An easy way to learn foreign languages

Listening and reading have made up the bread and butter of my language learning since I was 13.  My highly effective language learning method has developed from that.

The method is simple.  I study every day (1 – 2 hours max).  Shortcuts sound sexy and give you a short-term buzz, but the effects fade away quickly.  My method is  efficient and gets you fluent in the long term.

Quality of study in the initial stages makes the difference between an excellent and an average student.

The four components

Four components are required to learn a language:

  • Listening
  • Repeating
  • Writing
  • Translating*

(* Translating from your own language into the target language  (the opposite of what people often do) is vital.)

 My method allows me to retain 80% of what I study.

 People want to speak a language quickly and some study for 10 hours a day.  They reach burnout just as fast!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6SH2U_rO6c]

Tempo

The quicker you learn, the quicker you forget, if the information is not used regularly.  Easy come, easy go as the saying goes.

Success is language retention in the longterm.  Gradual and structured learning (creating, what I call a “linguistic core”) is a must.  This enables the learner to hold a decent conversation following a two-year break in practice.  In the same scenario, those who studied a number of languages at the same time (or one in an unstructured manner) are less likely to speak it well, if at all.
 

The Linguistic Core

 Developing  a linguistical core provides a solid grounding in the language.

 Quality of study in the first 8 to 12 months is crucial.

 Then the other necessary ingredient for good language acquisition – QUANTITY – can be added.

 Preparation

Prepare and train your brain to receive content.

Absorb the sound and the essence of the language.  This develops a “plasticity” towards the language.

 Listening and reading are extremely effective once you have done this and developed a large passive vocabulary.

Learning is easier if you understand what you are learning.

If you already know a lot of words you are more likely to understand, enjoy and learn from an article or a podcast.

In will develop these ideas in subsequent blogs.  Please feel free to leave your comments and questions and I will be happy to address them.

You can find other interesting details of my technique on my friend Catherine’s blog:

– An Easy Way to Learn Foreign Languages Part1

– An Easy Way to Learn Foreign Languages Part2

  • Sade says:

    This is very excellent, Luca! It is all explained in a straightforward, clear way. Thank you very much!

  • Alfredo Lo Bello says:

    Grande Luca! continua così, in gamba!!!!! da zehn!

  • Bruno says:

    Hello, Luca! I just stopped by your YouTube channel and found your site. It is so great to know that you have a website because I do really trust your language learning method. And this year I have started to learn French. And I want to use your method to deal with it. There are so many great novels in French, they have won lots of Nobel prizes. Reading a great book in its native language is priceless.

    Kind regards,
    Bruno (Argentina)

  • Thank you very much for the nice words, Sade, Alfredo and Bruno. As for the method..this is a only general recap of the main lines. I’ll post more (hopefully interesting) details in the following days (operations, timetable etc) and will then move on to other language related topics. All comments are much appreciated (in ANY language :-))! Luca

  • Entony says:

    Дорогой Лука,
    Я тебе чесно скажу: то,что ты сделал, это дествително очень важно и я, так-как много других людей, тебе очень благодарен, потомучто ты мне очень помог создать еффективную систему котороя мне сильно помогла. Знай что не все люди могут создать такоё! Малодец!

    Luca,
    I’m going straight to the point: Your website is extraordinary! You’ve managed to sum up all the information from your videos and put it into this small summary.
    Well done!

    Mon ami,
    Tout simplement, ton site web est vraiment extraordinaire! Tu as réussi à récapituler toute l’information de tes vidéos et la mettre sur cette petite page! À vrai dire, c’est trop important de pouvoir “remarquer” ce que tu as fait, comme toi avec ta méthode à apprendre une langue étangère!
    Bravo!

    Caro Luca,
    En realidad, eres muy inteligente; porque para creer un sistema tan bueno como este, puede estar un poco difícil! ¡Bien hecho!

    卢卡,
    我想说你谢谢。我很喜欢你的方式,很帮了我学习外语!你是很快。做一个很好的方式有一点儿难但是你做得太好了!

    -Entony

  • Retainy says:

    Ciao Luca!
    Sono d’accordo con il tuo metodo di studiare lingue straniere. Grazie per averlo scritto. Ho capito che devo dedicare piu’ l’attenzione a lingua parlata per poter parlare le lingue straniere senza accento come tu!
    Anche vorrei compartire con tutti vari risorsi gratuiti per l’apprendimento di lingue straniere:

    uz-translations.net – The Major Free Language Portal
    langacademy.net – Language Website
    in-yaz-book.ru – Language Website (For Russian Speakers)
    omniglot.com – Language Scripts&Writing Systems
    greylib.net – Foreign Languages Library
    manybooks.net – Free e-books
    ska4ka.com – Audiobooks in Foreign Languages
    http://www.lingq.com – A Series of Language Websites (russianlingq.com, swedishlingq.com, etc.)
    langengineering.wordpress.com Blog of a Language Learner

    Auguro successo a tutti!

  • Marina says:

    Congrats on the new blog. I’m definitly going to incorporate your techniques next time I’ll try to learn a new language. I’ve been wanting to learn arabic, but I might just go back to my swedish lessons, which I abandoned few weeks later after I started them. I’ll keep on following your blog to check what’s new.
    Greetings from Brazil.

    Parabéns pelo novo blog. Com certeza, eu irei incorporar suas técnicas na próxima vez que eu tentar aprender uma nova língua. Eu queria aprender árabe, mas talvez eu volte às minhas lições de sueco, que abandonei depois de poucas semanas após ter iniciado. Continuarei acompanhando seu blog.
    Saudações do Brasil.

  • Ryan says:

    I’m really glad to see that you’ve added another dimension to reaching out to other language learners. This is great stuff Luca.

  • Nadine says:

    Hey Luca! I know your German is great but I write in English so that others can understand it too. 😉
    I know English and Spanish quite well, English because I’ve been studying it for many years (school, uni…) and Spanish because I’ve spent several months in Spain (I started to learn it only 3 years ago). What I do to practice the other languages I’m learning is to reach an elementary level and then start to communicate with natives. I don’t like to study grammar and vocabulary, so I mainly learn from communication with natives and their corrections. Since I’m only doing this online, my problem is that I can write the languages quite well after a short time and also very fast, but I can’t speak, although my pronunciation is not that bad. It just seems as if my synapses only connect my language part of the brain with the finger part but not with the mouth part. 😛 When I’m speaking (although when I’m speaking slowly) I forget simple words. Since I’ve started to speak to natives more often it’s getting better, but the difference is still significant. I now try to start speaking in an earlier stage of my language acquisition. 🙂 How do you solve that speaking problem?
    By the way, I think listening is very important, too. And it doesn’t have to be active listening. I often listen to audio books without really listening (when lying in bed before sleeping for example), and I start to watch movies without subtitles from the very beginning (but I usually watch movies I already know, Disney for example). This kind of creates a second language situation (that is as if I was in the country). It’s more a passive learning, it helps to internalize the language.

    • Dear Nadine, first of all, let me thank you for the nice words 🙂 Now, regarding your problem..Learning how to “speak a language” is a skill that one develops with time. Let’s try to focus on the problem at hand and let’s try to find a solution 😉

      I always start by focusing on ALL the aspects of a language. I agree with you that listening (passively and actively) is extremely beneficial in the short and long term.

      I also start by something that most people do: I get hold of a script and its audio, I start reading and listening. I don’t stop at that though. I also add another ingredient to the recipe: translating and speaking (active ability). This sets my neurons in motion IN ALL DIRECTIONS, that is, I develop the capacity of understanding a script and a vocal speech (and I link sounds to words by reading and listening at the same time), as well as “forming” thoughts and making them real with the fully developed apparatus that I have at my disposal (mouth,tongue,throat). It is not just a matter of mentally building sentences, but of ARTICULATING sounds with the muscles of my mouth.

      A lot of people focus on ONE aspect and neglect the other. It seems like you mostly focused on understanding/writing and neglected speaking. It is a common mistake that creates a weird gap between an ability and other and gives you the (false) impression of “having a problem”.

      You don’t have a problem 😀

      Now, on the solution of “filling the missing gap” I sugget that you do the following things

      1) in the very early stage (when you are still dealing with books), start repeating the phrases that you hear

      2) once you get a good base then start talking to yourself. Work progressively.

      Do this by uttering small sentences. Imagine having a native in front of you. Imagine discussing about his/your country (weather, food. Focusing on ideas will get out the words that are trapped in your brain. They are not coming out in a real situation because those words are in cells (neurons) that haven’t estabilished links with other cells yet, that is, with other words. After having built sentences in your brain in an imaginary situation, speak them out loud, so that your brain can link words together in a whole sentence and then make them real through your mouth

      And one more thing: remember that emotions are important and play a huge role in language learning. Listening to a compelling conversation on your favourite topic boosts your attention, and so does imagining yourself dealing with a brilliant and interesting human being from another country..just in front you 🙂

      Hope this helps!

      Luca

  • Davide Mazzetti says:

    Ciao Luca! Thank you so much for creating this blog. I’ve been a subscriber of your Youtube channel for some time now and it was thank to you that I adopted your method of learning langages, which has been very effective for me.
    I also had the pleasure of talking to you personally which was very helpful.

    I look forward to this blog developing in the future and would urge language learners to give Luca’s method a try.

    • Davide Mazzetti says:

      I just wanted to add something to my last comment. I can’t emphasise strongly enough Luca’s advice to translate FROM the target language into your own – it shows just how far you have assimilated the idioms and methods of expression of the language you are learning. Certainly, you will make mistakes, but this is probably better than actually gettign everythign correct because in this way you can analyse WHERE you went wrong – or even if it’s just that you’ve used an alternative but equally valid expression.

  • Francesco says:

    Dear Luca,

    I have already sent to you a message in Italian asking suggestion about the material to use for studying Chinese. Assimil course is your suggestion for starting (I know these course since they are quite famous but I’ve never used them).

    But now I want just to make a very general remark about the strategies you advocate for studying effectively a language.

    When I was a young boy an uncle of mine taught my two very simple principles, which I still remember, to learn whatever you want in an affective way.

    First principle: Look at the things and not at the rules. The rules descend from the things and not vice versa. This principle applied to the languages means that the grammars (rules) descend from the language (things) and not the opposite. Grammar is important but the best way to learn it is to deduce it from the language. Your considerations about the grammar are in line with this.

    Second principle: We learn something well when we do something actively with the material we want to learn. A brilliant example of this principle, applied to the languages, is your method: translating forth, translating back, starting to elaborate you own sentences, are all activities consisting of doing something with the material you want to learn, in this case the language. Working this way our brain cannot but learn.

    I studied some languages when I was younger in a different way and I am curious to try yours.

    But in general your impressive abilities on the languages confirm to me that when you find a good way to apply the above principle you are very likely to be in you way toward the success.

  • Luca says:

    Dear Francesco,

    thank you for the brilliant comment.

    First, let me tell you that your uncle is without a doubt a wise man 😀

    The first principle that you discussed made me think of all the the endless discussions about grammar on the Internet. To my humble opinion, most of these “verbal fights” miss the point. Learning/absorbing grammar is key to expressing yourself correctly. The point is: how to absorb grammar effortlessly and not “deliberately”?

    From one side, language lovers advocate the use of grammar books as key to “figuring out the language”. Others prefer deducing and “inferring” how the language works by “hitting” it directly throgh dialogues, podcasts and other sources.

    I prefer looking at the things and deducing/inferring the rules. I don’t disdain grammar books at all, it’s just that I “leaf through” them only when I have a fairly good grasp of the language. I know that people tend to be discouraged by too many rules that make no sense at the beginning and that will be amazingly clear later.

    I have to say that I always look at the results before judging the method. People who are fluent in a language and express themselves correctly and with good grammar have necessarily done the right things, be it a grammar oriented study or not. I think that one should do what they like. If you find your approach neither boring nor difficult..well, just go for it 🙂

    As far as the second principle is concerned, I always say that what is really important in language courses…is you. The way we use books make them very effective.. or useless. I figured out that no matter what course I use, the WAY I use it is what counts in the long run. Reading and listening are necessary because if there is no input, there can’t be any output. And yet, it is still not sufficient to get fluent. So, I try to develop the four skills progressively and at the same time. I’ve seen people understand a language very well but not be able to speak it. It just relies to the way they approached the language and how they used their time.

    I’d like to add a third principle: no matter what you do, learning EVERY DAY is what makes the difference in the long run. The brain learns consciously AND unconsciously. Stick to the language every day and your ability in “using it” WILL take off sooner or later.

    Luca

  • Michel says:

    Ciao Luca,
    trovo i tuoi consigli molto utili, grazie.
    Ti pongo alcune domande che mi sono venute in mente leggendo l’articolo:

    1 All’inizio secondo te è meglio focalizzarsi solo su un corso, ad esempio assimil, o usarne due/tre in contemporanea?

    2 Ritieni la memorizzazione dei testi un valido esercizio?

    3 Fino ad ora tutti quelli che ho sentito tra coloro che dicono di riuscire ad imparare una lingua in 2/3 mesi, in effetti la parlicchiano soltanto. Secondo te le storie che si raccontano su Mezzofanti sono vere? Riusciva veramente a parlare una lingua fluente e senza accento in poche settimane?

    4 Consideri una buona base di greco e latino utile per procedere più speditamente nell’apprendimento.

    5 Tra la fase di lettura ad alta voce/traduzione e quella di parlare liberamente, io ne inserisco un’altra, la sentence trasformation. In pratica uso le strutture del testo per esprimere le mie idee, ad esempio cambiando il soggetto o combinando più frasi, ecc. ecc.
    Lo ritieni un esercizio valido o lo tolgo?

    6 Cosa ne pensi dei software tipo anki?

    7 Ho forse esagerato con le domande ;-))))?

    Se ti va di rispondermi, non mi offendo se non lo fai ;-))), puoi farlo tranquillamente in inglese.
    Grazie, Ciao
    Stuuupendooooo questo blog!!!!!!!!

