Learning Simple Vocabulary


Become Fluent in Any Language


Lesson Info

Learning Simple Vocabulary

One thing I wanted to start with, uh, just a result of what was going on in the chat rooms is, um I wanted to talk about max versus pc is for a little bit there was a lot of discussion of like, wait, wait, wait, what do you do on a mac and what's the difference between that and a pc? So just a quick little overview? I'm really the only significant differences between max and pcs are in the shortcuts that's really the only real thing? Um, and for the most part, when I say command on the mac, I mean, controlling a pc except with one little exception that I'm going to start with, because why not? Um, shortcut wise? We've gone through, I think, how many shortcuts do we need to care about eleven? We have eleven shortcuts that we need to care about, and we don't really need to care about them it's just that they save you a few seconds and every time you save a few seconds, you save a few seconds and that helps you when you're doing ten thousand flash cards. So, um, fun max, if I want to swit...

ch applications, if I want to go from chrome to un key or from monkey to rome or anything like that, I hit command tab on a pc I hit all tap that's it goes from application application I could do that right now hopefully it won't explode my presentation yep I did um if you want to copy an image and move it into donkey um on a mac you're going to be controlled clicking on that image oh are sort of right clicking and then you click copy image on a pc you're going to right click and click copy image pretty similar pasting is the same as pasting text command bianna mac control viana pc um downloading an mp three you control click on it on a mac you right click on a pc and then you select download link to file um max also have this extra thing where you can click option click and it will download anything you're looking at so I use that a little bit yesterday um and if you're trying to important mp three go away little thing um basically your file will download into your browser you click and drag it and you drop it in the box will do that today a few times uh and same exact thing on a pc for a viewing cards maxim pieces are the same monkeys interface is the same in mac on pc there there's no real difference here if you hear a sound file on your flash card you need to repeat it just press are for repeat uh if you want to see the answer on the back of your flashcards we had this flash card yesterday you know what is the capital of california and you think I think it's sacramento uh then you hit the space bar and you will see sacramento and you will hear arnold schwarzenegger say that um if you got that wrong, you thought the capital california was don't know los angeles um you would hit one or hit the again button just on the far left if you got it right you two to three or four which or click the good hard or easy button um, one thing we didn't talk about we'll deal with today if you spot a mistake on your card you misspelled sacramento something like that you hit the e button for edit and if you let's say, answered ah incorrectly you just want to undo something you you said okay, I know this and then you think, wait no, I didn't actually know that you hit command z to undo just like you would on any other file uh and control z on a pc the on ly other difference between maxim species that we talked about yesterday was in browser automation was this thing where you could you would be asked, what were you looking at and you type in ship in french and you see poof a bunch of windows all about dogs, french dogs and recordings of french dogs and dictionary increasing mohr dictionary entries all this stuff there are a few ways of doing this they're all on my web site uh that's in the syllabus if you don't have the syllabus r s v p you'll get the syllabus for free it's everything's for free at this point um so basically you could do this on macs and pcs using I'm macros from fire fox or imac rose for chrome um but on max we have this sort of extra apple script option which is a little bit faster and a little easier to use on dh I bet there's an option for pieces that can exist so if you guys are all out there in cannes code and stuff or know a little bit about automating your easy and have some way of cloning this apple script do let me know and I will put it up on my website let's get to the actual like fun stuff this section is on howto learn simple words and it's uh this is gonna be a lot of fun it's going to be a bit pact to this this first segment but let's just make sure that we go to pace that online audience khun khun cope with so maybe a little bit slow and then we will go a little bit slower the better it's going to be so fabulous sounds good yesterday we talked about pronunciation we talked about setting this very, very first foundational block of I need to be ableto handle spelling I need to be ableto handle these sounds and and actually differentiate the sounds I need to hear the difference between my two cc's of my jokes and so at this point this let's say you spend two weeks three weeks just sort of focusing on that at this point you have gotten that somewhat down you kind of know how your language works in terms of the spelling you're starting to get familiar with the sounds that part is starting to exist and you have a little bit of vocabulary you have example words you're learning some you know p is for pasta you know eyes for something I can't even think of any talyn right now um you have this sort of alphabet of words and examples you have a few words in your toolbox at this point you're ready to start learning vocabulary and at this point the cavaliers in the place where we'll actually start sticking, which is handy so let's talk about what to learn and had to learn it in the beginning um I would suggest learning really really concrete words that you can kind of point out you could just say locked up, you know uh order you know you just things that just exist where you can point at them thinking that language and just say the word is basically kids do they just pointed things they're like cookie that's it we're doing that um usually what I'd suggest is choosing really frequent words so what? We talked about frequency list yesterday and saying ok, well, you might as well learn really common words instead of like watermelons and apricots and things, but if you go to a standard frequency list these sort of top thousand words, you will see that most of those words are about half of those words are complex, like in english, the top word is the what does that look like? Nothing, I mean, every one and every twenty five words in english is the to really use forward, but why you learn it now? It doesn't make any sense, but in that list sort of hidden in that list our words like mother, her words like ball that you kind of do need s o what I've done is I've taken a list of the top I think was fifteen hundred words in english and I started called it down ah and picked the words that I cut all the words that were not that were just for english things like, you know democrat is in there like you don't