Jun 22, 2020 • 7M

#27 How to Learn English on Autopilot

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Hi! I’m Vasili, the guy who runs the show. I believe the world would be a better place if you learned something new every day. That’s why I record daily episodes where I explain complex ideas in simple words. I hope you’ll enjoy the show.
Episode details

Hey friend,

In this episode, I explain my system of language learning that can help you start thinking in English instead of translating.

If you prefer watching, you can find the YouTube video here. If reading is your thing, then enjoy the transcript below.

Welcome to The Daily Recall show. I'm your host, Vasili.

Today you will learn one simple trick that can help you become a native English speaker.

I think that most people think about language learning wrong. They start taking classes, read text books, and go to English clubs. That’s how you can get some baseline but it won’t help you to become a native speaker. You keep translating stuff in your head.

Real language learning comes down to one simple metric; how many times you think thoughts in a language that you're trying to learn. And the key to learning English - and any language - is to optimize for this metric as much as you can. This optimization boils down to a simple question - how many times a learning method prompts you to think in English.

Traditional learning methods don’t offer much on this front. If you sit in a class with twenty other dudes and occasionally raise your hand, that’s not how you get many opportunities for thinking in English. And you have this torturous homework to deal with.

Here're some better methods:

  • Start taking notes in English; this will prompt you to think in English each time you need to write something down

  • Write a diary

  • Change your default phone language to English

  • Read books

  • Watch movies

  • Get a job where you have to communicate in English

Whenever you don’t understand a word, don’t look for a translation. Try to understand what it means from the context or go ahead and read the definition of this word from the vocabulary. But do not translate; that’s how you keep building this habit of thinking through translating that prevents you from becoming fluent.

To recap -

Language learning comes down to how many times you think in the language that you're trying to learn. The best way to learn a language is to design an environment that prompts you to think in this language. This approach is way more efficient than any other approach out there because it naturally integrates into your life. When you take an English class three times a week, that thing is actually artificial, and your nature will fight against that. But if you integrate these thinking prompts as routines into your daily life and keep them simple, you will do great.

Thanks very much for reading and see you tomorrow.

This transcript has been edited for clarity.