When you learn something new, always start with the basics. But is ‘basic’ enough when it comes to language learning? Or is it even worth learning the basics?
Here’s a cool thing about language learning. If you want to take the shortcut to having an actual conversation, forget the basics and jump straight to the language core.
Despite being perceived in a similar way, the basics and the core are two very different language components.
Animals, seasons, numbers, household objects and pretty much all the nouns that you learned in your first two years of language classes. Add a few hundred verbs and you have the basics of a foreign language. These can add up to hundreds, if not thousands of words that can often prove useless in real situations. Knowing the Arabic word for “penguin” won’t help you much in your journey through the desert.
The language core
The core of a language, on the other hand, consists of everyday words, verbs and phrases that can be used easily in real situations. Think of anything – from simply asking for the time, to knowing how to order a full dish at a fancy restaurant in Paris.
Basics vs. Core
Which one is better when it comes to learning a new language?
If we think about real situations, basics will help you understand many words in a conversation, but unless you’ve been learning a language for a long time, you will have difficulties formulating useful phrases. The best solution is learning exactly what you need for a certain situation – traveling, business, dining, shopping or anything else.
Another important aspect is the time that you invest in learning. It would take so much longer to learn words by heart than to simply learn how to speak, in order to have a real conversation. Remember how long it took to formulate your first sentence in a foreign language learned in school? Weeks, months? Perhaps even years of endless grammar lessons? By learning the core of a language you can do that in under 45 minutes.
Do you want to spend years learning thousands of useless words or do you want to speak a foreign language in your first 45 minutes of learning?