need that if you're learning french but generally there are a lot of words that but it basically you'll use in every single language um one of the things about these frequency list we ready kind of talked about this you know, in a grammar book you're going to find you know, members of the family let's learn you know uncle niece, nephew, granddaughter things like this but how often do you use words like niece? No it's a useful word I guess I mean, I have a niece I talk about her a lot but if you don't have a niece or just generally I mean niece is not a very very useful word. Why learned that at the same time his mother I mean generally how many times you say mother for every knees in the end it turns out to be your own seventy nine times the one like mother is seventy nine times more useful in any language than niece. So this is why I like to start with these things um in terms of frequency lists you know how what's the split you know how how important are these really important words? It turns out to be there really, um for english this is just an example for english if you know the top ten words of english which again are sort of functional the inn and to be uh you now recognize one out of every four words this is ten words in the english language you now recognize one out of every four words if you know the top hundred words in english now we're starting to get into sort of meaty stuff like to go um I think toe want might be in there things like that there's gonna be a few height of now is hidden in there that you just kind of use on a daily basis all the time food I think it's in there uh you now recognize half of all the words that you see huge I mean, we use a hundred words half the time you start prodding this out naturally this starts you know you get diminishing returns with the top thousand words you're now looking at seventy two percent text conference you're looking at, you know, basically three out of every four words you kind of know this is, incidentally with complex written texts, the spoken vocabulary if you have the top thousand words europe to around eighty percent of your language um and this sort of peters out around two thousand words in english europe up to eighty percent with three thousand eighty four to get to ninety percent you need around six thousand words, which is starting to be a lot I mean, when you compare it to the gains you get one just learning the top thousand um to get to ninety five percent in ninety five percent is the holy grail of language learning ninety five percent is the point where you could basically throw away your dictionary. It's a really nice goal er you just get everything you get enough from context, you know, nineteen out of every twenty words that you can basically figure out anything from context, so ninety five percent of really lovely gold. The problem is that it's in english twelve thousand five hundred words, it's a lot. We're going to deal with this problem and trying to figure out how to sort of sidestep this because there is a way to sidestep this by specialising with your vocabulary. Um, we'll deal with that later. Right now, we're dealing with really simple words. Um, so let's, do this to learn your words to learn the words from this list, you're going to be playing three games and the first of these games and these air games that you play while you are designing, designing your flashcards. The first of these games I call spot the differences, and I've kind of been harping on this yesterday, but we're going to really kind of get into it if you search on google images for the word girl and you would do this let's say you were trying to learn russians word for girls and you see in your list it says devil ska this means girl I'm gonna learn this and you take my advice you say okay I'm gonna learn using images instead of translations that this is going to make something more sticky and stay in my memory longer and so you decide okay I'm gonna go get a picture of a girl and so I searched for girl on google images and I see exactly what I expect to see a bunch of girls I see young girls I seem slightly older girls I see girls you know this is exactly what I would think of when I think of girl this is the english sense of what a girl is now that's all fine and good and I can do this and I will learn that word it will be boring I will have I mean it will work but it will be somewhat boring because I know exactly what I'm expecting to see all this time I'm spending searching google images is I'm just looking for something something that I already know I'm not learning anything new um but it will work the issues that you're going to be missing much of the story if you search in russia for devotion you see something quite different the russian sense of devil ska is a sex object there is something extreme that that is not a word you would use to describe your three year old niece and whatever you think about this if you're like oh that's terrible or oh ha ha ha whatever like this is essential like this is so important to what what devilish actually means and it becomes this this process of of learning something that's actually knew as opposed to learning a copy of what you already know um one of the many think I just got derailed um we're actually very very very good at learning words any time you run into a new place and you've seen some sort of dish and you goto your friend says he come to this water at your place you're like what's that like common sea and you go to this place and they say, you know, we have ten kinds of what archie on the menu you know I don't know what that is and they say, well, what jewish one should I get it? She just points too and she says get that one and I get that one and I eat it and it's this delicious like fried like potato we bred thing with meat all over it and now I know what I want che's and I didn't have to like memorize it and be like okay watches a spanish word meaning like like flatbread with stuff on top like what is this thing that I have eaten? We've all have this experience of of learning words all the time way have huge vocabularies it's this idea of just trying to say that this is the word for that it is really forgettable, and google images allows you to actually see sort of peek into the russian mind and find out what does this word actually mean? How is this like an entirely new concept for me? And that turns out to be really, really, really fun and really memorable and really efficient use of your time. So the first thing you're gonna do is figure out what your word actually means and pick an image that kind of will remind you about that experience. You look a twenty, thirty images of all these devil ski, you think? Well, it's not what I expected to see good pick one or two. The second thing you're going to do is grab a personal connection we talked about yesterday how having a personal connection to your vocabulary will make every one of those words around fifty percent two hundred percent more memorable. What I like to do is basically stick this on the back of my flash cards if I'm learning the words porsche for cat and I pick shot it's always gonna be cats and dogs the whole way