  • Camela says:

    Ciao Luca! Sto applicando il tuo metodo con grande soddisfazione. In particolare mi servo dei corsi Strokes ver. 4.
    La loro struttura è simile ad assimil e molto più semplice e meno rigida di tutti gli altri software in circolazione. Per ogni lingua ci sono 300 dialoghi. Nella fase di analisi preferisco Strokes ad assimil perchè posso sentire l’intera frase o cliccare su una parola e riascoltarla 10 mila volte. Con la stessa semplicità posso fare il dettato della lezione, accedere alle notazioni grammaticali e alla doppia traduzione: a senso e parola per parola. Posso anche esportare i dialoghi sul lettore mp3 e sentirli nei tempi morti.
    Nella fase di sintesi il sofware prevede la possibilità di fare la traduzione come fai tu e ricevere degli aiuti audio/scritti se non ricordo qualche parola. Gli altri esercizi per memorizzare i nuovi vocaboli non li uso. In alcuni casi ho trovato utile il tool per la pronuncia perchè ti fa vedere i filmati di come i madrelingua muovono la bocca.
    Concludo, secondo me i corsi Strokes sono ottimi per le prime due fasi del tuo metodo. Ciao

    • Luca says:

      Caro/a Camela, sono contento che ti sia trovato bene con il mio metodo. Ho dato un’occhiata al corso Strokes che ha suggerito. Sono molto affezionato ai libri “fisici”, ed il mio preferito, come sai, è ASSIMIL. Nonostante ciò, penso che 2 fattori molto importanti siano: trovare un corso che ti piace (Assimil o strokes, Teach yourself o De Agostini), e sopratuttto IMPARARE A SFRUTTARLO/USARLO. Imparare ad usare i corsi di lingua è un aspetto fondamentale di cui pochi parlano. Un saluto! Luca

  • Luca says:

    Caro Michel, grazie per il consiglio e per le belle parole. Ti rispondo punto per punto:

    1. sì, all’inizio è meglio concentrarsi su un solo corso e usalro BENE. Poi, una volta acquisita una discreta autonomia linguistica (cioè una volta raggiunta la fase intermedia) puoi passare all’uso di più materiali/fonti

    2. No. Il mio metodo consiste nell’imparare le cose “dinamicamente”, “attivamente”. La memorizzazione meccanica dei testi è un’azione statica, appartiene ad un modo di pensare secondo me pedante, sorpassato. C’è un valore nell’imparare le cose a memoria, ma non nell’ambito dell’apprendimento delle lingue (è un progamma un bel video e un articolo proprio su questo argomento :-))

    3. “Imparare una lingua” è un termine, ahimè, piuttosto vago. Io credo nell’assorbimento di una lingua a medio e lungo termine, dove per “medio” intendo ALMENO 8-12 mesi. E’ evidente che ci sono molti fattori in gioco sulla velocità di acquisizione di una lingua. I 3 più evidenti sono la tua lingua madre e la tua esperienza in questo campo e l’intensità/immersione nella lingua target. Se per esempio sei italiano, sai già francese,spagnolo,portoghese e rumeno, e ti trasferisci a Barcellona, imparare a parlare decentemente il catalano in 4-5 mes non mi sembra un miracolo. Ma si tratta di un esempio molto particolare. In generale, pretese di “parlare” una lingua nel giro di 3 mesi sono poco credibili.

    Per quanto riguarda Mezzofanti..non ti so dare una risposta perchè purtroppo non è più qui fra noi e non ci sono prove concrete delle sue abilità. Le parole sussurrate nei corridoi diventano però facilmente leggende..come avrai notato, ci sono degli esempi piuttosto recenti di persone considerate straordinarie prima che la realtà mettesse a dura prova le loro effettive abilità linguistiche. Se però Mezzofanti è passato alla storia, un motivo ci sarà. La mia congettura è che avesse uno straordinario orecchio per le lingue. Probabilmente questa sua capacità fonetica dava l’impressione ai suoi ascoltatori di una conoscenza molto più approfondita di quanto fosse. Rimangono, tuttavia, solo congetture personali 🙂

    4. E’ l’argomento di un altro articolo che voglio scrivere (e ne ho letto uno di recente a proposito). La risposta è: assolutamente sì. Il latino era la mia materia preferita a scuola e mi sono lanciato, da solo, anche nello studio del greco antico, prima di abbandonarlo in favore del tedesco, che mi sembrava più utile. Non mi sono affatto pentito di conoscere il latino. E’ una ginnastica mentale che aiuta a districarsi in ogni tipo di labirinto linguistico (se hai la pazienza di seguirmi capirai quando ne parlerò :))

    5. Va benissimo 🙂 Tutto ciò che aiuta il tuo cervello a formulare pensieri e “fonetizzarli” con la bocca è ben accetto

    6. Ne ho sentito parlare ma ti confesso che non ho ancora dato un’occhiata approfondita al programma. Quando ci metto le mani/occhi sopra ti farò sapere

    7. Mi ha fatto piacere rispondere, anche se il tempo effettivamente scarseggia per rispondere a tutti!

    Un saluto!

    Luca

  • Ron says:

    Hoi Luca,
    Bedankt voor dit zeer informatieve blog.
    Groetjes uit Manchester,
    Ron

  • Jerry Bauer says:

    Ciao Luca,
    Would you please explain what you mean by repeating. Do you mean “shadowing” as done by Prof. Arguelles? Also, writing. Prof Arguelles’ “scriptorium” method or creative writing or both? Luca, you are our “Language Captain” please guide us! Buona Giornata, Jerry da New York

    • Luca says:

      Dear Jerry, I have heard the word “shadowing” before (but not the “scriptorium method) but I have never tried it. As far as the action of listening/repeating/producing sounds is concerned (and how I go about it) I will add some further information in the two following posts (that I am preparing, “editing” and reviewing these days), so a little bit of patience 🙂 Luca

  • Camela says:

    Ciao Luca, in alcuni forum ho letto della presunta perdita di sostanza nel tempo degli Assimil. Non ho tutta questa esperieza, ma nel caso del tedesco a me non sembra.
    Io ho usato la versione del 2004, ascoltando anche gli audio delle altre versione e mi pare che grammaticalmente quella del 2004 sia più corpulenta, anche se i dialoghi delle altre a volte sono più spiritosi.
    Il fatto comunque di riuscire a capirli credo sia la prova provata che questa ultra-semplificazione non ci sia stata.
    Per gli altri assimil che hai usato vale lo stesso discorso?

    • Luca says:

      Ciao. Ti confesso che non lo so. Ho comprato sempre una sola versione di ASSIMIL per ogni lingua e quindi non posso confrontarle nel tempo. Ma ti dico che il nuovo Assimil non mi piace molto a livello visivo. Per me avere un libro piacevole da leggere e da toccare è una parte importante dello studio “tout court”, non solo delle lingue. Luca

  • Michel says:

    Ciao Luca, a proposito di piacevolezza nel leggere e toccare ;D, per il cinese ci sono tanti libri esteticamente gradevoli. Il nuovo integrated chinese ver. 3, per citarne uno, è bellissimo.
    Assimil contiene 800 caratteri, credo dunque sulle 1500 parole: lo stesso livello(difficoltà) di NPCR3, integrated chinese I,Contemporary chinese 4 o del nostro “Il cinese per gli italiani I”.
    Il libro di Masini l’ho messo perchè anche se non è tanto bello quanto gli altri, ed a volte ti lascia un pò senza riferimenti (questa è la mia sensazione), ha il vantaggio, a mio modesto parere, di essere stato scritto per gli italiani.

    Tu, dall’alto della tua esperienza, considerando che a livello di prezzo Assimil non è inferiore a nessuno e che con i pdf non mi piace lavorare, ritieni che ci siano libri introduttivi fatti meglio di assimil?

    Poi, una volta raggiunto il livello elementary (ci sono quasi), forse sarà meglio continuare con i podcast invece di ingabbiarsi in testi un pò vecchiotti e statici. Condividi?

    Ciao,
    grazie mille e scusami,
    come sempre,
    per le troppe parole.
    La capacità di sintesi
    non è il mio forte,
    sto lavorando anche su quello;D

  • Camela says:

    Sono d’accordo fino ad un certo punto, gli assimil non sono il massimo esteticamente, ma sono eleganti e ricchi di contenuto. Li preferisco ai classici testi scolastici, come i Themen o i Delfin, che in 300 pagine contengono tante immagini… collega i puntini… completa il disegnino… e solo una decina di dialoghi. Per il cinese non so.

    Sull’uso di più libri, 3 o 4, in contemporanea – strategia che il prof. Arguelles predilige- l’ho provata, ma non fa per me, mi fa perdere solo tempo. I contenuti dei vari libri sono quasi gli stessi, è come voler preparare analisi 1 usando 10 libri di analisi. Meglio focalizzarsi su uno per ogni livello ed approfondire o chiarire ciò che non si è compreso con altro.

  • Marco says:

    Ciao Luca,
    Al Confucio usiamo il Masini. Per il primo volume nulla da dire, segue la stessa logica del NPCR: niente traduzione dei testi e il pinyin che prima lascia posto ai toni e poi scompare del tutto. Il secondo volume, invece, non lo digerisco proprio. Il focus è tutto sull’ Hsk e sullo scritto, la parte audio non copre a dovere il testo, vengono introdotte molte parole dal nulla, ecc. ecc.ecc. ecc. ecc. ecc.
    ecc. ecc.

    I miei prodotti preferiti sono tutti quelli sfornati dalla sinolingua e IC, perchè anche nei testi avanzati, alla fine del capitolo c’è sempre il pinyin e la traduzione.
    Della Sinolingua, Contemporaryy Chinese(testo, audio e video) e interactive chinese sono ottimi per l’hsk 4.

    L’Assimil per l’uso che fa del pinyin e per come tratta la grammatica non lo considero un testo pedagogicamente maturo.
    Sullo stile assimil, all’inizio ho usato dei podcast con molti riferimenti culturali e siparietti comici, si chiamano Ezychinese. Divertentissimi.

    Una domanda: ma l’analisi fonetica, poi, la cancelli?

    Ciao e complimenti a tutti!

    • Luca says:

      Caro Marco, grazie per le informazioni. Assimil è il libro con cui comincio sempre perchè non mi ha mai tradito. E’ generalmente elegante e sobrio, scritto in maniera brillante, testi ironici e ben strutturati. Perfetto per il metodo che ho sviluppato nel corso degli anni. Tuttavia, i due “tomi” di Assimil Cinese presentano un contenuto complessivamente inadeguato al prezzo. Finiti i due libretti mi sono chiesto: tutto qui? Il mio cinese ha cominciato a migliorare sensibilmente non appena ho cominciato ad utilizzare altri libri (tra cui Contemporary Chinese)

      L’analisi fonetica rimane scritta sul libro. E’ a matita, su libri che di solito uso solo io. E quei segnetti sul pezzo di carta stanno lì a ricordare la cura e la dovizia che ho messo nel cercare di decifrare “le note” della lingua. Per quanto riguarda l’analisi fonetica di una lingua tonale come il cinese..avevo intenzione di fare un altro post e mettere l’eccellente video che un certo Marco ha fatto su Youtube qualche tempo fa. Nel caso tu sia il Marco che conosco io fammi sapere se ho il permesso di meterre una delle tue “opere” sul mio blog 😉 Luca

  • Roger Knight says:

    Hi Luca,

    We exchanged emails a few weeks ago and I have since been following your recommendations TL (day 1) – L1 (day 3) – TL (day 7) and my re-call of the target language has improved tremendiously. I have begun doing my own text analysis recently but this will now improve after I implement your techniques. I now know what I have been doing has been insufficient. So thank you for the third video on native accents. I look forward to my continued improvement thanks to you.

    Regards
    Roger Knight

    • Irina says:

      Hi Roger,
      I’m curious to hear about what TL and L1 stand for and how you’ve managed to improve your recall. This was in 2011 so I hope things have progressed from there. I could use a little help myself in this area so thank you in advance for your help!
      Irina

      • Matt says:

        He probably means Target Language and L1 is your native language. In case you dip into any articles on applied linguistics, the linguistic terms are L1 and L2, regardless of whether you speak 10 different languages… the language that’s foreign to you is always L2 and as far as I know you will never see TL or target language used in formal publications.

        • admin says:

          Yes, L1 = native language, L2 = target (or foreign) Language. If there are mistakes in the text please let me know. Thanks for pointing that out! L

  • Dustin says:

    Hello luca great to see you have your own page to bring all your great information together!!! I have a question that has to do with assimil and perhaps other materials. Well I see that you’ve learned Chinese I was wondering if you used assimil to get started??? If so I will use assimil Chinese as an example.(I’m using Japanese) In Japanese/Chinese assimil they use a meaning translation as well as a literal word for word translation. I was wondering if you feel it would be beneficial to reconstruct the Japanese dialogs using the assimil word for word translation over the meaning translation?? or is your technique strictly used to translate your own L2 translation??? In other words is it important to use your own translation or as long as you translate it both ways you can L2 to L1 and then use assimils L1 word for word to construct L2??? sorry for the dragged out question just want to get it correct thanks for the help

    • Luca says:

      Dear Dustin,

      yes, I started with ASSIMIL (both for Chinese and Japanese)

      When you translate a text (reading Chinese/Japanese (L2) on ASSIMIL and writing in English (L1) onto the .doc file in your case), you can help yourself with “some tricks”. If you come across an expression which is very different in both languages (which is often the case for both Mandarin and Japanese), do like ASSIMIL: write the right translation (in normal English) and add (in brackets) the literal one*. When you’ll have to translate the text from English (the one that you wrote some days ago) into Chinese/Japanese you’ll remember how to translate it correctly. If you have problems, look at the literal translations to help yourself “rebuild” the sentence in the target language (Japense or/and Chinese). I’ve been doing this with every language and it is extremely useful for chinese (see note below)*, which has sometimes sentences really difficult to translate “back and forth”

      * EXAMPLE:

      学习中文的意大利人越来越多”literally means “learning chinese (de) italians are more and more. So, when you read the sentence in chinese and you write it in english (step 1), you’ll write “italians who are learning chinese are more and more numerous” AND you’ll add the literal translation in brackets: learning chinese (de) italians are more and more. When you will be translating that sentence from english to chinese it’ll be easier

      You can find a longer and more detailed reply (also by me :-)) here:

      http://womenlearnthai.com/index.php/part-one-an-easy-way-to-learn-foreign-languages/

      http://womenlearnthai.com/index.php/an-easy-way-to-learn-foreign-languages-part-two/

      Luca

  • Dustin says:

    分かりましたありがとうございました but I have yet another question since you said you use assimil Japanese. Since I know the content of assimil pretty well already I know that I will not be very far in a language like Japanese. After you are finished assimil what would you do??I see you say movies with subs and such is that what you look for breaking into more native materials??or would you try a more advanced language course first??

