Take Massive Action and Learn More English!
Hoy, en inglés…
Este post explica un poco mi filosofía para aprender inglés, o cualquier otra cosa.
Es un poco de listening, o de lectura, y de paso aprenderás una de las mejores estrategias para cumplir con tus propósitos.
Puedes escuchar aquí…
Y aquí el texto.
Take Massive Action!
I used to have a student named Victor.
One day, after class, he was telling me “Daniel, I’ve been studying English for 10 years, but I still feel like I don’t know enough vocabulary.”
“Okay Victor,” I said, “Here’s what you can do. This summer, read 12 books in English. One book a week. You’ll have a great vocabulary after you do that. I promise”
He looked at me.
“That sounds like a good idea. But I don’t like reading.”
And he didn’t do it.
In fact, most people don’t. I’ve told dozens of people about my “read 12 books” method for learning vocabulary, and most people don’t do anything about it.
A friend of mine actually did it, though.
She had a B1 level when we met – lower intermediate – and she started reading books. First she read a couple of books for kids. Then she read a couple of books for teenagers. Then she read several more books for adults.
She also started speaking English to me when we were together. She’d listen to podcasts in English on the metro. She spent a summer in the UK, working at a summer camp.
And it took a while. I can’t remember exactly how long. But she turned her B1 level into a super-advanced C2 in less time than you’d think. Eventually, she did the Proficiency exam from Cambridge, and passed.
The key is that she took massive action toward her goal. She did the things that other people think are too difficult, and that’s why she succeeded.
I talk about the revolutionary “read books” method for learning vocabulary in my book “6 Claves para Aprender Inglés.
But really, it’s easy. Just read books. That’s the method.
British or American? Have or have got?
In any case, Victor is in the majority.
The same thing happens with all sorts of people who decide to learn English. They send me emails saying “Should I learn British English or American English?”
The answer is: it doesn’t matter. Learn any kind of English. Do more listening. Listen to a lot of different accents. Listen to Australians. Listen to South Africans. Listen to people from India. Make friends with people. Listen to French people with thick accents. Listen to whoever you can.
An even sillier question is one I receive a lot: “Daniel, should I learn to use have, or should I learn have got?”
The answer is: learn both!
You have time to learn two ways of expressing the same thing. English speakers use both of them all the time. We also have short forms: “I gotta dog… Ya got any pets?”
Don’t limit yourself. Learn all the forms.
With subtitles or without subtitles?
And don’t even get me started on the people who refuse to watch things with English subtitles.
“It’s hard to understand if the subtitles are in English”, they say. Or, even better, “My boyfriend prefers Spanish subtitles, so I put them in Spanish.”
Well, guess what?
You might have to piss off your boyfriend. Or watch series without him.
You’ll definitely have to do hard things if you want to learn a language.
Reading without a dictionary is hard. I did it every day when I first moved to Spain. I’d read El País, the Spanish newspaper, without a dictionary.
It was hard, and that’s the point.
If you do the hard things for a while, they’ll become easy.
Not for everyone else: they’ll be easy for you.
Your friends will say: “Well, I could never do that.”
And of course, they’re wrong.
They could. They just don’t want to.
But that’s the difference between the people you admire for their accomplishments and the people who never seem to accomplish anything: the people you admire do hard things.
Anyway, that’s my podcast for today.
I’ve also got a list of easy books you can check out if you’d like to do the “read 12 books” plan this summer.
P.S. This works for other things too. A lot of people tell me “I’d like to start a blog, or a YouTube channel. I should have a podcast.” Etc. And I agree. But even better than starting is to do what I did: make 600 videos. Write a thousand articles. Make 100 podcasts. I’ve done all those things. In fact, this is episode 101 of the Aprende más inglés podcast. It’s not always easy to motivate myself to make a new episode. But that’s the point. It’s not easy, and I do it anyway. And you can, too.