through it, this that's always the example issues, for whatever reason um and I look back to what experiences I've had with cats and I will think okay, I have my childhood cat I mean my current cat lily and I'm gonna stick her on the back of my flash cards this applies to every single word you tryto learn you will not always find one uh I remember I was trying to find a personal connection to the number thirty two hatta means can't do in hungarian and I couldn't find anything I mean thirty two is a number I don't know if I've ever he said the word thirty two in english like it's when do you use this number uh and so that actually became a personal connection thirty two is the number that is the most useless number in the world for me uh it's like the actual search for a personal connection is really really handy it forces you to think about what why am I even learning this word you know if I'm gonna learn some word and it turns out I have nothing to do with it then you can even skip it I mean general you're not gonna find that with these early words with these six hundred twenty five but if you pick up a word like like a water tank and you're like what's my personal connection of this nothing when don't ever use this word never skip that word you don't need water take in that case um so how do you put this on your flashcard generally I like to use you can write out a big old thing you khun right? You know, I got this t shirt I got a red t shirt and you know christmas of ninety eight but I like to sort of avoid having english on my flash cards I want them to be fully fully immersive so generally I choose things that are really, really short single single like names of places names of people like like christina give me a connection for dog for you that would be just named something. What is your personal connection to dog? Uh, my childhood dog. Okay. And so what is the name of yourself? Doug okay, so in your case, very for a flash card. I was dick tita on the back of your flash drive. You could write my childhood dog, but he thought gives you all that information without dumping english into the picture. Uh, jamie will give me something with a refrigerator refrigerator? Um, I'm going hard on purpose. Okay, so a bunch of ah beer cans that exploded because the refrigerator was too cold. Okay, when was this? That was my first my first week when I moved to my new apartment, okay, where is this new apartment, uh, and mountain me okay, um what is one or two words that would remind you about this whole refrigerator experience if you saw a picture of refrigerator and you saw this word underneath what would remind you about these exploding things? Uh that's that's pretty hard the address if you have the address of that apartment without actually remind you by the refrigerator exploding about the beer cans exploding I doubt it. What was the brand of the beer can use that exploded uh it ah I don't actually I think it was guinness good if you had guinness next to refrigerator would you remember that memory? Yes that's kind of what do you do that? Okay put guinness it would be something that would no longer be in english and it would force you to every time you see this word that let's say you're learning german says and you see guinness underneath and you remember this refrigerator experience are sorry that whatever we're not learning here we're learning ah cool shrug refrigerator if you see cool clock you see picture refrigerator you see guinness underneath will you remember that? Yeah that's what you're aiming for these are the sorts of personal connections were looking for generally if I'm trying to learn something like spider or something and my personal connection is like I hate spiders, I will even start going to emoticons if I need to I will just write sad face spider sad face that's my personal connection and it works just fine I mean like this sort of thing is fine you just it's the thought process really that's the most important thing the thought process and having a little tiny reminder of that thought process and that's kind of this whole process is that if for example this google image idea yes I can choose a picture of an image of a woman who's sort of in a sexual pose and seven states that is devil but if someone else looked at that flash card they would maybe get the idea but for me I have looked through twenty thirty forty images this single image I chose is just the tip of the iceberg images just it just prompts the memory and then the rest of the memory can kind of happen same thing with this guinness things same thing with all of these little personal connections they give you a cue that lights this this sort of network of memories so that's what we're aiming for here and this is my favorite part of the whole presentation I love this thing okay in german and in many languages you have a lot of abstract junk tto learn german has this special thing of justice this it mark twain has written an essay called the awful german language uh where he just rants and raves about how much he hates the grammatical system of german uh and it's but he has this one one paragraph where he talks about the gender system where uh it has no rhyme or reason uh cats are all feminine they just are it doesn't matter if they're male cats are not maidens like like like the diminutive of girl all maidens are neuter they have no gender like german has three genders masculine feminine neuter everyone who was a maid in is neuter it's just it's nonsensical and you have to learn it you absolutely have to learn it if you don't know the gender in german you can't say a sentence it's not just that you make a few mistakes and your adjectives don't quite work so you don't know who's doing what and so it's essential ingredient of german and it's maddening it's just so hard which of you have have any of you study german its songs no this is brutal it's like it's terrible and every time you go to a class your teacher will say yes you like people to be like do I have to learn this will be like yes you must learn this then you say well how you just do just learn it and that's actually not true the answer is not you just learn it the answer is this so this is from mark coins essay these are ah bunch of announce that that he was complaining about which just have random genders trees knows his flowers, leaves horse's, knees, mouths, cans this sort of thing. These are the genders of those words. Trees are masculine noses or feminine leaves or neuter flowers. Flowers are feminine, and you're all going to memorize all of these things for good in the next few minutes. And I will quiz you guys on all of them. Okay, as they are. This is not a memorable. This is really hard, okay, but instead of trying to memorize that next or masculine, why don't we choose? Three very vivid verbs were going to say everything that is masculine explodes violently. We're gonna say everything that's feminine shatters into a million pieces, the glass, sharp shards of things, okay? And we'll say everything that is neuter melts sort of melts into nothing so let's, start doing this, your nose shatters into a million pieces. Now picture this and I like