    • Luca says:

      Dear Austin, let us say that ASSIMIL covers the first phase, or “beginner stage”(A1-A2). Once you have finished the two books (unless, of course, you’ve been doing something else) you are pretty much still a beginner, a “novice”. In order to get into “intermediate ground” I strongly suggest you get hold of other resources. One great book (that you can download for free on the Internet) is “INTRODUCTION TO INTERMEDIATE JAPANESE – An INTEGRATE COURSE – Nobuko Mizutani – BONJINSHA. It is a great book for intermediate students. Also, you can use websites like Japanesepod or LingQ to download interesting content (text AND audio). Of course you can watch movies with subtitles, but I’d postpone that activity to when you have a strong foundation of the language. Language chats (sharedtalk comes to mind) are useful to start activating what you have been learning on ASSIMIL. Hope this helps. Luca

  • jonathan says:

    thank you guys so much for clearing up something i was wondering about. i am studying two languages right. two pretty interesting ones to me. which is spanish and german. i started spanish first and i have just recently started on the german. however from the get go i started using luca’s method with an adjustment because, luca, your exact receipt doesn’t seem to work for me. what i mean is, translating just one assimil dialogue wasn’t working for me, so i made it more difficult by translating the dialogue in addition to, two or more paragraphs from a book, (i am not able to do that for German, because of too many unknown words and grammar except for the actual assimil dialogue itself, however, i probably would start adding to it in three months) it works very well. i am basically translating three paragraphs or more of a book of lingq and i would translate it over and over again over three day period of time while listening the one dialogue and it seems to be working however, the problem i was running into was the problem you guys had discussed and now i understand that its ok to just cheat a little by translating it literally into the actually meaning. thanks luca for answering the question and dustin for asking it.

  • David Junio says:

    Ola , Luca , tenho uma duvida referente ao seu metodo , quando fala para repetir (repeating) , você quer dizer falar em voz alta ? ou repetir o audio e escutar novamente ? Obrigado.

  • shawn mcveigh says:

    Hi Luca,
    I was wondering what the best type of text would be for transcribing german? I have books with the german audio, or would transcribing conversational text be better such as movie scripts, interviews etc..? I have 4 months of solid grammatiks from a private integration school in Germany and really need to improve my vocab and learn to express myself more. Ive just completed A-1 and A-2 and I am starting on B-1 and have the B1 exam on the 13th of may. I can carry a basic conversation but still have a long way to go. I have the benefit of my wife speaking German but we keep going back to english as our spoken language. We get maybe an hours worth of speaking together in german a day. Also on the subject of reading books, should i be transcribing every sentence and word or really trying to push through the book with understanding what i can while lightly transcribing. I know it will take me months to transcribe 1 book, but is it more beneficial to just keep reading and reading? My goal is to take myself from b1 to fluent in the next year. thank you, your opinion is worth gold to me right now!

    • Luca says:

      Dear Shawn, you don’t need to translate a whole book. It is important to focus on small texts, which offer meaningful and interesting content to you. If you go to http://www.lingq.com, you can find very interesting audio files with relative transcripts, and they are done according to your level. In your case, you can download texts from the section “intermediate 1”. Do the back-and-forth translation on those ones 🙂 Then you’ll move on to texts at an intermediate 2 level and so on. Learning a language is a PROGRESSIVE work. Like buidling a castle. If you don’t want it to become a burden, keep it simple and learn one thing at a time (starting fomr small texts or “chunks” and THEN moving on to books and longer, more complex texts). Keep reading other things (simple books, reading on-line etc) while you keep busy with Lingq. Also remember: reading and listening is very important, but writing and talking/epeating – the so called “active wave” is also extremely important if you want to develop fluency in the long run. Hope this helps 🙂 Luca

  • John says:

    Hi. I just have a question. When you translate to your native language, do you do a word per word translation or do you adapt it to how you would say it in your own language, grammar, sentence structures and all? I stopped by Catherine’s blog and in her example, she did a word per word translation. I just thought, wouldn’t that mess your english up? English is not my native language, but I prefer to use it when I study. Thanks

    • Luca says:

      Dear John, if you dig in the blog (and in Catherine’s) you will notice that I have already adressed this issue. I do both a normal translation (that is, a translation in normal Italian) and a word-per-word translation (in brackets), which helps me to recostruct the original sentence. I find this extremely useful in languages like Japanese and Chinese, where the structure (especially in Japanese) poses a real problem when it comes to reconstructing the sentence in L2. Luca

  • Daniele says:

    Ciao Luca,

    complimenti per il sito, molto interessante.

    Una domanda. Cosa ne pensi degli esercizi “gap-fill” (non mi viene in mente il nome in italiano)? Vedo che sono usati molto anche in Assimil. Io sto imparando il tedesco e, per imparare a scegliere gli articoli giusti, le declinazioni e tutto ciò che mi sembra più mnemonico, mi sto affidando a questo tipo di esercizi (che carico su un programma SRS, ma questa è un’altra storia).
    Leggendo a proposito dei vari metodi per apprendere una lingua, non si parla mai di questo tipo di esercizi, nonostante la loro estesissima diffusione nei corsi di lingua in commercio.
    Suppongo che in ogni caso tornino utili per allenarsi ad un eventuale esame di lingua. Ma per quanto riguarda l’apprendimento? Pensi che possano aiutare a migliorare la propria abilità in grammatica?

    Daniele

    • Luca says:

      Ciao Daniele 🙂 Interessante la domanda sugli esercizi.

      Non l’ho spiegato molto bene nei video (anzi credo di non averlo spiegato per niente) ma sono una parte fondamentale del metodo. Diciamo che non riempo i vuoti, ma applico anche a quelli il mio metodo (per spiegare la tempistica degli esercizi rispetto al dialogo principale ci vuole uno schema più preciso e chiaro, che cercherò di pubblicare appena posso). Quindi lavoro su traduzione in entrambi i sensi dell’intera frase, dopo aver riempito il “gap”. Questo tipo di tecnica insegna il tuo cervello a “usare” gli articoli, li impari senza necessariamente memorizzarli. Si tratta di un apprendimento dinamico, che concepisce l’acquisizione di una lingua come un’abilità, più che un accumulo di nozioni legate da regole.

      Ultimamente ho fatto dei test di livello C2 che richiedevano, in alcune parti, proprio di riempire i vuoti (in particolare in tedesco) e devo dire che sono MOLTO utili per controllare il tuo livello. Sbagliando si impara un sacco, e a livello C2 (madrelingua) richiedono delle finezze a cui si arriva solo dopo anni. Per quanto riguarda però questi esercizi nella fase di apprendimento (le famose fasi 1 e 2 del video che ho pubblicato su youtube sull’evoluzione dell’apprendimento) trovo questi esercizi noiosi, e appesantiscono terribilmente lo svolgimento di un’ora o 2 ore di lezione. Preferisco avere un testo interessante davanti e “lavorarlo” da più punti di vista. Se hai a disposizione: 1 testo interessante in L1 e L2 e in più delle brevi ma puntigliose spiegazioni grammaticali per i punti più oscuri..beh, stai a cavallo. Con Internet la nuova frontiera è proprio questa: dopo ASSIMIL, ti devi saper CERCARE e ORGANIZZARE tu il materiale. E’ una rivoluzione rispetto a prima di cui pochi sono ancora molto coscienti, e si affidano a costosissimi quanto poco efficaci software

      Ad ogni modo, volevo aggiungere che fare gli esercizi, anche solo riempiendo i buchi, non fa mai male 🙂

      Scusa se rispondo a te (come a tutti gli altri) con giorni di ritardo ma in questo periodo sono veramente impegnatissimo.

      Se hai altre curiosità, io sono qui 🙂

      Luca

  • Suraya says:

    Hi!
    Thanks for the blog
    So, is it only conversations between two or more people that we should listen to, repeat and translate to our native language and back as per this method?

    Or should I do it also with entire books?
    I am at low-intermediate in French, so I am wondering if I should apply your method to the novels I am reading which have a combination of dialogue and text. I can get the audio for them as all books are available in audio these days, should I do your method for every few pages instead of just reading them like books?

    What do you think? Hope you get a chance to reply
    Thanks!
    🙂 Suraya

    • Luca says:

      Dear Suraya, if you find yourself in what I describe as Phase 1 (here is the video I made on the subject: htthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8oz6ad2o1w) you need to focus on rather short texts. Dialogues are the best thing because they are not very descriptive, it is a rather direct interaction between two (or more) people, in a relatively simple language. In Phase 2 (low intermediate-upper intermediate), you can start building a certain autonomy in choosing the texts to analyse: you can start tackling slightly longer texts which are not necessarily a dialogue. They can treat any subject, provided that the language suits your current level, needs and above all stirs your interesting, that is, a text meaningful to you..

      You are not the first person who asked me if translating an entire book is a good idea. The answer is: no, it is nNOT a good idea. Focusing on “chunks” helps your brain identify a beginning, a logical development, and and end. This helps it retain words and phrases because they are embedded in a meaningful, “visible” context. Reading and listening to lots of these “chunks” make up an excellent base/foundation, that you can refine and polish with other sources: native speakers, radio, TV..and books. At that point (Phase 3), you’ll enjoy a book by reading it, not translating it.

      As for the last question, you asked me: “What is the benefit of having two dialogues going at once – in your method you translate one out and then you start listening to another and then you translate the first one back in again” .- I avoid that I didn’t fully grasp what you meant here. Hope you’ll forgive me for that 🙂

      If you want to have a better insight into how the schedule works, there is a rather thorough explanation on my friend Catherine’s blog: http://womenlearnthai.com/index.php/part-one-an-easy-way-to-learn-foreign-languages/ and http://womenlearnthai.com/index.php/an-easy-way-to-learn-foreign-languages-part-two/

      Take care!

      Luca

  • Suraya says:

    Oops one more question!
    What is the benefit of having two dialogues going at once – in your method you translate one out and then you start listening to another and then you translate the first one back in again – so I was just wondering how having two going at the same time helps? And also if you have tips on how to keep that organised (b/c it makes me confused).

    Also, I learn two languages French and Mandarin Chinese (I am around intermediate at both) so does this make a difference?

    Ill be really grateful and quite amazed if you answer these
    questions of mine, I can see you are really busy! but I thought I’d try. I am an Australian living in Malaysia haha so many types of ppl from all over the place seem to have found your blog, it’s great.

    Thanks
    Suraya

  • Michael says:

    Luca,
    i love your technique so much! I am only 13 and trying to learn Japanese, your techniques have made me retain almost 75% more of the material. Just want to so you have made my life so much easier with your help.

    sincerly,
    Michael

    • Luca says:

      Dear Michael, thank you very much for the lovely comment. It is amazing how many people are using my method and finding it very efficient. It makes me happy 🙂 Luca

  • Nicolas says:

    Hello Luca,
    I was wondering if you still have the document from the video that has the detailed process on it. You mentioned that one could message you for the doc-file of the text. If you have the time to send it to me, that would be wonderful.
    Thanks.
    – Nicolas

    • Luca says:

      Dear Nicolas, I am posting the document here so that everybody can copy it on a .doc file if they want to

      An easy way to learn languages

      PREFACE

      The way I learn languages is rather simple and it is based up the idea that learning a language every day (1 hour, 2 hours max) and in a certain way (my method) is very efficient in the long run.

      My advice is: at the very beginning, putting QUALITY in your study makes the difference in the long run between an excellent and a rather mediocre student. You have to listen and repeat, but also write and translate (from L2 to L1, which is the opposite of what people normally do). What I do basically enables my brain to retain 80% of what flows into it, whereas, as you probably already know, people have normally a hard time acquiring and storing words in their head. This is a VERY important point which is often underestimated: people are in a hurry of learning a language and work on it 10 hours a day, not caring about quality. The faster and the poorer you learn, the faster you will forget that language once you don’t use it anymore. The difference between a great and a mediocre work when learning a language sticks out some years after you first started learning it. Those who’ve learned slowly and well (that is, those who have created what I call a “linguistic core or entity”)in their heads will still be able to hold a rather decent conversation even after a 2 year lack of oral pratice, whereas people learning a huge amount of languages at the same time (or just tackled one with no critierion) are mostly likely to speak very very poorly if not at all.

      YOUTUBE VIDEO: An easy way to learn foreign languages

      Hi again to everybody! After posting some videos where I speak (some) foreign languages, I was asked to post one more video concerning my “way” to learn them. I feel happy if I can be in any way helpful to the learning endeavors of other language enthusiasts, and honoured to know that some of you are inspired by my videos 😀 I am no language professor, learning languages is a pleasant hobby for me, so I am just taking the liberty of sharing with you some basic principles and some of what I think might be good advice about the overall learning process.

      First of all, learning a language and getting to master it is not an easy task, but really not as difficult as it may seem. The idea that learning a language is a hard and long process belongs to the group of what I call “the most commonly false but accepted ideas”. I called the video “an easy way to learn” cause I was inspired by the title of a book which turned out to be very important in my life: an easy way to stop smoking. This book literally dismantles the reasons why one should smoke and renders easy quitting the cigarettes, whereas the act of quitting the smokes is still generally perceived as “difficult”. One has simply to be shown how to do something, and they will do it much more easily than they might have ever imagined. This works for languages too, although of course it takes an effort

      No matter what method you are using, there are some basic principles upon which “the easy way” is based upon and which you have to stick to.

      The first principle is to work on a daily basis, or at least 5 days a week. No gigantic amount of work is required, just 30 minutes every day, 1 hour would be best the first 3 months. It is much more effective in the long run to learn every day a little bit, rather than spend 2 whole days on books and audio CDs. You will be astounded at the progress you’ve made after some 6 months
      The second principle is to learn in a natural way, as natural as possible. This way of getting into the real fabric of a language doesn’t contemplate the use of horrible heavy tomes of grammar. I am not saying that grammar books are not useful, but as far as I see it, it is better to use them as a reference for thorough linguistic studies, but not in self teaching methods. I personally think that the use of these books might turn out to be discouraging, given its heaviness. It is much better to concentrate directly on the spoken language by listening to dialogues and write down simple grammar notes progressively. There are some very courses which work this way.
      The third principle is that learning a language should not a stressful event, but a very pleasant one. Whenever you feel under stress and you feel frustrated because you can’t recall something you just learned a few days ago, relax and think that in some time many of the problems you are facing at that moment will be ridiculously easy some time later

      So what I suggest when learning a language is to remember that it has to be a constant, natural and pleasant way to learn

      As far as “my method” is concerned, it is a strategy I perfected and consolidated through time, it is based upon the principles I just enumerated and basically consists of three phases.

      The elementary phase consists of listening to dialogues, repeating them a few times, writing them in your native language and then retranslating them in the language you are learning later. You first read the first dialogue, and repeat it. Then, the day after or some days later, you read the second one, and while doing this you write down dialogue number one in your native language. The third day, you read again lesson number 2 and try to translate lesson number one by writing it down in the language you are trying to learn. For further explanation you can send me a message and I’ll write down the way, and the correct timing to do all this. It seems complicated but it just consists of parallel operations that you do. The written part is the fundamental key to the method, cause it literally fixes the structure of the language in your brain through the effort of retranslating that text. This phase can last a period ranging from 3 to 6 months, depending how you structure your work. Writing down some grammar notes wouldn’t be bad

      The second or intermediate phase is very similar to the elementary one: just keep reading, listening, writing down and retranslating dialogues, but is integrated with slightly more complicated texts, which also have to be written down in your native language and be translated into the language you are learning later, and then confronted with original version. This phase lasts 6 months, more or less.

