Spending your vacation in a foreign country is a great way to work on any elementary skills you may have in the language spoken there. Maybe you took Spanish in high school or college and are fairly rusty. How does the saying go? The first step is admitting you have a problem or something like that. They will probably repeat themselves slowly, or find a more easily understandable way to convey their message. This phrase will come in handy for any of those situations. Laws and social norms vary from country to country, but relieving yourself on the beach or in an alley is generally frowned upon.
That makes this question one of the more important on this list. These few words could save you from some nasty stares — or, you know, getting thrown in jail. Not only will you be less likely to get lost, but they may also know of a helpful shortcut. One of the most exciting parts of traveling is sampling new cuisines. This one is serious business. Nothing ruins a nice outing like your phone battery dying.
Unless… you make a new friend who happens to have their phone charger with them. Then all you have to do is know how to ask to borrow it. Hey, it could happen!
Everyone dreams of meeting an attractive and mysterious stranger abroad and instantly falling in love. Or is that just me?
Learners do have a pretty pragmatic approach when it comes to learning a language and walk pretty much in the same shoes like you. The fact that the brain has a special faculty for learning language that decays over time has been long established. Lamento decirle que tengo que posponer nuestra cita de hoy. Tip number 1 is so important. But this is about the point when I had an epiphany, changed my approach, and then succeeded not only in learning Spanish, but in getting a C2 Mastery diploma from the Instituto Cervantes , working as a professional translator in the language, and even being interviewed on the radio in Spanish to give travel tips.
I bit the bullet and learned all of the Joyo Kanji and then some when I was studying for 1kyu, and it was absolutely worth it. Kanji really start to pay dividends when you move on to more advanced vocabulary.
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The more words you learn, the more you start to get amassed in a sea of homonyms. And before you know it, the language just dissolves into a blurb of same-soundiness in your head. Since Kanji retain actual meaning, it becomes much easier to distinguish which word it is. The standard rote method of memorizing each character individually stroke for stroke is not it. Funny, in my own language learning I was always frustrated that I was force fed English transliteration as a method of learning grammar and new words.
I often found it easier to just think in terms of the native grammar. In my own mind I conceive of language as a serious of modular blocks that connect to each other to create meaning. Once you figure out something like Japanese uses SOV word order, it seems like a gigantic step backwards and a whole lot of extra work to start with an English sentence as reference and transliterate it into Japanese. Starting from very basic word order, not even advanced grammar. Thanks for all your posts on language learning, they are proving very encouraging for my situation: Do you have any suggestions for our particular case?
Also, I always try to do languages exchange with people speaking the language I learn, and learning the language I speak. Thanks for your post. Can you recommend any specifc programs or materials for Japanese, from which we can find one we love? If you have sometime next time, why dont you stop over to my restaurant in Tokyo would be honored to serve you, offcourse if you like Turkish food! You keep on impressing me; I love your style of accomplishing anything with a more time efficient system; you seem to be able to accomplish anything; I am so impressed and have been using your principles in my lifes mission of giving anyone and everyone a simple proven system to not only get the best body of their adult life; but lifestyle and life;.
So that they can be fully engaged and reach their true potential in all the major areas of their life with the most time efficient, results orientated program on the planet.
I love to do the same as you; please keep the vision of the better school systems; I would love to see a post on that topic to start to round up your team that may be able to help you. Keep up the great work; You have won me over as a fan, Tim. Steen the Chicago Kid. From what I gather from this, words is the most effective number of vocabulary to learn http: Chinese word frequency list ie most frequently used Chinese characters: By picking a subject matter, I browse websites and documents that are improtant to me.
Personal motivation goes a long way towards adherence and efficiency. It is important to remember that learning a language when you are a adult should not take years of theorical studies. The greater the efficiency, the greater the intensity of the learning experience.
Massive listening, reading and word review is the most efficient way to learn. Classes, grammar explanations, Rosetta Stone, and even having conversations before you have much of the language, is not efficient. The classroom is a low intensity language learning environment. Which I understood to mean focusing on important things first. To me this applies mostly to making sure that the content you are learning from is interesting and meaningful.
I would not worry too much about prioritizing words and structures to learn. The brain will figure that out, and shelve the odd low priority word that pops up. The point is that if you want fluency you need a lot of words, a lot, and you need a lot of input. It is best to stay with interesting content and you will learn, because you will be motivated to continue listening and reading.
You cannot learn from boring content. I agree wholeheartedly with Tim. If his previous one about mastering a language in one hour served more to attract the attention of people to the opportunities of learning languages, this article offers more concrete advice for the long haul. I would caution people about the 3 months. I am a good language learner. I have been studying Russian for over 2 years, and I have a ways to go yet. But it does not matter, I enjoy the process. That is the most important thing. The Michel Thomas and Pimsleur approach appear to be the most interesting. What advice can you offer, as a linguist who has spent 2 years with this language, to learning to read and understanding Russian.