for everyone online out there. Like do this. Please do this with me because you will see this. You will see what happens in your head. So you're knows you're walking down the street and and everything is going fine and then suddenly your nose just shatters off your face there's blood everywhere, there's chunks of like of stuff jagged nose on the floor okay like it should be as vivid as you can stomach and you should be able to sort of step on pieces every nose and they should crunch like glass okay yeah just like feel it okay good um not take a leaf belief is neuter and so the leaf mounts now I want you to picture what is what is the leaf what what kind of leaf picture this in your head is this a maple leaf? Is this like some sort of fern like what kind of leaf is this? Pick your favorite leaf pick it up in your hand in your mind's eye and then have it melt all over your hand put the color of it as it sort of groups on your hand and drips off the side there leave is melting now pick a tree and look at this tree smell the tree here the wind going through this tree and suddenly the tree explodes just detonates okay there should be a piece that's sort of like jams in through your arm if you can get yourself in the story that's better so explode explode the street now what about flour and this just fine flour and you're picking it up what kind of flower is it? Look at the color of that flower smell the flower and then shattered the flower dip it in liquid nitrogen just shatter on the floor take a horse and melt the horse listen to the sounds it makes as it melts okay I'm melting me that's what you want okay try and bet the horse's head as it melts into the floor thank you your hand your hand shatters look at your hand feel what it would be like for your hand to shatter you dip it in something very very cold you pick it up and someone hits it with a hammer and it shatters and you're probably upset about this if you're upset if there's an emotional response this is even better okay your hands and just sort of shatter okay your knee you're walking along everything is well good your knee should melt just one of your kneecaps it becomes hard to walk picture this picture the fluid that comes off of that as it melts you should explode your mouth take five to seven seconds just imagine your own story I'm gonna stop giving you stories here your mouth explodes your cat chatters your dog explodes there should be a little piece of dog on the ceiling your heart melts what happens to you when your heart melts and your neck explodes so at this point I'm just sort of walk around the room and be distracting and talk about like this t which this tea is really delicious just to be obnoxious so that your short term memory just sort of vanishes I mean this is in fact delicious this is throat coty highly approved and after a few seconds your short term memory should pretty much go away. This is not something that you would be able to retain um as for the devil in the beginning with the host I mean this is not something where you're just kind of like who administers rehearsed this enough and it's going to stick well at this point you probably don't have any of those words in your head anymore I'm also going to mess up the order so they're no longer the words are no longer the same place just to be a jerk okay, so I'm being huge dark about all this and so now I'm gonna start quizzing you guys I'm gonna mostly pick on deep because I think some of you have already done some of this stuff yeah some of you went to my earlier workshop I mean the weapon or I did for the kickstarter folks um and I changed the verbs around which I imagine is really confusing yeah so mostly gonna pick on deep here um so deep yeah what happened to the horse it melted yeah, that would be neat neuter that'll be neuter um what about the dog dolly exploded good sadly you know so it's male was masked masculine good um what about your neck exploded masculine leave delta there it's neater hand hand melted didn't know exploded exploded you remember it it was a shattered shattered hand dips in the cold and hit with a hammer remember seventeen yeah how's feminine good what about your knee? My knee melted you know you can't melted and therefore you'd er yeah mouth now exploded yet masculine yet now don't tell me that what happened tell me what gender it is okay okay skip it yep uh what about tree masculine yeah um neck we ready did uh cat seven of those cat was then he also knows knows my nose what happened my knows it neuter was melting when you guys get it yeah it was was coming in those shattered what flower neuter yeah thes e monix they take things that are totally abstract and crappy and hard to remember and they make them into something that is really vivid and kind of easy to remember even make the words easier to remember I mean as you sort of think about these uh these stories and how they connect to the words they make you think about the actual word and how in just sort of fix that memory in your head uh these things they're magic I I loved them I used them everywhere ah in the very beginning I only use them for gender andi were very handy then I started broadening out to pronunciation issues in italian for instance there's a difference between open oh enclosed oh there's uh there's words that have pull and those words that have all and they're spelled the same and so I would choose an object I think I used like a ball for things that are no I think he used a knife because I like violence um I used a knife for things that were sort of sharp likable and I think I used the ball for things were kind of open and round in all on I would just start attaching them two words I'd say okay, well, if this if this word is if it's cool today if its heart and its uses ah believe heart now it's been years uh is a closed oh oh cordy uh then I would just stab a knife into the heart and that would make that word sound the way I want it to sound um but for now we're gonna talk about the monets a lot actually, in the next segment we're gonna talk about how to use no monix for other things like grammar like memorizing uh irregular verbs and things like that. But for now these are really, really handy for gender in most of the languages the people study except for the asian languages, in which case they're really useful for counter uh counter classifier words generally in languages like like japanese and mandarin um and a little bit in korean um you use these words that basically are the same sort of thing, is gender. You classify things as, you know, our books, uh, flat objects, or are they square objects? You know, these questions are cats, large or small animals, or are they creatures? Are they types of people, uh, you use in the same way that in english, you say a pack of gum and you don't say, give me a gum, you say a stick of gum? Uh, japanese and chinese used these sort of man that you must use them. Uh, and in many cases, they're kind of arbitrary. There are also one of the big complaints. When someone learns japanese or mandarin is, why do I have to learn this stuff in the same way is in german. You just do, and this is a way to make it really easy.