      After a year of doing this, you will be very surprised at what you know. From this point on, the effort you make to learn is incredibly reduced and you will find it much easier to learn. Here starts the “advanced phase”, At this point, the course you are following is finished and what you have to do is simply watch movies with subtitles in the both the spoken and written part have to be in the language you are learning. Take notes while you are watching the movies. And, whenever you can, talk to people you meet. After a year and half, 2 years max, you will be good, very good in the language you wanted to learn and it won’t be a miracle, but reality. Anyone, I repeat, anyone can do this and get an excellent level

      A delicate subject to talk about is pronunciation. I personally think that everybody can reach a good pronunciation with some effort, depending on their linguistic inclination and ear. What I want to point out though though is that it is extremely important to concentrate and listen to the sounds at the early stage of your learning. It is not just a matter of listening, but also being able to reproduce the sounds correctly through the correct positioning of your tongue should be important. A native speaker helping you in the process would be great and would accelerate the process of acquiring and reproducing sounds correctly, but it is not necessary, and time is the best of your allies, in the sense that what you can’t pronounce correctly now, you will be able to do some time later in a much better way., The rponunciation consists of two main phases: being able to pronounce every single word correctly, and then concentrating on getting a proper intonation of the sentence, at a later stage, also very important, especially in languages like italian.

      The method I used to get acquainted with a language is a small book with Audio CD called teach yourself, then I use the Assimil Series in the intermediate level, and resort to other material like newspapers and movies at the advanced level. Remember that the more languages you learn, the easier it gets and that learning languages opens a lot of doors and gives you insight into different and incredible patterns of thoughts. Anyway, for some specific questions you can send me private messages here on my youtube account

      I thank you dearly for the attention and truly hope that some of what I said here might help those who want to learn

      Luca

  • Marc says:

    Hi Luca

    Apologies to pose you two questions at once! (I’ve sent one via youtube). I know you have been asked countless times how you structure your direct translation method , but I would really appreciate some advice in regards to using it with Assimil.

    I understand the method but I’m just having trouble understanding the timing of the process. Please correct me if I’m wrong but this is how I’m applying it:

    listen, read and translate L2 – L1 on days 1-7

    Following week (lesson 8 onwards) do the same, but in parallel start translating the first day’s lesson doing the L1 – L2 along side the first step.

    My confusion is when do I introduce step 2. Would you recommend doing a lesson per day?

    If you could give an example to make things clearer, that would be most appreciated.

    Best,

    Marc

    • Luca says:

      Hi Marc.

      I have to confess that I didn’t fully explain the time schedule, which is actually one of the most important factors of the whole methodology. I am planning describing it in full detail as soon as I find the time

      What I can tell you now though is: one lesson per day is too much. The main goal is to absorb a language. The quality of the absorbtion is key, completing a course within 2 months will give you the illusion of having “completed a course” but the reality is that you have just READ a text, you have merely scrachted the surface. Always, always keep in mind that the lessons are not to be memorized but absorbed, and this happens by stimulating your brain with different activities which are to be repeated in time

      Don’ be in a hurry when learning a language. Stick to it every day and you will see the flower flourish.

      Luca

  • Dusty says:

    I have a question about the l1 translation. Is it ok to make the translation word for word instead of making a generic translation???? Ex. Sushi o tabeta
    sushi (object) ate.
    Or. I ate sushi. ?????????

    • Luca says:

      I am posting the question and answer related to this issue (you can find other comments/replies here: http://womenlearnthai.com/index.php/part-one-an-easy-way-to-learn-foreign-languages/)

      Dear Luca,

      congratulations to your excellent language skills and many thanks to Catherine for the good explanation. I am German and must admit, that your german is really good. I am self-studying spanish and try to find the best way to learn a language. Your method is quite interesting. Now I have one question regarding the translation: when you do the translation to your native language, should you translate word-by-word (like in Assimil) so that you are able to retranslate it back to the learning-language, for example

      “I like to play football – Ich mag zu spielen Fussball” or do you prefer the correct way: “Ich spiele gerne Fussball”, but then it might be difficult to translate it back correctly.

      kind regards

      Christian

      My answer (Luca):

      Dear Christian, first of all, let me thank you for your kind words. The back-and-forth translations’s main goal is exactly this: to compare the 2 scripts and understand the “fabric”, the structure of the target language you want to learn THROUGH your mother tongue, or another language you know very well. No matter how different they are

      What you have to do consists of 2 main steps:

      1) ANALYSIS
      2) SYNTHESIS

      Analysis means that you have to analyse a script, which can be a very brief dialogue (beginners), a longer text (intermediate) or a newspaper article (advanced). Highlight the words that you don’t know and look them up on the vocabulary (on and/or offline) and write the corresponding meaning at the side of every word (in the very same paper). ASSIMIL is perfect for both the beginner and intermediate phases because you have bilingual texts, so that you can infer the meaning of the words in-context by simply looking at the corresponding translation on the right page. You can read and analyse (study) the dialogue (text,article) as much as you want. Then, after having read and analysed the text quite a few times (or when you feel ready), open a .doc file (you can write it on paper if you don’t like a computer screen) and by looking at the text in the target language (that is, by looking at your ASSIMIL left page) write it in your mother tongue on the doc.file. When you translate that text (reading Spanish on ASSIMIL and writing in German onto the .doc file in your case), you can help yourself with “some tricks”. As you said, if you come across an expression which is very different in both languages, do like ASSIMIL: write the right translation and add (in brackets) the literal one. When you hit phase 2) you’ll remember how to translate it correctly. I’ve been doing this with every language and it is extremely useful for chinese (see note below)*, which has sometimes sentences really difficult to translate “back and forth”

      2) A week later you’ll take the text that YOU have written (with some notes that YOU add to help yourself, as I told you) and try to translate it back into the target language. This is the synthesis and, as you will find out, it is a bit more difficult than simply analyzing a script

      With 1) and 2) you: acquire words (in context), learn how the two different languages interact, how they work. You also auto-correct yourself and with phase 2 you force your brain to work in a slightly different way: you don’t think in your language in order to produce output in another one, you do the opposite. By doing so, you learn how to express yourself DIRECTLY in the target language, because the final step, the one which creates the “full circle” is the second, the synthesis. It takes time, but it is extremely beneficial

      I don’t know if that is clear. The fact that it is evident in my head doesn’t (unfortunately) necesseraly mean that it is just as clear for others. I try my best to explain it and I’m seriously planning on making a video in this regard (among others which I hope will come out soon :-)) “to fill in the gaps”

      If you have any more doubt..feel free to drop a line (even in German if you want)

      Luca

      * For example: 学习中文的意大利人越来越多”literally means “learning chinese (de) italians are more and more. So, when you read the sentence in chinese and you write it in english (step 1), you’ll write “italians who are learning chinese are more and more numerous” BUT you’ll add the literal translation in brackets (learning chinese (de) italians are more and more. When you will be translating that sentence from english to chinese it’ll be easier.

      Another example (Japanese): “By the way, have you visited the Modern Art museum?” You will add in brackets this to help yourself during the L1=>L2 phase: (By the way, new Art Museum ni have gone fact there is ka?) . It will definitely be easier to consult the translation in brackets when you will print: ところで、新しい現代美術館に行ったことがありますか? (tokorode, atarashi i gendai bijutukan ni itta koto ga arimasu ka?)

  • Bonjour Luca! Je ne peux m’empêcher que de dire

    Je suis un jeune québécois de 16 ans qui étudie le russe depuis un an. Je me retrouve dans un espèce de “trou” où je n’arrive plus à avancer aussi efficacement qu’auparavant dans mon apprentissage de la langue.

    Pendant les six premiers mois, j’ai utilisé une version d’ASSIMIL datant de 1994. Puis après, pendant deux autres mois, j’ai utilisé la nouvelle version d’ASSIMIL celle de 2008. Au bout d’environ 10 mois je maîtrisais bien le vocabulaire et les points grammaticaux abordés dans les deux ouvrages. Cependant.

    Maintenant ayant fini les deux livres, je me retrouve “seul! sans guide pour continuer mon apprentissage. J’ai ESSAYÉ de continuer en regardant des films, émissions télé, podcast, ou de lire des articles de journaux, des livres et même discuté avec des natifs mais sans succès, car mon vocabulaire est trop petit. Il se résume aux mots que nous apprends assimil. Je ne peux que comprendre 15-20% des textes que je lis ou encore des films que j’écoute.

    J’ai donc essayé d’améliorer mon vocabulaire en surlignant par exemple tous les mots d’un texte que je ne connaissais pas (soit environ 80 % de la page) Puis ensuite de les apprendre sous forme de flashcards ou encore de liste de vocabulaire. Hélas, je me suis rendu, que pour moi la meilleure façon d’apprendre des mots est et sera toujours en les absorbant progressivement (comme ce qui est arrivé avec assimil).

    Donc en résumé je suis à un niveau trop avancé pour apprendre avec assimil, mais trop faible pour utiliser du matériel natif ou même pouvoir converser.(Mes conversations sont toujours pareilles et aussitôt qu’elles deviennent un peu plus compliquer une panoplie de mots inconnus viennent se dresser sur mon chemin!)

    Que puis-je faire pour changer ceci? :/

    Merci beaucoup!

    – Willy

    • Luca says:

      Cher Willy, ce qui est en train de t’arriver est tout à fait normal. La plupart des gens s’imaginent que ASSIMIL est un cours complet, et qu’une fois celui-ci terminé, tu peux utiliser la langue avec aisance. Malheuresement, l’acquisition d’une “independence ou maturité linguistique” passe à travers plusieurs phases, et le passage entre l’une et l’autre peut s’avérer difficile. Normalement, à la fin d’un livre comme ASSIMIL, on est passé de la phase “beginner” à la phase “intermediate”. Il faut donc trouver du materiel qui soit adapté à ce niveau-là.

      ASSIMIL est une sorte de guide qui t’accompagne jusqu’à un certain niveau. On te donne les bases pour marcher et après on te dit “il faut que toi tu continues à parcourrir le chemin”. A partir de cela, il faut un peu d’organisation. Le risque qu’on courre est justement de ne pas faire les choses de facon progressive, de se jeter à l’eau sans une connaissance adequate.

      Je te conseille donc de trouver des podcasts avec des textes et de commencer par là. Un site où tu peux trouver ce que tu cherches est: http://www.lingq.com. Tu t’inscris et tu vas à la section “Intermediate 1”. Tu télécharges les textes et l’audio et tu travailles sur ceux-là TOUS LES JOURS, en écoutant, en soulignant etc. Tu verras qu’au bout de quelques mois ta comprehension et ton vocabulaire (ce que les russes appellent “словрный запас”) auront beaucoup evolué. C’est à ce moment là que tu eux “te jeter à l’eau” en bavardant avec des natifs ou en lisant des textes plus complexes.

      J’espère que mon conseil t’aidera.

      Luca

      • Merci beaucoup pour votre réponse Luca!
        Dans mon message je n’ai pas terminé ma phrase je le ferai ici alors:
        Je ne peux m’empêcher que de dire bravo pour vos accomplissement linguistiques! (le niveau auquel vous arrivez est tout simplement incroyable! Très inspirant même!

        J’ai quelques questions techniques concernant LingQ.
        La plupart des textes ne possèdent pas de traduction.
        (comment connaître la traduction de certaines locutions ou expressions?)

        Aussi les couples perfectifs/imperfectifs ne sont pas indiqué
        (Comment faites-vous avec cela, apprennez-vous les verbes par couple ou bien individuellement, au fur et à mesure que vous les rencontrer.)

        Certains textes sont très long, dans ce cas là les apprenez-vous au complet en une journée ou vous diviser le texte en plusieurs scéences ou encore le textes au complet mais en plusieurs jours.

        Une dernière question: Avez-vous des Collections de la bibliothèques qui vous ont particulièrement aidé à me suggérer?

        Merci beaucoup de votre temps et de bien vouloir partager vos techniques et votre savoir avec tous!

        – Willy

  • Catherine says:

    Hi Luca,

    I recently started volunteering in teaching English to new immigrants here in the U.S. I soon realized that it is one thing to learn a language out of interest and passion, but, it’s another out of necessity or perhaps even out of survival.

    How do different motivations affect and effect language learning?

    My older adult students labor all day and still come to class at night. But, they do not have the resources, nor the aptitude like the many polyglots claim unnecessary. The students don’t even use the computer.

    Any thoughts, suggestion or advice for these not so glamorous forgotten learners? And perhaps, for their untrained teacher as well?

    Grazie mille.

    Catherine

    • Luca says:

      Hi Catherine.

      Motivation is everything. A car cannot move without an engine, no matter if it is a Ferrari or a Cinquecento (a tiny old dear italian car :-)).

      Teachers’s frustration derives from the fact that if the student lacks motivation and interest, results won’t come, no matter how good the teaching method and the teacher are. The main step is thus motivating your students in the class and ESPECIALLY outside the class, where the real learning takes place.

      How to do that? First of all, I’d start by asking your class what subjects they find interesting. Their interests will obviously diverge, but I am pretty sure that you can find some interesting content for everybody. Then, surf the internet in search of pages, documents, audio related to that specific subject and give them to the class. Work with them on the text and the audio, pointing out the odd grammar points, idiomatic expressions etc. Remind them everyday that language learning takes time and if that they work on it every day and they are relaxed about it, they will be successfull, no matter what happens. Remind them once again that time is a friend on their side.

      After choosing a series of interesting material and reviewing it with them (2-3 months of intensive and progressive input), you should be able to “train” them on how to retrieve interesting material on the Internet. That is the SECOND point of this path, and it is how my personal teaching lessons on skype are articulated: I guide students towards a certain point and then teach them HOW TO LEARN a language by themselves (and keep guiding them of course). In other words, I work on the student’s psychology, giving them motivation and interesting content when they most need it, and then I give them the tools to find their way to the language “maze”

      The role of a teacher is still a very important one, but the real and main character of this “learn-a-language” movie is the learner. I think that we should never forget this point

      I made a video regarding this on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgDGsfISkIQ (the audio quality is not that great but hopefully you should be able to hear what I say)

      In case you have other questions, I am here, and sorry for the late reply, I am terribly busy these days

      Luca

  • gill says:

    Caro Luca, anzitutto lascia che ti faccia i complimenti. Li avrai già sentiti a centinaia e in tutte le lingue, è proprio il caso di dire.., ma te li meriti tutti. Non solo per il numero, ma soprattutto per il livello che hai raggiunto in ciascuna delle tue lingue.
    Dunque, avrei qualche chiarimento da chiederti sul metodo che descrivi nel video. Prima di bombardarti di domande, però, vorrei fare una piccola osservazione, se non ti dispiace. Non sono tanto d’accordo con l’attributo “easy” che hai usato nel titolo. Penso che tradurre sia la parte più difficile dello studiare una lingua straniera. Ma proprio perchè richiede molta attenzione e costringe a riflettere profondamente sulla lingua, mi è facile credere all’efficacia del metodo, del resto ne sei la prova vivente! Ma non lo definirei un percorso “facile”, al contrario richiede molta dedizione e impegno. No?