Thank you for any advice you can offer and hopefully you can assist me with any curve balls you wish you had known when you started. Gives you a nice study list to practice. Actually, it would not be very helpful to translate the English word list for use in other languages. Because language is so culturally bound, each language will have a different word frequency list. So… if you are learning English as a second or foreign language, then by all means make use of the list of most common words in English.
It will not be so helpful for learning other languages. Here are the results:. Of the shared words, seven appeared twice. Of the shared words, two appeared three times. Most remarkable, of the shared words, three appeared in the exact same position of frequency: Both lists were based on written frequency. Another important consideration is that both Modern English and Yiddish have a common ancestor in Middle German. This shared origin may help to explain some of the high proportion of shared words. However, when faced with less commonly used languages, such as Yiddish, finding a list of frequently used words, even when compiled from a mechanically translated English frequency list, may not be the worst idea for self-learners.
It is a shared word of the two lists and so I removed the duplicate from the total. Otherwise, the shared words would total Interesting that it is so close to the earlier ratio of Yiddish to English shared frequency words. Here are those results:. I am making these comparisons out of curiosity and I think Kiki is right to be cautionary about generating these frequency lists from mechanically translated English alone.
As a teacher of Yiddish as a second language, I have never warmed to mechanical translation. The idiomatic and collocated phrases of language give richness and meaning more easily finessed by people than software programs at present. Also, idioms and collocations have never been sufficiently documented for the number of languages people are interested in learning. Thus, immersion within the native country of a language remains the fall back recommendation for rapid successful acquisition for committed learners such as Tim.
But based on this initial comparison of lists, mechanical translation of English frequency may have some value for language learning if approached knowledgably regarding its limitations. Tim, your writing style seems great for getting applause, but it clutters your message. Listen to yourself — quote:. The first version of this was written about two years ago, long before I adopted a more comfortable tone.
The next will be more conversational. I totally agree that learning the Japanese language without learning kanji alongside your vocab will hamstring you later in your studies. It is also a cultural thing. Here again, Tim is right on. Learning the basics of kanji, the radicals, and the reasons for them will go a long way than rote memorization methods of the 70s. BTW, Leeds University has produced large frequency lists, running to many thousands of words, of several major languages based on a variety of corpora. Still would like to know Tim what you recommend then as the best materials for learning Spanish I had been told Rosetta Stone as well.
Or would you just say get the word list and learn some basic grammar and practice? Wanna get that materials thing right and then go for it. I want to get to proficiency at the ability to teach in Spanish. Sorry to ask what a totally unrelated question, but something has been bothering me for a long time and I was wondering if you might be able to help.
I recently quit my job at a fairly secure financial firm yes, I did just put the words secure and financial together because I realized that it was not meant for me. I now have my own website that presents eco-innovations and tips on how to recycle stuff creatively. It is my dream to be able to live off of my writing and I love talking to people about it…with strangers.
Some people have told me to find new friends, but I feel the issue is within myself, and that I can somehow make the change I want to see happen. First, this advice applies to every skill, not just language. It took me four years of high school to learn Spanish because I was in the US. It took me two months to become just as fluent in Italian when I was living it Italy. And finding the Interest will be easier because you can easily seek out your Italian-speaking judo schools or whatever. This worked well for knocking gender into my subconscience — I found I started to visualise the nouns as different colours when writing.
When I was playing around with ancient greek I extended this to using colour with tense for memorising the basic forms of verbs. In three years of studying mainly on my own I have gone from basically scratch to having just read my second German novel Treffen sic zwei by Iris Hanika. Tim, Glad to see you considered my comment! Even though I think you got it, allow me to clarify.
See this as constructive criticism from a reader who is really interested in what you write and eager to apply it — but who finds that an overabundance of 1. Think of a soccer game broadcast on TV; just as someone is about to score, electricity falls out. We all have various learning styles, it happens.
Also, to answer your question, I would tell my friends to apply effectiveness, adherence, and efficiency to create a realistic learning model for a new language. The trick is to find success with a set of proven fundamental models to get the most out of our creativity. And that is exactly what Tim has demonstrated. I have always struggled with foreign languages but this post give me a renewed motivation to finally give it another stab. Something that might interest you: A couple of college kids talk themselves into a conference and ask Branson to fly them to DC, they went to DC with Branson on his private jet a few hours later.
I found the most frequent words in the correct order: These lists are also good for testing purposes. The fact that you spoke Japanese on your pilot and made absolutely NO reference to your own linguistic abilities was deeply cool. One idea came to me while reading this post and its comments: I used to learn words a day using Rosetta, and those will be devoured easily….
With those properly learned words and basic grammar one can do everything in different country but teach…. Using method how to define most frequent words, it will be useful to have it for every language…. I have also recently started learning Japanese. I currently use simplified characters when chatting with friends, because I hang out with mostly Chinese Mainlanders, but I know that Kanji and traditional hanzi are written just about the same.
