Functional in any lanuage in one day

Learn 100-200 most common verbs and improvise with them. That is making a long story short. However I guess many readers will want the long story. The long story in which I give argument for why I believe what I believe.

I was learning Mandarin for over 2 years I did a lot of ajatt style learning, passive vocab, immersion, srs, ect. I never had a full and enjoyable conversation with a native speaker even at my peak of knowing maybe 2000 words passive where I could understand a talk show to a certain extent. I felt powerless in the language beyond being able to pick up what people said. I mean I could form sentences and speak but I just felt weak as a speaker. Did I need more words? Did I need more experience using all the words I knew? Did I feel uncomfortable knowing so much but having so little to show for it in speaking. Here is where I argue why the method of immersion and passive learning and ajatt, although it made me think, and helped me develop, should not be the corner stone of learning a language.

I’m going to be traveling soon and I’m trying to learn as much as I can in a month so I can function in a language, in a country. So I have an actual ultimatum, none of this letting it happen whenever it happens. So how do I get the most functionality in the shortest time. It is not by listening passively, at least not for me because I am an extrovert so I will want to speak a good amount. crack jokes ect. Passive vocab is far less functional far less powerful, at least in my experience, than people seem to think. People say babies learn a language passively first, it’s the natural way. They shut up until they are ready to speak. This is not so at all. They scream and cry on their very first day of life. People don’t count that as language because we as developed people would not try to speak this way. The point is, babies are “active” communicators on their first day of life, not passive. No one stays passive. You can’t survive on passive. You can’t get what you want being passive, and the human condition is such that we actively work towards the things we want. Therefore active, active communication falls under this. Next myth, babies shut up and listen until they can form words. Nope, they babble. They make sounds with no meaning, just phonemes. They just make shit up and try to be understood until eventually they say something people get. Mama, which is a word they made up but we just decide to let them have. Then Dada and a few more maybe and then they finally catch on to a few words of ours. Basically passive vocab should never be the focus. Be passive if there is something someone is saying that you want to understand, but if you want to communicate be active, say things to people. People say that 90% of communication in life is listening ad only 10% is speaking. Well let’s look at it this way, how much listening get’s you want you want, vs how mush speaking get’s you what you want. You can’t get someones attention, you can’t order food, you can’t get a date, you can’t move forwards as a social being without communicating actively in some way.

In my experience, saying shit to people and being understood is more fun than people saying shit to me. That’s a natural thing, that is why people need to be taught to listen to others because everyone is fighting to be heard. Not to say it should always be this way, just that without being able to actively communicate and do so strongly, however you do so( grunting and pointing, or talking), you will be living in-authentically in that language for the duration of the time you learn in that way. Unless you reeeeeaally like you some anime or something. The moment you can understand what someone says is not a true moment of joy in that language. It is a milestone, but it is a lonely anti-social one. You might as well be a spy or something. The moment you can be understood by another person and get something you actually want out of an interaction, that is a moment to celebrate. That is functionality.

The easiest way to develop that power is focus on the strongest part of speech, the part that does something, so you can get people to do things or understand that something is being done, or ask if something ought to be done, ect. So learn 100 – 200 verbs, and be able to use them and you will have a lot more functionality than if all you can do is point at a chair and tell someone it is a chair. Sure infants do this, but this is because verbs are the hardest for them to learn, they wish they learned verbs first.

You can learn 200 words in one day. It would take hours but using mnemonics that number is attainable. I’m not doing this much all at once but it makes a flashy headline. Once you’ve built up that repertoire, you can begin communicating using it and maybe a few pronouns as needed. See it’s not necessarily the most common words that will get you functional fastest. It’s the most functional, most useful words. Hello is not really useful. neither are months or words like a, the, ect. Verbs are the most functional category. I’m sure there are some other words that are functional that are nouns and whatever but I’m simplifying this method to make it more actionable for myself.

After you learn 100-200 verbs inside and out. Then start listening and watching tv and the verbs will help you understand context far more than anything else because the verbs are the part of speech that is most important yet least visible to the eye and so it’s hard to learn verbs from immersion but pretty easy to learn words when a character is pointing at it or looking at it or picking it up and examining it while saying what it is. You don’t even need to know the name of many of the nouns spoken in a tv show because it is a show, it is showing you nouns. If it is a talk show that is different, but a show like a drama or cooking show will be teeming with context.

O yeah, and learning words actively usually means they are learned passively as well. If for some reason this is not the case, make sure you can recognize them passively as well. Shouldn’t be too hard.


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