    Detto questo, vado al punto, o meglio ai punti. Ho provato il tuo metodo per un po’. Devo ammettere che non ho insistito molto, ma ci sono alcune cose che mi hanno un po’ bloccato. Premetto che ho la tendenza a pensare un po’ troppo e a razionalizzare tutto, non vorrei fosse questo il caso.

    1. Nel momento in cui dovevo ri-tradurre il testo verso la lingua straniera, si verficavano due situazioni opposte: o ricordavo troppo il testo originale e involontariamente lo riscrivevo a memoria, oppure non lo ricordavo e finivo per fare una traduzione che in molti casi differiva notevolmente dal testo originario, creandomi una certa dose di frustrazione e lasciandomi nel dubbio se la mia traduzione fosse sbagliata o se anche solo suonasse innaturale.
    Tradurre è davvero un’arte difficile, non esiste un modo univoco per rendere un testo in un’altra lingua, quindi in una certa misura bisogna aspettarsi queste difficoltà, ma volevo sapere come le affronti tu, o se magari consideri tutto ciò un non-problema.
    2. Che benefici hai riscontrato nell’usare questo sistema a “cerchio chiuso”, invece che semplicemente limitarti a tradurre testi diversi (sempre inteso in tutte e due sensi, da e verso l’italiano)?

    • Luca says:

      Ciao.

      Come al solito, sono sempre lieto di ricevere complimenti e quindi ti ringrazio.

      Rispondo con piacere alle tue domande, con una premessa.

      Il metodo è facile UNA VOLTA CHE LO SI è CAPITO. Il problema è che capirne a fondo il meccanismo, sia in termini di azioni da compiere che di tempistica con cui attuarle, non è facile. Me ne sono accorto perchè numerose persone, proprio come te, l’hanno provato ma hanno trovato difficoltà ad applicarlo. Il problema alla base è che – e in questo senso faccio mea culpa – ciò che è scritto qui sul blog e ciò che dico sui video di YouTube non è sufficiente ad avere un quadro preciso su cosa è veramente il metodo Full Circle.

      Per rimediare, sto lavorando sopra ad una vera e propria descrizione ufficiale scritta del metodo, e ci sto lavorando alacremente, poco alla volta, e comnpatibilmente con gli impegni (che sono ahimé una marea).

      Veniamo alle tue domande

      1. La chiave del metodo è la tempistica della traduzione bidirezionale, ed è strettamente legata alla memoria. Esiste un famoso grafico in cui si mostra come il ricordo un vocabolo o un concetto X che “passa” per il nostro cervello scema con il tempo secondo una curva precisa. Se ti capita di ricordare troppo bene il testo, o di non ricordarlo affatto, significa che non hai scelto il momento giusto, o “la distanza giusta” dalla volta in cui hai finito di analizzare una lezione. Sei troppo a monte o troppo a valle di quella curva. In entrambi casi quindi la traduzione non risulta molto utile.

      Il momento giusto di “ridare la schicchera” (perdona l’espressione triviale ma in questo caso è azzeccatissima) è quando, al momento di ritradurre verso la lingua Target, riesci a ricostruire più o meno la struttura delle frasi di un testo, ma ci sono “buchi”. Non ricordare le parole o come metterle insieme non è affatto un cattivo segno, è invece un’occasione per “riempire i buchi” sia in termini di vocabolario che di strutture. E’ vero che è possibile esprimere lo stesso concetto in più modi diversi, ma se sei un principiante o anche uno studente di livello intermedio, ti dovresti attenere alla versione del testo. Quella versione ti serve come check, come controllo finale. E’ nel momento della sintesi e operando quel controllo finale sui tuoi errori e sulle tue omissioni che avviene l’assorbimento di una lingua, e sottolineo il termine ASSORBIMENTO perchè è un concetto fondamentale. Ricorda: la traduzione bidirezionale è un mezzo per assorbire una lingua, non è un fine. Un secondo aspetto fondamentale è che tale traduzione non implica nessun tipo di memorizzazione volonaria. Imparare a memoria è l’errore più grave che uno possa fare con questo metodo.

      2. Non ho ben capito la parte della domanda che riguarda “invece”, ma ti posso dire che questo sistema mi ha permesso, in un colpo solo, di:

      – Imparare vocaboli senza ricorrere a tabelle, tavole o i cosidetti sistemi SRS.
      – Assorbire la struttura di una lingua attraverso il confronto con la mia lingua senza l’ingombrante uso del vocabolario
      – Imparare pronuncia e prosodia (analisi fonetica che applico mentre svolgo la traduzione bidirezionale)
      – Autocorreggere i miei errori
      – Senza praticamente usare libri di grammatica nelle prime fasi di apprendimento (quando si è preso un minimo di confidenza con la lingua consultare un libro di grammatica diventa piacevole, ed infatti compro i manuali mesi dopo aver cominciato una lingua)

      Queste sono i vantaggi più evidenti, ma ce ne sono altri che “si svelano” man mano che capisci come applicare il metodo per davvero.

      Spero di aver chiarito qualche dubbio. Per chiarirli definitivamente occorre un po’ di pazienza

      Luca

      • gill says:

        Grazie della risposta. Sono contenta di sentire che ci stai preparando qualcosa! 🙂 Sono molto curiosa di saperne di più.
        Buon lavoro e grazie ancora!

  • Buongiorno Luca, Thanks for all your videos and your blogs. They are such a great help. I spent many years learning french to which i’m now at an advanced, and now like you I’ve been learning Chinese. I’ve been learning Chinese for about 1 year and 8 months with a goal to have basic fluency by the end of 2012. I learn 1 hour per day. So i’m following all your recent posts about learning mandarin closely. I want to try your method for my mandarin and i think I now know the procedure from you various posts, mainly on the women learning thai website. In your video you say to ask and you can send over a .doc. or maybe this is described somewhere I haven’t found yet.

    I find it hard to find films in the foreign language with foreign subtitles. Do you have any advice on where to find this? I’m currently subscribed to yabla which does this sort of thing but the videos are quite sort. New English film now have ‘hard for hearing’ setting which give english subtitles but this isn’t yet the case for french and mandarin. Well films i’ve purchased anyway.
    Grazie

    • Luca says:

      Hi Jason,

      I am glad you find my videos and blogs useful.

      You can find a description of the method if you type “Luca Lampariello easy way” on google and I posted the text of the method itself here in the comment section of About Me or An easy Way to learn foreign languages

      You can find so many DVDs on Amazon. They generally all come with subtitles.

      If you want to download them for free try a peer-to-peer connection such as EMULE. You can also find subtitles (in tons of languages) of the movie that you download (many people don’t know this) and integrate them later to it.

      Luca

  • Ross says:

    Hi Luca, what books in spanish do you recommend I use for my intermediate level study?

  • Ross says:

    Hi Luca,
    what books/courses do you recommend for my intermediate study of spanish?

    Thanks

  • Flavio says:

    Ciao Luca, complimenti per il tuo sito!
    Ho bisogno di chiederti un consiglio. Da circa due anni sto studiando inglese in maniera abbastanza costante, e pur avendo ottenuto ottimi risultati c’è una difficoltà che non riesco a superare: la grande differenza di comprensione tra un testo scritto e un testo parlato. Mi riesce ancora difficile comprendere gli inglesi madrelingua, parlano molto velocemente e sembrano tagliare le parole…nonostante stia facendo molto listening vedo solo piccolissimi miglioramenti, come posso fare? Puoi darmi qualche indicazione più precisa su come esercitarmi correttamente con il listening?

    • Luca says:

      Caro Flavio,

      ti consiglio di ascoltare e leggere contemporaneamente il più possibile. Impariamo solo ciò che possiamo capire. Se il tuo livello di comprensione orale non è ancora adeguato, ascoltare senza avere un testo o dei sottotitoli di riferimento non serve a molto.

      Ti consiglio quindi di: ascoltare 3-4 podcast ogni giorno con il relativo testo. Su questo sito ne trovi parecchi: http://www.lingq.com

      Ne puoi trovare tanti anche sulla BBC.

      Inoltre, cerca di guardare film in lingua originale sottotitolati nella stessa lingua. 1 film ogni 2-3 giorni, se hai tempo. Usa un taccuino su cui ti annoti parole o espressioni che non capisci.

      Fallo in maniera regolare, ogni giorno, anche solo per 10 minuti (è ovvio che più podcast ascolti e meglio è, basta che non ti esaurisci – il troppo stroppia, come si dice da noi)

      Luca

      • Jerry Bauer says:

        ciao Luca, grazie per gli consigli. Qui in Colombia e molto dificile capire la gente. Sono da New York e sono qui per un anno. Ho dimenticato mio italiano e vorrei infrescarla. Di nuovo, grazie da Bogota, Jerry Bauer

  • Boris says:

    Hi Luca,

    I appreciate very much your effort to help language learners.
    I learn languages myself and wondered why do you believe that learning a few languages in parallel is not effective?

    • Luca says:

      Hi Boris. I never said that learning few languages is not effective. I just gave some guidelines as to go about it. If you really want to learn multiple languages at the same time, you run the risk of dispering what I call your “linguistic energy” if you are not disciplined and don’t have a rather precise time schedule. L

  • stephanie says:

    Ciao Luca!

    I agree – translating from one’s own language to the target language is an efficient method for learning a new language. I found this to be true even for learning to use the QWERTY keyboard. There, as when studying other foreign languages, I found myself automatically “translating” all of my conversations into the keyboard, visualizing what finger went where to strike each key. It was astonishingly effective, and quickly. But I don’t think I did it in math class, and I wasn’t discussing numbers much, so I have always been less good at typing numbers.

  • Robert says:

    Hey, Luca! I just wanted to say that I really enjoy watching all of your videos and you are a great inspiration for me as well as other aspiring language learners. I had a few questions to ask you. I’m currently studying Tagalog, which is the language of the Philippines. I’ve studied it on and off and I feel that I’ve grasped a basic understanding of the language.

    1) At what level do you think I’m at if I’m able to take a Tagalog article off the internet and know 90%+ of all the words?

    2) Do you always attach a hyperliteral translation of the text (for example in Chinese) to assist you in your translation? The reason I ask is because I feel that putting the hyperliteral translation next to the text removes of burden of having to think in the language and you’re just doing a direct translation.

    3) I’m able to understand the general idea and occurrences in most Tagalog shows/soap operas. Do you suggest that I begin watching this input even though it isn’t 80-90% comprehensible? Or do you suggest that I don’t waste time doing this and continue working with translations until I reach that “clicking” point and can understand almost everything?

    Thanks in advanced, Luca. I hope to hear from you soon!

  • AML says:

    Hello Luca,
    It would be very useful if you made a video showing in detail how you use Assimil. I know you wrote and article outlining the general method, but a video of YOU showing exactly what you do, step by step (perhaps over several lessons), would be very helpful. As a scientist I know that specific techniques are all about little details, and I think we are missing the details of your L2->L1->L2 method.

    Thank you for your videos and website. They are very useful.

    AML

  • Dinoy says:

    Hi there. i just moved to Norway 5 months ago and i am learning Norwegian at a language learning center. I go to high school and take French as an extra language. Problem here is, in Norway the people only speak Norwegian and i have no means of communication with them. i have never had a problem learning a language before. I know 3 languages besides English.
    I can read and write in Norwegian but talking has become a problem for me.
    Any advice that might help me?

  • ondrej says:

    hi luca,

    first of all i wanted to say that i find you really impressive and love watching you speak your languages on youtube. you’re an inspiration: good on you!

    i wanted to ask you a specific question about your translation-retranslation method. i checked out catherine’s blog about learning thai and understand that this method is good in the early stages, but i’m wondering whether you continue to use it in the upper intermediate stages?

    at the moment i’m learning spanish and i’ve got to the stage where i’m able to read novels and hold conversations, though the language hasn’t consolidated itself in my brain yet, so i’m not as natural as i’d like to be.

    i’m reading a spanish book and decided to translate into english one passage per chapter. now i’ve started translating the passages back from english into spanish and of course there are errors. i’m wondering: what do you do with these errors?

    if i were listening repeatedly to a single passage in the early stages of learning a language, i would keep trying until the translation were perfect, but if i only read the passage once, translate it, and a week later translate it back, i’m wondering whether you would recommend that i keep translating until it’s a better approximation of the original, just look at the errors and think about them so that they may intergrate into my understanding, or not use this method at all at my level – just read and talk and listen (but then what about writing?)

    i’m eager to know what you would suggest!

    thanks, ondrej

  • Wulfgar says:

    Hi Luca,

    I have questions but first please allow me to explain my situation so that you may better advise me. I’m currently studying Russian. I’m not a beginner in Russian and I’m not a beginning language learner. When starting a language, I study about it ahead of time, then make a plan that I think will best suit my goals. I always have a main program that I work through methodically. I dump new vocabulary and sentences from my main program into an SRS to help me remember. I supplement my main program with lots of additional activities. For example, I watch movies with and without L1 & L2 subtitles depending on what stage I’m at. I listen to language learning podcasts. I read and listen on lingQ. I talk to language partners.

    I finish one main program before I start another. These are the ones I’ve done so far for Russian, in this order. Beginner’s Russian Script, Pimsleur and Michel Thomas. After that I sort of got stuck. I finally decided on the Princeton course, but the grammar wasn’t sticking, so I quit after about 2 months. At that point I went to Russia for 2 weeks and took a class. After the class, I was forced to put my Russian on hold for about 6 months. I was still at A1/A2, so the inevitable happened – my skill level dropped.

    I resumed my studies 2 months ago. Assimil is my main program now. I’ve been able to put in a lot of hours lately, and I’m finally a solid A2. I’m on passive lesson 64, and active lesson 14. I want Assimil to take me to B1 grammatically. I’m using the program the way I interpreted that they recommend. Although I like the program more than Princeton, I can tell the grammar isn’t going to stick in this one either. I need to do more, in the form of drills. That’s when I found your blog, and decided to ask you some questions.

