Conversational English, Intermediate English, Listening, Reading, Speaking, Upper-Intermediate English, Writing

How to learn a language

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There is only one way to learn a language. Complete this lesson to find out!

I´ve recently come across a very interesting YouTube video on channel What I’ve Learned

It is my belief, that if you follow the instructions in this video, you will be part of a very selective group of individuals; you might even become a polyglot, who knows? After teaching English for a decade in Brazil, I´ve met people who — in spite of having studied English for so long — are still not happy with their level of English.

If you don´t have a teacher to show you the right path, you will probably continue to spend time and money on things that clearly haven´t worked for you.

I´m not saying you shouldn´t study from textbooks, but maybe you should give this input method a try.

Useful vocabulary


Realia (Ri-ei-lia) objects from real life used in a classroom

Input     Exposure to authentic language in use

Shadowing technique   words repeated to imitate the speaker

Path   way

To my mind   In my opinion



Try to keep an open mind and pause the video from time to time to discuss the points made by the author.

Motivation is a big part of the game. Of course.

But besides knowing why you want to learn a language, you should know what to do to be successful.


Let´s discuss some of the things the author mentioned.

1 – ´Spanish speakers trying to learn English found that the worst way to learn was by putting Spanish subtitles on an English movie´. 9:35

2 – ´English subtitles are the best´9:44

3 – ´A dictionary is essentially useless´. 6:29

4 –  Talking is not practicing. 10:15

5 – Pronunciation (shadowing technique) is of course very important. 10:47

6 – The 3 main things to study when learning a language. 12:19


Last words…

People learn in different ways, I know. But here is something I have always found to be true in the last 10 years: some people like to read; some students like to speak; some like to write; others like to do grammar exercises. However, only the ones who learn the beauty of comprehensible input really have fun with the language and achieve fluency.


Writing & Speaking

Watch the 6 different parts from the speaking section again. Make notes and do one of these two things:

a Post your notes in the comments box below

b Record yourself using your camera using the notes you´ve taken.


I really hope you have enjoyed this lesson. To my mind, it is the best, most effective way to learn a language because it was the way we learned Portuguese.


Good luck

Teacher Leo

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