In language learning the ratio is more like 95-5, which means that native speakers only use 5%
of the words, 95% of the time.
You see, languages contain hundreds of thousands of words but only a fraction of them are used daily by native speakers, and you only need a fraction of these words for your first conversations.
Besides that, your first conversations in a new language will always be the same.
You’ll be asked questions like;
- What’s your name?
- Where are you from?
- What do you do here?
- Do you live here?
- For how long have you been studying....?
Just learning a few answers to these questions by heart is not enough. You want to be able to construct your own sentences and speak naturally, right?
To create your first sentences you need important pronouns like: I and you; verbs like, can, do, want, be, have and a few nouns to get started.
But, just learning these important words isn’t quite enough…
At school or in traditional language courses you learn lots of words. Yet, most people can’t hold conversations in their target language after they finish their course.
Because to speak a language fluently you need to become good at two things:
1. You need to know a lot about the language. That means that you need to know many words and you need to know how the grammar works.
2. But what’s even more important, and what most people forget is that you need to know how to use these words and grammar rules in real, natural conversations.
So it’s not so much about “how much you know”, but about how well you can use what you’ve learned.
Which will help you communicate effectively with those around you and genuinely express who you are.
You see, learning a language is not just about learning a bunch of words. Your fluency is going to depend on how well and quickly you can put the words and grammar you know together.
At school we learn a lot of words and grammar. The problem is that we don’t spend enough time practicing what we have learned.
We don’t spend enough time constructing sentences that are personal to us.
Just learning is not enough, you need to activate what you learn inside your brain.
In other words: you use it, or you lose it!
By using what you’ve learned you aren’t just less likely to forget new words, you also train your brain to quickly produce sentences in your new language.
If you practice doing this long enough, you’ll eventually become fluent.