    1) I remember reading a comment from you somewhere that made me believe you had to do something different or additional with Russian. If that’s the case, what do you recommend?
    2) I said “drills”, but in my mind that could also be translation. Do you think the piece meal order of sentences Assimil uses is conducive to making Russian grammar stick? I can see it working with languages like French (I’m a native English speaker), but it just feels too disordered to me for a grammar intensive language like Russian. That being said, I’m open to your opinion.
    3) I’m using Assimil differently than you. As suggested by Assimil, I do a (verbal) translation from English to Russian in the active phase. If I make a mistake, I think about it a little, then don’t worry about it. Do you think it would be worth it to me to do a more in-depth translation, where I write it out then research everything I get wrong, and maybe re-do it until I get it right?
    4) If I do an in-depth translation do you think there is any point of me translating from Russian to English? I already understand it; I’d prefer just translating from English to Russian in the active phase, as this fits in with the timing of what I’m already doing.

    Thanks,
    Wulfgar

  • Alfonso says:

    Ciao Luca, complimenti per le tue capacità linguistiche e grazie per i consigli e le tecniche che condividi.

    Io ho studiato l’ebraico per un paio d’anni seguendo inizialmente il metodo Assimil e successivamente immergendomi nella lingua con film, musica, chat, libri, audiobook ecc… Dopo di che ho completamente abbandonato questa lingua in cui avevo raggiunto un discreto livello per dedicarmi completamente allo studio del giapponese. Ora sono passati 2 anni, il giapponese è ad un discreto livello e mi piacerebbe riprendere l’ebraico senza però mettere da parte il giapponese.
    Puoi darmi qualche consiglio su come “resuscitare” l’ebraico e gestire il tempo tra le due lingue?

    Ti ringrazio
    Alfonso

  • Justin says:

    Hello luca! I have listened to many of your great insights to language learning. I believe you do not use any SRS software. I personally find that SRSing keeps me motivated and on track. I am trying to use your method by having my L1 translation on side A and the L2 on side B. I know it’s not your method but it keeps the L1-L2 aspect. I am new to doing this so I wonder if you have any opinions on this method?? I only speak 1 language so I always like input from people who went before me so to speak. 🙂

    • Luca, Thank you for the great information,and genuine helpful presentation. If you dont mind, I have a question.
      I am confused as to the translation component. My L2 is japanese. So if I was to use your method, I would listen to Japanese, Repeat Japanese, Then write in English, then write it in Japanese. Is that correct?
      Thank you for your help.

      • Luca says:

        Dear Daniel,

        that is correct.

        For this method to work well you need two ingredients: You have to know what to do and when to do it.

        I coudn’t do it justice in this short comment but you will find the whole time schedule in my book 🙂

        Take care,

        Luca

  • Manuel says:

    Hola Luca! quisiera saber cuanto tiempo te ha tomado aprender cada idioma con el método que utilizas. En estos momentos estos aprendiendo Inglés, y al igual que tú, me gustaría aprender otros idiomas más adelante luego de dominar el Inglés.

    • Monika says:

      Hello Luca, my name is Monika and I´m from the Czech Republic. I realy admire you, how many languages do you speak. I have been learning English more than 1 year, and my English is still bad. And when I saw your video, I realized, how important is a good method and technique. I know, that you´re very busy, but please, may I ask you, if is possible have some lesson with you through skype? I really want to thank you for everything what you do, that you share your experience in a such nice way, you´re very rare. With honest Monika

      • Luca says:

        Hi Monica. Thanks for the lovely words! If you want, I can contact you by sending you a PM and forwarding you all the details regarding the lessons. L

    • Luca says:

      Hola Manuel!

      No es facil dar una respuesta coerente a tu pregunta, ya que cada idioma es una aventura diferente. Te puedo decir que en general, con este entrenamiento (traduccion “back and forth”) tardo un ano y medio-2 aNos para llegar a charlar con fluidez.

      Luca

  • Go Suzuki says:

    Hello Mr. I am about to improve foreign languages in practice of myself and others centered in Japan. I am starting the act from blog.
    So your one can be a sample in the writing and applications including the moives.
    Could you have chat with me in skype or something whenever you feel free it? So that I will improve mandately and share also the progress to others time to time.

    Anyway I am going to watch your blog daily furhter.

  • Ciao Luca!! Come stai? Sebbene che siamo amici su Facebook, voglio chiederti un consiglio di come essere un buon proffesore delle lingue. Hai detto molte volte che le lingue non si insegnano, ma sono insegnati, una cosa così. Beh, credo che per te è più facile rispondere che su Facebook. Ma, al grano (come si dice in spagnolo). Sono appena nuovo in questo di essere un “proffesore”. Come nuovo, che consiglii tu mi puoi dare? Ossia, che devo fare per non sbagliarmi alla prima volta? A volte ho paura che sarò un proffesore bruttale!! E che non dia il materiale correto. Qual’è il tuo metodo, per quanto riguarda l’insegnanza di una lingua straniera?
    E mi imaggino che gagni soldi con il tuo blog. Solo ti dico questo perche sto cominciando il mio blog e voglio sapere quest’informazione.
    Se vuoi rispondermi in privatto, inviami un mail a: mexicanpolyglot91@hotmail.com; oppure sul mio Facebook oppure qui. Come voglia.
    E’ tutto e spero che mi abbia capito, heheh. Spero anche non avere un italiano bruttale! Abbraccio e ci vediamo dopo. Ciao!
    p.d. Puoi rispondermi in francese o in inglese o nelle tutte le lingue che abbiamo in comune!! 🙂

  • Jake says:

    Hello Luca,
    I am a 17 year old living in the U.S. One goal of mine is to learn a new language, or possibly more. German is probably nummber one on my list. I have seen your videos, and your method has really interested me, and seems to have worked well for you and for many others. I have some setbacks though, everyone where I live just speaks English and also when I try to get started with a language I lose focus and hardly achieve a few phrases. I was wondering if you had any tips to overcome these problems. Also when using your method how should I start using it the most efficient and effective way?

    Thanks,
    Jake

  • […] also combining Luca’s Full Circle Method with my Assimil German With Ease course by taking the German dialogue in the book, translating it […]

  • Monsieur Anglais says:

    Hi Luca,

    I think you would struggle to find somebody in the process of learning a foreign language for whom this wouldn’t be an educating analogy.

    I apologise if the answer to this question is obvious to many but it is one that I am keen to find the answer to. In the elementary phase where do you source the dialogues from? Do you need a specific audio file which is accompanied with a transcript so that you are able to reference the accuracy of your translations? Or do you simply not worry and listen to anything you can find (on youtube or a radio station in the target language) and go ahead and attempt the exercise?

    I have copies of books with parallel texts but there is no audio file. I’m sure these would be useful but obviously then you remove the listening, and therefore correct pronunciation, from the process.

  • Raul says:

    Hi, Luca!

    First of, I want to address the fact that I’m a native Spanish speaker. I’m Honduran. I started learning English when I was a seven-year-old. Then, when my family and I moved to the United States about three years ago, when I was seventeen.

    I started learning French in high school, and, on my senior year, I took a French “placement” test called CLEP, in which I score 63 out of 80. The score meant that I had reached an intermediate level in the language, and it automatically put me in an advanced level of college French. But I stopped to think if I really wanted to continue learning French at a college level. That fact is that, after having watched several of your YouTube videos and read some of your posts, I realized that, if I do earn a college degree in French, I may not be able to speak fluently, or at least not be able to communicate with native French speakers. So, I decided to look for the “Assimil” course, which for a lot of people, including you, it is an effective way of learning any of the languages it offers, at least to beginner and intermediate levels.

    By the way, I also have access to a course called “Michel Thomas Method,” which numerous people say it is by far the best language resource they’ve tried in the sense that they’re able to learn how to listen and speak in the language of their choice by the end of the such course. Some people say MTM and Assimil are quite the “combo” for studying languages. Others say that Pimsleur Approach is only good after you’ve finished MTM because Pimsleur is based on grammar more than anything else.

    I’m currently interested in perfecting my French and start learning Portuguese. In one of your articles you said something like spending about 70-80% of one’s time learning the harder language and around 20-30% on the easier one. To me, French would be the harder language, although not too hard now that I have a background. In any case, I believe I will start by using Assimil and MTM every day (I’m one of the most self-motivated people that I know of). Afterwards, when I finish both courses, I will continue with Pimsleur. Hopefully, by doing this, I will get good results in the long-run.

    Have you ever heard of the Michel Thomas Method? You should try using it as a supplement for the language that you’re currently studying.

    Would you mind giving me opinions and/or suggestions that can help me improve my language learning experience?

    Thank you,
    Raul

  • Chris says:

    Hello Luca,

    It’s always great coming back to your site for ideas, for both a student and teacher of languages. Thank you!

    I’ve made a start on my third language Spanish early last year by doing the Pimsleur courses, and I was wondering what might be your opinion about my current study method.

    At the moment I watch and listen a few times to very short dialogues on simple topics in Spanish, delivered by native speakers speaking normally. I usually try and copy the speaker as well.

    Then I translate form Spanish to English, and keep the sentences in Anki, a spaced repetition program that is like using flashcards. I see the English sentence come up and have to translate this into Spanish, and the program tells me how correct my translation is, and whether I need to see that card again or not to remember it.

    My question is, I don’t really do a re-translation back into English after the initial translation, and I’m wondering if this matters?

    If you had any other suggestions, that would be great. Your advice has really helped me improve the learning of many of my students studying Japanese, so thank you again!

    • admin says:

      Hi Chris. Let me copy and paste something I wrote here: http://womenlearnthai.com/index.php/part-one-an-easy-way-to-learn-foreign-languages/

      first of all, let me thank you for your kind words. The back-and-forth translations’s main goal is exactly this: to compare the 2 scripts and understand the “fabric”, the structure of the target language you want to learn THROUGH your mother tongue, or another language you know very well. No matter how different they are

      What you have to do consists of 2 main steps:

      1) ANALYSIS
      2) SYNTHESIS

      Analysis means that you have to analyse a script, which can be a very brief dialogue (beginners), a longer text (intermediate) or a newspaper article (advanced). Highlight the words that you don’t know and look them up on the vocabulary (on and/or offline) and write the corresponding meaning at the side of every word (in the very same paper). ASSIMIL is perfect for both the beginner and intermediate phases because you have bilingual texts, so that you can infer the meaning of the words in-context by simply looking at the corresponding translation on the right page. You can read and analyse (study) the dialogue (text,article) as much as you want. Then, after having read and analysed the text quite a few times (or when you feel ready), open a .doc file (you can write it on paper if you don’t like a computer screen) and by looking at the text in the target language (that is, by looking at your ASSIMIL left page) write it in your mother tongue on the doc.file. When you translate that text (reading Spanish on ASSIMIL and writing in German onto the .doc file in your case), you can help yourself with “some tricks”. As you said, if you come across an expression which is very different in both languages, do like ASSIMIL: write the right translation and add (in brackets) the literal one. When you hit phase 2) you’ll remember how to translate it correctly. I’ve been doing this with every language and it is extremely useful for chinese (see note below)*, which has sometimes sentences really difficult to translate “back and forth”

      2) A week later you’ll take the text that YOU have written (with some notes that YOU add to help yourself, as I told you) and try to translate it back into the target language. This is the synthesis and, as you will find out, it is a bit more difficult than simply analyzing a script

      With 1) and 2) you: acquire words (in context), learn how the two different languages interact, how they work. You also auto-correct yourself and in phase 2 you force your brain to work in a slightly different way: you don’t think in your language in order to produce output in another one, you do the opposite. By doing so, you learn how to express yourself DIRECTLY in the target language, because the final step, the one which creates the “full circle” is the second, the synthesis. It takes time, but it is extremely beneficial

      I don’t know if that is clear. The fact that it is evident in my head doesn’t (unfortunately) necesseraly mean that it is just as clear for others. I try my best to explain it and I’m seriously planning on making a video in this regard (among others which I hope will come out soon :-)) “to fill in the gaps”

      Luca

      * For example: 学习中文的意大利人越来越多”literally means “learning chinese (de) italians are more and more. So, when you read the sentence in chinese and you write it in english (step 1), you’ll write “italians who are learning chinese are more and more numerous” BUT you’ll add the literal translation in brackets (learning chinese (de) italians are more and more. When you will be translating that sentence from english to chinese it’ll be easier

      Read more: http://womenlearnthai.com/index.php/part-one-an-easy-way-to-learn-foreign-languages/#ixzz28WcURCWi

  • cristina says:

    Ciao Luca,
    ti ammiro moltissimo non solo per il tuo talento con le lingue, e anche per il tempo che dedichi al blog e per la tua modestia.
    Per quanto mi riguarda non ho contributi da dare sul come imparare una lingua ma ne avrei tanti sul come non cercare di farlo 
    Ho acquistato parecchi corsi che ho puntualmente abbandonato presto.
    E’ probabile che io non sia molto portata per le lingue, anche se ho imparato il sardo semplicemente ascoltando i miei genitori parlare tra loro, visto che con me parlavano italiano…
    Quasi un anno fa ho acquistato Assimil e cercando maggiori info su come usarlo mi sono imbattuta in questo blog.
    Non capisco come, dopo 5/6 mesi studiando tutti i giorni per 30/50 minuti sia possibile finire il corso, o meglio finirlo riuscendo a sostenere una conversazione o a capire gli articoli su internet ad es.
    Io dopo 11 mesi di studio, non sono in grado di farlo , anzi sto ripetendo il libro da capo e commetto ancora tanti errori.
    Volevo chiederti un consiglio: ritieni utile a questo punto integrare lo studio con un altro corso. Io ho sia Inglese io posso (audio/video tipo tv program/grammatica ed esercizi) e SpeaK Now (video sketch/grammatica esercizi) o è meglio finire bene assimil? Non capisco perché in questi corsi non ci siano mai consigli su come procedere.
    Spero che il tuo libro esca presto con tutti i dettagli, anche perché vorrei imparare francese e spagnolo partendo da Assimil naturalmente 
    Magari in futuro potresti valutare anche l’approfondimento dell’aspetto emotivo nel apprendimento delle lingue. C’è chi è estroverso, ama fare imitazioni e cattura la musicalità delle lingue e degli accenti e riesce subito a mettere insieme le poche parole che conosce per comunicare e chi (come me) che anzichè approfittare delle occasioni per comunicare si blocca completamente entrando nel panico
    In bocca al lupo per il tuo lavoro.
    Cristina

    • admin says:

      Ciao Cristina,

      ti ringrazio per i complimenti.

      Acquistare tanti corsi serve a poco o niente, uno finisce solo per disperdersi e confondersi nella “selva” di materiali che esistono sul mercato.

      Ti consiglio di continuare a studiare inglese con un sito che si chiama http://www.lingq.com.

      E’ un sito fantastico, in cui puoi scaricare on-line audio e relativi testi sugli argomenti più svariati. Ci sono alcune funzionalità a pagamento ma non devi sborsare un centesimo per quello che ti sto consigliando di fare. L’unico “problemino” è solo abituarsi all’interfaccia del sito (diciamo che non è molto ottimizzata), se hai problemi ti spedisco il link di alcuni tutorial su YouTube.

