Hi, there, this Steve Kaufmann Founder of LingQ continuing my series of Seven Secrets to Successful Language Learning. You'll remember the first one was to spend the time. The second one was to do the things that you like to do in language learning. The third one was to develop and improve your ability to notice what's happening in the language. Now, the fourth one is focus on words. Words – vocabulary - are much more important than grammar. If fact, if you learn words, if you have lots of words and if you learn these words naturally through lots of listening and reading, the grammar will eventually fall into place. Nothing prevents you from occasionally reviewing grammar rules in a small grammar book.
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It's probably a good thing to do. I do it, but my major emphasis is accumulating words. That's why at LingQ our number one measurable is how many words do you know. Now, some people say that the emphasis should be on learning chunks of words in the form of phrases that we can easily reproduce.
Certainly, this is a good thing to do, but the phrases themselves consist of words so you still have to know what words mean and you can't learn them in isolation. You have to learn them from meaningful content and that's why when I save a word to my personal database at LingQ not only do I capture all the phrases where that word occurs, but the next time that word appears in any new text at LingQ it will be highlighted in yellow. So I'm constantly working to increase my known words total at LingQ. If you try to memorize the rules of grammar and even if you were able to learn the rules, which I think is very difficult to do without a sufficient amount of input, if you didn't have enough of a vocabulary to follow a conversation in a particular area or to express your ideas then you would not be able to say very much.
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On the other hand, if you have a large vocabulary you will be surprised. Especially if you've seen these words in different phrases, you'll start to notice how naturally you start to speak with the words in the correct order and in the correct form. So, once again, focus your efforts on words and there are a number of strategies that can help you. Some people like to use flashcards and there's Anki, SuperMemo and other such methods out there.
My own preference is to do a lot of listening and reading and I will focus my listening and reading. As I said in a previous video, as much as possible I will try to read what I'm listening to and listen to what I'm reading. I will also focus on one author during a particular period or on one subject area, which might be politics, history or economics. What this does is it insures that a certain range of words appear more frequently.
Because I'm staying with one author, Tolstoy for example in Russian, then I become familiar with his vocabulary. If I am listening to current event interviews, then I become very familiar with that vocabulary. So, occasionally, I'll change my emphasis, change the author, change the subject area, but always try to focus for a certain period of time on one particular area so that I get enough repetition so that I can accumulate my vocabulary. So there you have it, secret No.
9, focus on words and the rest of it will fall into place. Thank you for listening.