Steve's Tips, The importance of phrases

image

Few people try as hard to learn languages as I do. My bookshelves are full of books, tapes, and CDs in French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Swedish, Portuguese, and others I have not yet started including Arabic and Russian. I download content to listen to on my MP3 player. The simple content is easy to understand but it does not get me very far, and it is boring because it is not real. The natural language content like radio interviews, literature etc. is interesting, however, I miss a lot. Some parts I do not understand no matter how often I listen. If I read, it is simply too much trouble to look new words up in a dictionary. And even if I do look them up often I do not really know the meaning. And I forget them, or I do not really know how to use them myself ...

To read and listen to the full text, login or sign up for a free account.

Want to learn a language?
Learn from this text and thousands like it on LingQ.

  • A vast library of audio lessons, all with matching text
  • Revolutionary learning tools
  • A global, interactive learning community.

Few people try as hard to learn languages as I do. My bookshelves are full of books, tapes, and CDs in French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Swedish, Portuguese, and others I have not yet started including Arabic and Russian. I download content to listen to on my MP3 player. The simple content is easy to understand but it does not get me very far, and it is boring because it is not real. The natural language content like radio interviews, literature etc. is interesting, however, I miss a lot. Some parts I do not understand no matter how often I listen. If I read, it is simply too much trouble to look new words up in a dictionary. And even if I do look them up often I do not really know the meaning. And I forget them, or I do not really know how to use them myself. It is all quite frustrating and prevents me from learning more languages. I know I can work on feel and pronunciation by doing a lot of listening. But that is not enough. I want to increase my vocabulary and accuracy. I want to do it fast and efficiently.

That is why I developed The Linguist system, to make language learning efficient. One day I will use the Linguist system to learn new languages or improve in languages I already know.

What is the most efficient way to learn a new language like English? Learning grammar is not an efficient way to learn a new language. Reading lists of "important words" is not efficient. Looking words up in a dictionary is not efficient. Memorizing text is not efficient. What is efficient? Learning words and phrases in their natural context is efficient. Let me explain.

Each situation where you need English is unique and unpredictable. Most sentences you will use will be unique and will depend on the needs of a particular situation. You cannot just learn how to check into a hotel or go to the post office and hope that the situation you face there will be like the dialogue in your textbook. And there are so many possible situations, many more than the post office and the train station and the hospital and all the scenarios that you find in textbooks.

You need flexible tools. First you need to learn words, many words, words for every situation. The Linguist helps you to learn words, efficiently and systematically and in context. But that is not enough. You also need to learn how these words come together to make sense in English. That is why you need to learn phrases.

Phrases are groups of words that naturally belong together. Typically these phrases are 2-5 words long. The same phrases are used over and over. These phrases are based on how the native speakers put words together. Some words belong together in certain situations and some do not. You have to combine the words you have learned in a certain way so that the meaning is clear. A native speaker knows how different words come together naturally. A learner does not have this sense and needs to develop it.

It is when you get the phrases right that your English will be fluent, not when you have learned all the rules of grammar. At The Linguist, we place great emphasis on learning phrases. The importance of phrases is widely recognized. The Linguist is the first system created which speeds up the learning of phrases in their natural context.

You will notice that these phrases come from our content items. You should always learn phrases from real content. That way your comprehension will improve dramatically. You will also get a natural sense for how to use the phrases. At The Linguist I want you to save phrases to your database for regular review and study.

When you save a new word, try saving the phrase with it sometimes. It will help you remember how the word is used and what it means. It reinforces your learning.

If you have trouble with prepositions, or the use of the article, or verb tenses, then you should save phrases that can help you get a feel for how to overcome these problems. If you regularly review your phrases you will start to notice them in all your reading and listening. You will understand English better. Soon you will be able to use these phrases in your own writing and speaking. You will make fewer mistakes with prepositions, articles and verb tenses. Soon your use of vocabulary will become more natural.

Learn phrases to get a natural feel for the language!

Start learning new languages, simply and easily