Class Description

Speaking a foreign language gives you more sophisticated problem-solving skills, more tools for multitasking and expressing yourself, and opens up more career opportunities – not to mention the ability to more fully immerse yourself in other cultures. But learning a new language can be an unmanageably long endeavor. Join Gabriel Wyner to learn how you can become (and stay) fluent in a new language in months, not years.

Throughout this course, you’ll explore memorization tools, linguistic concepts, and free software that will ensure fluency in the shortest amount of time possible. You’ll learn about the four essential stages of language acquisition: understanding correct pronunciation, building vocabulary and grammar skills, reading and listening effectively, and conversing with native speakers. You’ll also learn about antiquated methods to avoid (such as translating between new and native languages) and cutting-edge new techniques that ensure maximum absorption and retention.

By the end of this course, you’ll have an easy system for learning a new language, retaining, and expressing yourself as quickly as possible.


Nephele Tempest

I really enjoyed this course. Gabe has a terrific, easy teaching style that's entertaining and absorbing to the point where I'm conscious of having gone through the course a little too fast. I am looking forward to going back through it a little more slowly to catch any tidbits I missed, but even without that I feel I have so many new tools to apply to language learning and I can't wait to get started. I really appreciate that he also went over how to tackle a language you've already learned in the past but have not retained to the level you'd like, as well as how to start a brand new language from scratch. I hope to do both with much greater success than my previous attempts.


Worth every penny. Despite the title, you'll learn far more than how to become fluent in a language -- you'll learn how to learn anything you want! Gabe is a great presentational speaker, articulate and captivating. The foundation of the course is about how to set a concrete and measurable goal, learn effectively, and set yourself up for success. This course addresses forming new habits within the constraints of your current life, making progress when you don't feel motivated, and how to recover from setbacks like getting off-track or when you just don't grasp a concept--these topics are often missing from other learning courses so students flounder as soon as they stray from the formula. Building on all these fundamentals, Gabe then offers specific techniques and tools for language learning. Excellent course!