      Una volta risolto il problema del materiale, bisogna capire come usarlo.

      Io do lezioni private in cui insegno tecniche di apprendimento (le lezioni vengono registrate e quindi ti rimangono), nonché fornisco una vera e propria preparazione psicologica: attraverso svariate tecniche (che tra l’altro sono pure divertenti :-)) insegno allo studente come “sciogliersi”, e tirare fuori il massimo da ciò che sta imparando ed ha imparato. Infatti l’aspetto emotivo – come giustamente hai sottolineato – svolge un ruolo chiave che è spesso ignorato in quella che si definisce in termini tenici la “Glottodidattica”.

      Se non riesci ad aspettare il libro, ti posso spedire privatamente un messaggio con tutte le informazioni. Sennò, dovrai aspettare fino a giugno del prossimo anno 🙂

      Un abbraccio 🙂

      Luca

  • Coline says:

    Bonjour et bravo pour ce super blog!
    Je parle couramment 3 langues (français – anglais – italien) et je suis à un niveau intermédiaire pour le chinois et débutant pour l’hébreu.

    Pour ma part j’ai toujours aimé collectionner les manuels d’étude d’une langue, par plaisir (j’adore les méthodes de langue) mais aussi parce que cela me permet de réviser les mots acquis dans mon manuel de référence dans un autre contexte (je lis les textes des autres méthodes à voix haute sans regarder le reste de la leçon). L’idée de base étant que je ne travaille qu’avec UNE seule méthode mais que, en dehors des moments d’apprentissage dans ce manuel, je multiplie les occasions de rencontrer les nouveaux mots et nouvelles structures, afin de faciliter la mémorisation.

    Bien à vous, et encore félicitations!

  • Zoran says:

    Hello I am new here,and it is wery interesting,but I do not understand haw can I read for example Franch if I dont know anything?
    it sounds like mwfmohaopp wijfpi…
    Thank you!

    p.s sorry I wrote same mesage on youre thai blog I lost myself in links

  • Rolka says:

    Dear Luca,

    You are the best my teacher and motivator. At the beginning of my English study I used the very similar method that you described here and it helped me a lot. But I lost that way because lots of people where avouched that this is wrong way. Finally I agreed with them. But now I found you and know that I was right, that I must study only in this way because it’s working for a lot of people, not only for you.

    I’m waiting your book very much like Cristina and I’d like to get more information about how to maximize my English improvement. The worst thing is that there isn’t Assimil in my mother tongue, but I could use Russian version because I know it a little and I hope that it could help me.

    Thank You for your wonderful website and Your ideas!
    Rolka

  • Alberto says:

    hello luca ! i have a question for you , in your opinion is it different in terms of quality and results reading a novel aloud ( assuming that i already know the pronuciation of the langauge i am reading in )from reading it mentally along with the audio book ?

  • Josefine says:

    Hej Luca!

    Först och främst vill jag säga hur imponerad jag är över dina språkkunskaper. När jag först kom i kontakt med din blogg häromdagen måste jag medge att jag inte trodde att man kunde tillägna sig så många språk på den höga nivå som du tycks ha gjort. Men sedan lyssnade på några av dina videos på Youtube och inser att jag hade fel. Att du sedan har plockat upp svenska är ju ett extra plus i mina ögon.

    Now, if you have the time, I wonder if you can answer a question of mine. I wonder how you first start learning a new language. I have studied some Spanish and Italian at the University but I do not really know how to go about it on my own. I got hold of copies of Pimsleur’s Russian 1, 2, and 3 but I do not know what outcome to expect from taking those courses. And I do not have the accompanied reading material so I do not know how to start learning to read and write in Russian. How did you start?

    Yours sincerely,
    Josefine

  • Stu says:

    Hi Luca,

    Great blog and fantastic methods! Thanks for sharing!

    I have two brief questions, one of which refers to the last readers’ posts. I know you’re super busy so whenever you get a chance 😉

    1) – Firstly, I think ‘Alberto’ raised a good point in terms of reading aloud. Perhaps reading out loud along with listening to the audio book version would be a beneficial multi-faceted absorption approach? I often read aloud even in the early days of a language, I find it really useful and was wondering if you think it’s a good idea to do it in your ‘elementary stage’ of input ? I was also curious about your remark ”as long as you know how to do it”… :-/

    2) – Lastly, in your elemental stage (and intermediate stage) would you practice speaking in tandem with your methods ? Assimil and Lingq as you mention are great but do you think it’s a good idea to do this along with speaking practice on a site like “Verbling”..

    Thanks! I’m a big fan of your blog and always recommend you on my blog whenever I can! 😉

    Cheers,
    Stuart

    • admin says:

      Dear Stu,

      thanks for the comment.

      1. Yes, reading out loud is indeed a good exercise, no matter the phase/stage you find yourself it. It sets your facial muscles (mouth-throat-lips apparatus) in motion. Generally, learning how to read properly is the first step towards speaking with the right intonation. Knowing how your mothertongue (L1) works in terms of intonation is a huge help if you want to “adapt” to/learn the intonation system of your target language (L2). Then you have to figure out the so-called “intonation patterns” in your L2. Once you these two things, nothing can stop you 🙂 I have great experience in this since a lot of my students specifically request that I train them in this kind of activity, but it is not easy to explain it in a comment 🙂

      2) Yes. The more varied your activities are, the better. It all comes down to finding a good balance between passive and active activities. At the very beginning, I would suggest you dedicate 20% of your time to active exercise (speaking writing) and 80% to passive activities (reading, listening). As time goes by, you can speak and write more and more, because it becomes easier and more enjoyable.

      Good luck!

      Luca

  • Carolina L. says:

    Ciao Luca,
    My problem is retaining a language that I do not practice regularly (or at all since I learned it). I learned Italian 7 years ago in the Dominican Republic (where I’m from), but didn’t have a chance to practice it. Nor can I practice it in the U.S. It is very hard for me to find people with whom I can practice. I am forgetting almost everything relating to Italian and I was only able to practice it with real Italians just last year when I went to different cities in Italy. I noticed I used to be able to write essays fairly easily after learning, but now I can barely keep up with a conversation. Also, I found one of those essays and there were parts I did not understand.
    My question to you is, how do I go back to the level of proficiency I used to have? Most courses, books, etc. I find are very simplistic and are designed for beginners. If it is too easy for me, it bores me. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    I really don’t want to get to the point that I forget everything.

    Thanks, Caro

    PS: I believe I am not as dedicated as you in learning because it is hard for me to do something every day, or create a routine of some sort.

    • admin says:

      Hi Carolina

      The fastest way to speak italian again is..to speak it

      Go to this site: http://www.sharedtalk.com

      You will find plenty of people willing to chat with you in exchange for another language (Spanish/English)

      Also, use this site for input: http://www.lingq.com. You can find a lot of interesting stuff in Italian and above all you can choose the podcasts that interest you

      A great balance between Input + output > success

      Keep at it, Italian will come back very fast if you are consistent and learn a bit every day

      L

  • lili says:

    hi.thank you for your brilliant help!i`m not an English speaker.i`m trying to learn it.i need an article about the effect of texts memorizing on language fluency.would you help me to find the topic?please help me.thanks a million.

  • Ismael says:

    Hola Luca, realmente aprecio todos los consejos que nos ofreces para aprender idiomas, pero me gustaría hacerte una pregunta respecto a la traducción de una lengua a otra, ¿ cuantas veces tu traduces un documento de una lengua a otra?, por ejemplo ahora me encuentro aprendiendo Alemán, estoy intentando traducir contenido de principiante que encontré en LINGQ , a mi lengua materna español, sin embargo me gustaría saber si en tu opinión el traslado de un idioma a otro se debe hacer varias veces, o solo una vez por contenido.

  • Michael says:

    In my opinion it would be especially helpful to prepare a list of activities to practice and to master a daily life topic with vocabulary on it. Can you prepare a list of real life topics in order of importance for yourself with a detailed plan to master each topic (by developing your listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary skills)?

    You can make a plan of issues (list main ideas or key concepts) to cover each topic comprehensively in terms of its content. As you know a daily life topic, for example “Shopping” includes various situations, concepts and issues related to the topic.

    Always try to think of potential situations and issues connected with a topic that may be important to you or you may encounter and how to best express your thoughts.

    I believe it’s a good idea to learn and to practice each daily life topic comprehensively (thoroughly) before proceeding to the next topic as I described in my English learning article “Logical mastering of a daily life topic in English”. Thought-through (selective) content on each topic for practice based on one’s needs is necessary to first encompass relevant content for one’s needs as there is an enormous amount of diverse content in language resources.

  • Alberto Sánchez says:

    Hi Luca:

    What kind of schedule do you recommend for advanced learners?

    For example:

    Day 1: read, listen and translate a text from L2 to L1.

    Day 2: translate the last day text from L1 to L2.

  • Aldiyar says:

    Luca, i have been learning spanish in a different way mostly by reading books, and watching movies, and i have progressed in a sense that i can understand the language without much effort. But it’s still hard for me to speak it. I like your suggestion of translating back and forth. But for me who have moved through the first stages of learning not by your method and who has quiet a gap between speaking and reading and listening ability, which level of complexity of texts would you suggest? Should i translate newspaper articles?Currently i am doing what people call “input method” of learning , just doing passive activities like reading and listening, and what is your opinion about the “input method” which is also quiet popular in the internet? Will it suffice that i only read and listen to reach to a good level of fluency? I am thinking whether should i incorporate into my activities something new. And one more question Luca, doesn’t your method go contrary to the “immersion” thing, that you are translating from your language to the target and vice versa, i mean that there’s still translating in the process and there’s still your native language involved. Please help me)

    • Dafiu says:

      I have the same problem with english. And i don’t know how to equalize the level of listening, reading and speakig.

  • Pramono says:

    hi Luca,
    i am a big fan of your blog. I wanna ask you about back forth translation. You use usually bilingual books to start, italian and the target language. In my case, It’s hard to find a book like assimil in my mother tongue, Bahasa Indonesia / Indonesian. Instead, I use the book with English version(English-the target language I learn). I grab the meaning of the target language through English, a language I already know. So, what is your suggestion? And how does back-forth translation work in my case?
    Thanks.

    Greetings from a country where thousands of islands lie off, hundreds of tribes and ethnics exist, and hundreds of languages are spoken, Indonesia.

    • Enstein says:

      Hello Pramono,
      If I may, I’d like to respond to yours, as somewhat your situation is happened to me too. I think it’s not really a big problem as I can see from my point of view, if your English is already good enough to grasp the whole things, so just use English as if it was your mother-tongue (L1). Keep going through with your Assimil, and translating the L2 to the L1 (English), and then translate back again to the L2. Since there’s not much of materials in Indonesian that good enough as well as Assimil does. It’s great for your English comprehension too. So from now on, I suggest that you live in your language learning as an ‘English-Man’, treat the English as your first language. Because most of the materials online and books are available in English. Doesn’t matter if you still make a lot of mistakes on the language, because I believe it will get easier in time.

      By the way, I’m also Indonesian. Cheers. 🙂

      Enstein

  • Angelique says:

    Dear Luca,

    Thank you for the great post and insight on non-native language acquisition. I’d really like to study a bunch of languages starting with French, Italian, German, and Russian (perhaps with the addition of Portuguese and Dutch). What combinations (mentioned “easy” and “difficult” language pairings) would you recommend?

    Thank you in advance!

    Kind regards,
    Angelique

  • Giliarde says:

    Hello Luca, I just found your site and it’s very interesting, I wish you can keep developing and sharing your studies on internet.

    I’m Brazilian and Italian (double citizenship), so I can speak Portuguese (as native) and Italian (fluent), and English (what I use all the time at work). My goal is to go to study and live in Europe in the next year, so this year I began studying German to increase my chances in finding a good work there and also because I have always wanted to (learn German).

    I read that you found learning German a challenge, and I shall tell you that it’s been a challenge for me too, I’m sure that if I were studying Spanish or French, I’d be able (or almost) to talk to a native, but German… well, well, well, it’s really full of rules and particularities that sometimes seem not to make sense, I realized I had to begin learning words (currently 4 to 5 words a day), conjugating verbs, and just after I feel a little more comfortable with it, to it, learn the declination (which until now has been the most crazy thing for me).

    What do you think about my method, does it sound ok? I believe that when I come to live in Europe, it will be easier because I’ll have more contact with German, right? Do you know any program that I could get to live in Germany in order to study but also with a work that I can sustain myself there?

    Thank you very much for your attention,
    Até mais!

  • Lucia says:

    Hola Luca, te felicito, me encantó leer todos los comentarios y tus respuestas…. desde pequeña me ha gustado aprender lenguas extranjeras, he estudiado Ingles, francés y Chino Mandarin, pero siempre he tenido una dificultad que quisiera me ayudaras a superar, yo no necesito otro idioma diferente al nativo para mi trabajo, entonces no los uso y no he encontrado la forma ni la motivación para practicar más y aprender otros idiomas, qué me sugieres? que puedo hacer para retomar los idiomas y disfrutar el proceso de aprender una nueva lengua? Thank you so much, I love foreign languages!!!

  • Learning any language takes time and patience. Try different methods to see what works best for you.

  • Emma says:

    Question! What do you mean by “studying 1-2 hours max”? I mean, I usually read in the language I’m learning, watch movies, listen to the radio/music… Is that included? Or do you mean studying grammar, doing exercises, taking classes…

  • Alex says:

    Dear Luca,

    as always, thank you for your great advice! It’s a blessing for such a weird case as mine – even though I’ve learned English as a second language to a high degree of near-native fluency, I don’t really remember how exactly it happened and never really succeeded in acquiring any other foreign language. All the insight that you’re sharing with us is helping me recall the process and identify the patterns in my daily activity which over the years magically made me speak English.

    I have a question (or two), though. Say, I have a text in my TL, I want to translate it into my L1 on day 3, and retranslate into TL on day 7. Should I look at the original text on any other days in order to revise it, especially after day 3? If I do, it may happen that as a side effect I will simply remember the whole text – as stored in my short-term memory, and that’s not exactly what we aim for, isn’t it?

    As for my second question – when is your book due? 🙂 Can I expect to be able to buy the ebook around Christmas?

