Good language learner

By Ursula Kallio / 2018-01-23 / In categories Posts

german

Good language learner

Learning language when no one is looking

People have long told me that I am good at language learning. How does such a person fare at language learning, especially when no one is looking? As of January 2018, I have dedicated a large chunk of my day to learning German. In 2015, I successfully passed a B1 German exam. In 2016, I half failed and half passed a B2 exam. The vocabulary gap between B1 and B2 German feels enormous, and it is the largest that I have experienced while studying a foreign language. I suspect Mandarin Chinese will have me eating my words in the future.

What can ya do to narrow this gap? Frankly, learn each word (assuming you are learning from a well-written textbook) as you come across it. The words that are more common will occur more frequently, so set aside your worries that you are learning the “wrong” words. Currently, I am using the Goldlist method by Davy Jones that Christopher Huff based a YouTube video on for learning vocabulary. In short, this method starts with a set of 25 new head words. After two weeks, you distill the list so it has 30% fewer items. You do this by combining terms into short phrases and deleting any that you think occur too infrequently, are too specialized, polite, or rude, or whatever criterion you use. You repeat this distillation process two more times, each occurring two weeks apart. Throughout this process, it has me creating odd sentences that are more memorable than they would be otherwise. With a small set of vocabulary, ya need to get creative.

Simply put, there is no way but through the immense amount of new vocabulary words between B1 and B2 levels, so “Suck it up, it’s time to focus,” I tell myself when no one is looking.

Ursula Kallio

Author

Ursula Kallio

A preferably autodidactic polyglot