • a gradual study of the most important Grammar aspects - conjugation, declension, some phrasal verbs or set expressions.
  • review from time to time new words using selective arrention, it means paying attention only to the words which are more usual and more interesting for you.
  • retelling the gist of the most interesing podcasts of the target language.
  • using on the inital level a lot of everyday topics and dialogues as a base for more difficult listening and reading.
  • to be persistent, patient, and not to be in a hurry.

Find ways to use the target language in your everyday life to describe what you see, have, want, think about, are doing. (Write about what you do and say out loud what you are doing.) I started my Russian journey this way and it has been THE most effective way I have learned any language because it enables me to get in a LOT of practice during the day. (Yes, I do speak out loud to myself!) This can be done at any and all levels of learning. The first phrases I learned in Russian were, I have, I see and and I want. I then learned a lot of common nouns that were in my environment so that when I saw them on a walk, I would describe whatever I was seeing : I see a white house. I see a dog, etc. I also play a game with numbers when I drive on a country road with little or not traffic: I say out loud whatever number I see on the road: whether a road sign, number at a gas station, price in a store sign, whatever. The point is to say it quickly while I am looking at it. In this way I became better at numbers in Russian earlier than I ever did in the other languages that I learned in more conventional classroom settings. Another advantage is that I am NOT translating in my head in English when I speak Russian because I have loads of practice describing my everything environment, something that took me way longer in the other languages that I know. This occurred despite the fact that Russian has significantly harder grammar than any language I have learned previously! Thus, for me, learning Russian is not something that I only do at my desk. I USE it throughout the day!


Yes, that’s a good method.
Quite a long time ago I started my English with the decribtion the items I see in my room, then my actions that day, the day before; after that my feelings and my emotions.
But reading about the traditions in the coiuntry of your target language, the history of this country or these countries, is also very importtant and can encourage you for studying more and more.
Tracey, you can know more about Russia using from the Russian library here my courses “День за днем”(167 текстов) and “Стpаницы истории России” (24 текста).
Good luck!

Hi there,
Thanks for the suggestions and recommendations for the language learners.

That’s another post like that, so I guess it’s time to ban him? ( I mean post with no real value just to add that link, whatever it is)

Evgeny, I agree about looking at interesting content about the countries where the language is spoken. This connects the language to the people, the culture, the history. (By the way, I am an anthropologist so you are – as we say in English – “preaching to the choir” – that is, saying something in which I wholeheartedly believe from the outset!) At first, I could only read (and translate) a line or two from a newspaper, cartoon, documentary film or website of a cultural institution (for example of the Hermitage). Even if I learned only a few new words that were of interest and useful to me at the moment I was looking at the content, it was valuable. Moreover, the varied contexts – often with photographs – made it easier to remember new vocabulary. I have enjoyed your lessons on Lingq, by the way, and recently learned about the geographic regions in Russia and then went on-line to explore further and see photographs of the places you mentioned. This in turn reinforced what I had read in your lesson and of course I saw some of the same vocabulary. I have never been bored or reached a plateau because I have always gotten content from all kinds of sources which keeps the learning process fresh and self-motivating. Also, I like the recent addition of brief news items in Russian. These would have been too difficult for me when I was starting out, but I can now handle a short paragraph about something that is currently in the news.

Sounds to me you just list all extern things you can do. Haha doing the list is a complete method in itself :d