    Z pozdrowieniami,
    Ola

  • Ryan Anderson says:

    Hi! I have recently taken an interest in learning German. I have watched many of your videos, but I’m still unsure where to officially START. I am a beginner and have not began learning yet because I do not want to start learning the wrong way. What I want to know, for now, is what should be my FIRST step? Should I look for a language learning application on my phone, should I buy a book, should I listen to lectures or stories through my phone, etc.? I have enjoyed watching your videos and I am truly inspired by what you are doing. Any type of answer would be much appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Ryan

    • admin says:

      Dear Ryan,

      choose a language series (if you can’t find it in our own country you can order it on-line). I highly recomment ASSIMIL, but there are other language series such as Colloquial. Then you have to learn how to use it (which plays a difference). Also, sign up to http://www.lingq.com and download beginner’s podcasts (audio and script). That’s your first step: a book + a specific website. Don’t buy too much stuff just choose only 2 good resources and use them consistently for the first 3-6 months. I hope this helps 🙂

      Luca

  • Daniel says:

    Hi Luca!
    Amazing website – a lot of very useful information. I’ve got few questions. On the “womenlearnthai.com” website are your articles about way to learning thai (listen, read, repeat, translate and translate back). Did you use that method for all languages that you have already learnt? Is it really that effective way to learn any language? But what about learning grammar? Is necessary learning it from books? Can I listen, read, and translate on the same day? Are such long as in example periods (days 1-5: Listen, read, and repeat,day 6: Listen, read, and repeat…) needful?

    I admire you :)- 9 languages. I try to learn English, but despite 8 years of education in school I’m not satisfied. I concluded, that I need to have appropriate method. I hope that your tips will be what I need.

    Good luck!

  • anderson says:

    Oi Luca…tudo bem? gostaria que você fosse mais claro em relação a tradução. Como traduzir???? Eu falo port e quero aprender inglês. Como eu traduzo as frases??? do ing para o port ou do port para ing???? espero sua resposta. abraço..

  • Chris says:

    Hi Luca!

    Just recently bought your 8 hour course. Amazing content. But still I am struggeling with the timeframe for Assimil:

    In the course you mentioned to retranslate the transcript after 3 days. So what to learn in these 3 days, only one lesson and attack it from different angles? Assimil recommends 1 lesson per day? You don’t?

    Could you just give a short explanation for a weekly timeframe of how many lessons to learn and when to repeat?

    Great content and a pleasure to have you share all your knowledge, I really appreciate it!

    Thanks

    Chris

  • Manoela Calabresi says:

    Dear Luca,

    I just found this website and I love it! I read many of your posts and I am going to try your method. My target language now is Italian 🙂 cause my grandpa was from Italy and I always wanted to learn his language.

    But the thing is, I already speak English, Spanish and French. I have to say that my Spanish isn’t that good anymore cause since I started learning French I mix too much the languages and when I try speaking in Spanish French words come out of my mouth (very frustrating). So my question is how do I learn Italian without mixing it with the other languages I know, especially because I want to continue my studies in French (I have reached level C1, but want to have a C2 certificate).
    How do you manage to practice the languages you are already fluent and the new ones?

    Thanks a lot for all of your precious tips!

    Regards from Brazil,

    Manoela Calabresi

    • admin says:

      Hi Manoela

      To briefly answer your question:

      I work with languages all day long, so I get the change of using 6-7 on a daily basis. I tend to stay in contact with the languages I already know but speak less daily, even just 10 minutes a day. Even watching the news for 10 minutes will do the trick. When you have more than 5-6 languages under your belt, the secret is to do a little bit of each language every day.

      L

  • Francis says:

    Luca, napakatalino mo. Hinahangaan kita (try to figure what language is this, hehe)
    I am really addicted in learning languages. However, I can’t really focus much on learning the languages because of other priorities. Your tips are awesome. I keep on watching your videos to develop strategies on how I will effectively learn the languages Korean, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese despite my busy life.
    After Asian languages, I’ll definitely study European languages.

  • Kelli says:

    Could you email me a sample/example of what you mean by translating the dialogue into your language then into the language to intend to learn, please? Thanks

  • Carmen W says:

    Hello , at first i would like to compliment you for your hard work and great website, it really helps me alot. ^^ thanks alot.
    I have a question, I learn Korean by myself for a little more then 2 years now, but i stopped for a couple of times because of the motivation ㅠㅠ still one of my biggest dreams is to be nearly fluent in it….. i wanna pick it up again but dont know well how to motivate myself again? And what will be a good method for me…. i visited korea for 3 times already and sometimes i am able to talk well and on other situations i feel not confident enough.. HELP HELP!

    Greetings Carmen

  • Pablo says:

    Hej,
    wiem, że uczysz się języka polskiego, więc postanowiłem napisać w tym języku. Mam pytanie odnośnie Twojej metody nauki języka: jeżeli słuchasz, czytasz, a następnie tłumaczysz tekst, to czy później uczysz się go na pamięć ? Czy uczysz się tylko pojedynczych słówek ?
    Pozdrawiam

  • ideamost says:

    How do I learn to Chinese? TalkingLearn — Learn Chinese. TalkingLearn — Learn Chinese is an app to learn to speak Chinese. Get TalkingLearn — Learn Chinese in http://www.talkinglearn.com/ for free. Why is TalkingLearn — Learn Chinese unique? TalkingLearn — Learn Chinese contains many daily dialogues. Each topic includes different levels of dialogues for different learners. With TalkingLearn — Learn Chinese, you can learn to speak Chinese on your phone or pad.

  • harry says:

    thanks luca
    you saying that reading/listening is the main part of your learning…
    give me confidence because i find these parts very doable/possible/easy

    you giving advice as an expert have revealed how its very possible to learn many languages

    grazie mille amico

  • Mélissa says:

    Hi, I’m french and I want to learn Spanish

    Reading and Listening is possible when you reach the intermediate stage, but what if you just started learning a new language from scratch… What do you start with?? I feel like the most difficult part is the begining of the learning process (I just started learning Spanish, I can’t even understand a simple instruction)

  • Shailesh says:

    Always good to see you Winser! I have not yet succeeded in gneittg Emlyn to start teaching Welsh in Beijing, but I will keep trying!I like the idea of him teaching business Welsh to Chinese businessmen who are looking to buy coal mines in Wales.

  • maltereiter says:

    Ich bin durch den Beitrag im Babbel Newsletter auf dich aufmerksam geworden. Danke für deine Tipps!

    Ich hab vor ein paar Tagen angefangen spanisch zu lernen, da ich im März zu einem Fest Namens Fallas de Valencia möchte. In der Schule war ich im lernen, vor allem Sprachen sehr schlecht und hatte keine Freude daran. Jetzt mache ich es freiwillig und anders als in der Schule 🙂 Mal sehen wie das Ergebnis wird.

    Viele Grüße aus Deutschland
    Malte

  • Fendy1 says:

    This is interesting. It is a good idea to say something and then to try an translate into another language. Japanese, for example! これは面白い!最初に何かを考え、そしてそれをほかの言語に訳するのがいい考えだっと思います。たとえば、英語。終わりです。

  • HarvestRoad says:

    Riktigt häftigt, du är en stjärna!
    Jag ska köra din metod för att lära mig franska, då blir kanadensiska flickvännen glad 😉

  • Marc says:

    Hi everyone… for a complete method to learn any language easily, I found this website which isn’t bad: http://www.learnlanguagesonyourown.com

  • […] same one that I’ve used to learn nearly a dozen others. It is centered around a technique I call bilingual translation. This technique brings me immense joy as a learner, and many students of mine have learned to love […]

  • Amanda França Santos says:

    Olá Luca. Tenho visto os seus vídeos e artigos e tem sido bem interessante ver como você chegou a esse nível de fluência em tantas línguas. Eu estou morando nos Estados Unidos há um ano e consegui desenvolver um inglês tão bom que as pessoas daqui não percebem mais que sou estrangeira. Isso me impulsionou ainda mais a aperfeiçoar a língua, afinal sempre há palavras a se aprender todos os dias. Agora que domino duas línguas, passei a aprender francês e com 4 meses de aulas (3 horas por semana) consigo entender, ler e falar num nível intermediário. O meu ponto é: você acha que depois de se desafiar com uma segunda língua, as subsequentes ficam mais fáceis de aprender ou não? E, mudando um pouco o assunto, por que você decidiu aprender português de Portugal e não o brasileiro? Merci 🙂

  • Dash Ibr says:

    Hey Luca.

    During my 6 months of learning Spanish, I’ve only used listening, writing, repeating and a bit of speaking. I did all the translation in my head and didn’t write down anything as I was and still using Duolingo so, I just screenshot any words/sentences that I most likely to forget.

    However, despite doing the same thing every single day, there are words I still can’t remember and even if I do remember, I forgot what it means. Don’t get me started on grammar haha. I know I’m missing something here, but couldn’t figure out what. Do you have any advice about that?

    • Sami says:

      for those words in your black list, give them some time . for each word make a link between the word and the meaning spend enough time with them, make them your friends. you will not forget your friends

  • […] na TV sobre uma série linguística em 4 idiomas e decidi experimentar. Ao usá-la eu descobri o meu método : uma técnica especial para absorver os padrões básicos de qualquer idioma de forma leve, natural […]

  • Makaia Stonewell says:

    Hello, Luca!

    I am an English speaker, but other languages have always intrigued me. I have been studying Spanish for about one year, but now I want to take up German, too. Is it too soon to start learning two? I want to be the tortoise, but it seems to be going so fast…

    You did say that it would be okay to learn two languages at the same time, as long as they are different enough. I think that Spanish and German are different enough, but I’m not sure. What would you suggest for me?

    • Kamiel Choi says:

      Hello, I take the liberty to reply because I learned German and Spanish. Both languages “came” to me while living in Berlin and Latin America, respectively.
      I think they are far enough apart to take up German. Suerte, Viel Erfolg !

    • Luca Lampariello says:

      Hi Makaia.

      Yes, Spanish and German are different enough so that’s a good choice.

      Remember though, while choosing 2 languages which are different from one another is definitely a good choice to avoid mixing them up, but it is not the only factor which make you successful.

      What REALLY counts is

      1) To have a strong reason to learn both of them

      2) Make a solid schedule and make sure you learn them both on a regular basis (best if you learn both every day)

      Good luck 🙂

      Luca

  • […] technique to absorb the basic patterns of any language in a light, natural and fun way. This method came to me organically, and I quickly realised that it was effective for me. After using it for a […]

  • Brian says:

    Hi Luca!

    I have been following you for years and often come back to your videos for motivation. Thank you.

    When translating a somewhat complex sentence from L2 to L1 (no bilingual text) do you prefer to make the L1 translation sound “native-sounding” or do you make it “match” the structure of the L2 (even if it may sound odd)?

    I am sure you have experienced this with Japanese 🙂 Currently, I am studying Korean and am a native English speaker.

    그림도 보고 결훈식도 할 수 있는 지하철역을 아세요?
    literal translation: pictures also and marraige can train station know?
    A. Art and training station where you can be married do you know?
    B. Do you know of train stations where you can see art and even get married?

    Would you translate to A where it matches the structure of the original L2?
    or
    Would you translate to B where it sounds smooth to an English speaker?
    and
    Why?

    Thank you so much for your time, Luca!

    Brian

  • […] che entra in gioco teacher Cate (Caterina Romano su Facebook), che ha inventato un metodo di insegnamento tutto suo, una tecnica speciale che consente di assorbire le strutture di base di […]

  • Damo Neimad says:

    Hi Luca

    Thank you for sharing all of your hard earned information with us all. Much appreciated.
    I do have a question though, and i hope it isn’t one that has been already covered.
    My question is – What is the procedure for translating back and forth from L2 to L1? Do you translate from memory, or do you use a dictionary or something similar?
    Thanks 🙂

  • […] che parlava di corsi a puntate da comprare in edicola… ed è stato così che ho inventato il mio metodo: una tecnica speciale per assorbire le strutture di base di ogni lingua in un modo leggero, […]

  • […] fascículos en 4 idiomas y decidí darles una oportunidad. Mientras los usaba, topé con mi propio método: una técnica especial para absorber los patrones de los diferentes idiomas de manera natural, […]

  • […] fascículos en 4 idiomas y decidí darles una oportunidad. Mientras los usaba, topé con mi propio método: una técnica especial para absorber los patrones de los diferentes idiomas de manera natural, […]

  • Karlijn says:

    Hi Luca, thank you for all the information you are sharing, I find it very useful and inspiring! I am trying to learn Slovenian at the moment and I wonder if you have any tips for learning a language that is spoken by only a small amount of people? I find it quite hard to find ways to listen/watch slovenian or to get to know more about the structure of the language.

    Thank you!

  • Paige Keane says:

    Hey Luca! Do you recommend Assimil for intermediate Russian speakers as well?

  • […] An easy way to learn foreign languages […]

  • […] technique to absorb the basic patterns of any language in a light, natural and fun way. This method came to me organically, and I quickly realised that it was effective for me. After using it for a […]

  • […] technique to absorb the basic patterns of any language in a light, natural and fun way. This method came to me organically, and I quickly realised that it was effective for me. After using it for a […]

  • […] technique to absorb the basic patterns of any language in a light, natural and fun way. This method came to me organically, and I quickly realised that it was effective for me. After using it for a […]

  • Great question.

    Wayne

  • […] technique to absorb the basic patterns of any language in a light, natural and fun way. This method came to me organically, and I quickly realised that it was effective for me. After using it for a […]

  • […] technique to absorb the basic patterns of any language in a light, natural and fun way. This method came to me organically, and I quickly realised that it was effective for me. After using it for a […]

  • […] technique to absorb the basic patterns of any language in a light, natural and fun way. This method came to me organically, and I quickly realised that it was effective for me. After using it for a […]

  • […] في عرض تجربته الفريدة على بضعة جوانب قد تختلف عن الدرب المعتاد في […]

  • vecuccio says:

    I dunno man. You write down your 4 key components as if they enabled anyone to just magically learn a language. You don’t seem to consider that perhaps you are just an exceptionally gifted person, a Mozart of languages, and what seems easy to you is gibberish to everyone else.

  • […] technique to absorb the basic patterns of any language in a light, natural and fun way. This method came to me organically, and I quickly realised that it was effective for me. After using it for a […]

  • […] technique to absorb the basic patterns of any language in a light, natural and fun way. This method came to me organically, and I quickly realised that it was effective for me. After using it for a […]

  • […] في عرض تجربته الفريدة على بضعة جوانب قد تختلف عن الدرب المعتاد في […]

  • Alex Anderson says:

    Hello dear Luca,

    There is a minor mistake (a typo) in one of the sentences of this page of your Website (http://www.thepolyglotdream.com/an-easy-way-to-learn-foreign-languages/).

    In the “Preparation” section of this page, on the sixth paragraph, you have written:

    “In will develop these ideas in subsequent blogs.”

    If I’m not wrong, you should have written:

    “I will develop these ideas in subsequent blogs.”

    Thank you for your attention and have a great time.

    Kind regards,
    Alex

  • […] في عرض تجربته الفريدة على بضعة جوانب قد تختلف عن الدرب المعتاد في […]

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