I use similar methods in teaching at North Carolina Central University. One of my courses is Statistics and I use many non-traditional techniques to inspire and capture my students attention this led me to author a non-traditional Stat book to aid in student learning and comprehension. I have found however, that collaboration is the greatest teaching method. Similar to your judo experiences, I dare to say that the collaboration between you and your Japanese colleagues greatly aided in your level of interest, intensity to learn, motivation, will to compete, and coherence of the material.
If you add this factor one of interpersonal interaction and collaboration to your 3 initial components I believe that you will find that your instructional methodology is even more effective. Works in all alphabetical language. Count frequency of word in any given text. I listened to one of your videos. You discussed Public School System and requested contacts. I am highly interested in what you would plan. I work in schools as a speech-language pathologist. I love reform and change… So I am interested learning more about your ideas. Master simplified and learning traditional and kanji will be so much easier.
The more characters you learn the easier it is to learn additional characters. The tricky problem with learning Chinese and Japanese is making sure you correctly pronounce the character using the right language. You might find yourself reading a Japanese text and every time you see a character you pronounce the Mandarin instead of Japanese. This can make reading very interesting! It has Cyrillic and Latin spellings of words. It may help you out with some simple stuff quickly. Some background on my language obsession, from an earlier post on learning outside of classes: The ideal system — and progression — is based on three elements in this order… 1.
If you were a student of English though the list can be adapted to most languages , the following words would deliver the greatest ROI per hour invested for the initial weeks of study: The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Facebook Twitter Email Reddit Print. Finding the Perfect Office Chair: Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public.
Regards, Nick Like Liked by 2 people. Thanks, Bman Like Liked by 1 person. Just my take, thanks. Anne, Thanks for the comment. I really agree with your point of view,looking for more! Born on a blue day by Daniel Tammet Like Like. I want to try that book now: There are many reason to learn a dead language. Cheers, Adam Like Like. Hey Adam, This is a great goal and although it is from several years ago I would highly recommend busuu.
Can I learn other languages through this site? Tim, glad you linked to the digital crib video. Enjoyed it, rated it, commented on it. James Bressi Like Like. An attractive teacher will definitely help with Item 2. Not politically correct, but too bad. Great post Tim, I always enjoy a good post on learning a new skill. Hey Tim, Thanks for your reply and advice. It will take quite a time to review it and tell you a proper thanks for that… To tell you the truth, my friends and your russian fans said that your book is like a Bible for Entrepreneurs for the people in their s.
I am 31 myself, live with my girlfriend, and I am always thinking which bachelor things I want to keep no matter what influences marriage and kids can bring on me, and very interesting if you thought of that and have any answers for yourself… Thanks for what you are doing, sincerely, Vadim. Tim, I have now established two of your posts into my everyday life.
Thanks for the ideas. Hey Tim, Great words. Hi Tim, I have a question specifically about Japanese study. Should I bother with Kanji, if so, to what degree? H Roark, I recommend kanji. I only knew about or from college, but with this book, I now know See also the site I mentioned for more research on this suject. The incredible level of quality of this blog continues to amaze me!!
And I really need it for my traveling! Any updates on your show? Hi Tim, This is definitely useful for people who are considering taking up a 2nd language. Tim, What are your feelings on interactive language learning programs? Wow, your method is awesome. In a while will give you a feedback how it worked to me.
Cheers, Robert Like Like. Thanks for the great comments and contributions. Just my two cents! Pura vida, Tim Like Like. Hello Tim, My brother needs to learn basic English in one month and not sure what method is more effective for him right now given that are many websites offers. Thank you very much. H Roark and anyone else learning Japanese. Ah, finally the commentary on Rosetta Stone I was looking for. Are there any systems or products that you do recommend for Spanish? Tim Funny, in my own language learning I was always frustrated that I was force fed English transliteration as a method of learning grammar and new words.
Off-topic though, are you losing hair?? Hi Tim, Thanks for your post. Thanks so much, Michael Like Like. Hi there Tim, my nname is Kei I am enjoying your articles here in Tokyo and I often see that you are visiting Japan… If you have sometime next time, why dont you stop over to my restaurant in Tokyo would be honored to serve you, offcourse if you like Turkish food!
Please do contact me if you are to come to the restaurant. Thanks for the vibe always regards Kei Like Like. Great Post Tim, You keep on impressing me; I love your style of accomplishing anything with a more time efficient system; you seem to be able to accomplish anything; I am so impressed and have been using your principles in my lifes mission of giving anyone and everyone a simple proven system to not only get the best body of their adult life; but lifestyle and life; So that they can be fully engaged and reach their true potential in all the major areas of their life with the most time efficient, results orientated program on the planet.
Steen the Chicago Kid Like Like. Quick question to anyone reading: Do you know of any Dictionary series like English — German, with a word limit? This is really useful information. For those studying Mandarin Chinese: Excellent points about why learners should choose the subject matter. Hey Tim, Great content. To reach this goal i have to learn numbers, common verbs and words and some rules. I always enjoy reading your stuff. A quick note for other readers. Hi All, Here is a great suggestion from fellow blog reader, Tatoosh: Here are the results: So much for my math.
Here are the corrected totals: Here are those results: Listen to yourself — quote: