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"Learn a second language" is on almost everyone's bucket list. This Lifehacker reader has it down to a science.
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28 comments
 
meh, learning a 2nd language is a 3 year old's task ;p
 
What testing protocol did he use to determine his fluency level? 400 vocabulary is not consistent with a C level fluency.
 
Very useful information. Now I'll have to try it to see if it really works. Habla espanol? No comprendo!
 
+Bill Diamond I'd say if you can think in a language, then you are fluent in it. That is no translation between primary & secondary languages required
 
I know I have it, when I think in it and forget my english for a bit. but there's no one to speak a foreign language with here. I live in small town america.
 
+Bill Diamond I did not see where he said he stuck with only 400 vocabulary words. There are several stages mentioned in the article.
 
I will try this to refresh my long forgotten languages
 
+Brenna Bliss He stated that he worked with flash cards to acquire a vocabulary of 400 words. In a formal program, that might cover the first six weeks.
I'm not hand waving and asserting this was the entirety of his method but it's not consistent with my experience as a linguist. I'm interested in how he established his fluency level.
 
+Akshay Bist That's a reasonable approach. As a young linguist, I went months at a time without speaking English. When I did hear American English, it was like hearing a foreign language. Thirty years ago, this may have been easier. I didn't own a television then. Now, we are so interconnected and English is nearly unavoidable.
 
IDIOT!! That is totally what you are dummy head
 
Excellent article. Really wanting to learn Spanish, but it's kickin my butt so far =(
 
+Bill Diamond 400 words was the basic flash card introduction in step 2. By the end of stage 4 the target is several thousand words. He doesn't say that the 400 words from the flash cards is sufficient for C1 fluency. In fact he says that even 2000 words, while covering around 80%, is not enough for fluency.
From following the link to his website, I found that his fluency was graded through Middlebury Language Schools.
 
Ok, I'm skeptical. There's nothing astoundingly revolutionary about his technique (basically four stages: basics, vocab flashcards, reading/writing/listening studies, then full-time vocal immersion -- all while avoiding english as much as possible). Yet he claims a much faster rate of learning than any other language learning program I've seen (from beginner to C1 or "advanced" proficiency in 6 months!?.
 
+Bill Diamond He does mention that you add to the vocab flashcards over time, starting around 400 and moving up to around 5000, plus additional "passive" vocab from reading studies. But like you I am skeptical as to actually being able to go from rank beginner to C1 in such a short time, even with full-time intense studying.
 
While I am by no means an expert, I have been teaching myself Spanish for the last few years, and I can honestly say that the most important thing when it comes to success is confidence and motivation. Nothing else will help you. You can make Anki decks of 10,000 words, buy every level of Rosetta Stone, even hire a private tutor, but none of it will do anything for you if you don´t have the motivation and desire to go out there and use the language. I have read every article out there by someone who learned 5 languages in a year and I have no doubt that it is possible, but there are no magic tricks and no easy solutions. If you want to learn another language, you have to dedicate yourself to it. This does not mean transforming your whole life around. It just means you have to put in the effort. Good luck.
 
If programming languages counted I would be a master linguist! :-P
 
ditto James. I've been teaching myself Spanish and Greek, and in HS i had Arabic and German (both lost in youth and cheating on tests). The revolutionary 'method' is actually immersing yourself in it. I agree with the recommendation to watch TV shows that you already like that is dubbed in target language. I like kids shows like sesame street, dexters lab, because I already know the context. now I just have to listen for the words. I need to write more. I like his recommendation to write even boring things like grocery lists. I should do that more often. it's all about motivation
 
I always write my grocery list in Spanish....sometimes makes things a little tricky when I am wandering the aisles...hahaha...but you're right...any way that you can add the language to your day will help. I have a Spanish blog that I write in several times a week. It's probably not perfect, but it has helped me greatly!
 
Nice I am learning malaysian for my online suami cinta for a game called Perfect World thru Citacat it is a great online tool to learn malaysian!
 
Im learning french right now, but i know korean, english, spanish, sign language, and chinese.
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