Summary of Grace Henry, “3 Concepts That Supercharged My Language Learning,” March 31, 2015.

If I had to condense my language learning approach, I’d say whatever you do, helps.

  1. Stress and learning are not friends. Do your best to lighten the mood. Find language helpers who put you at ease.
  2. The Iceberg Principle. You could spend hours and hours working to master a few words. Once they’re mastered, the only direction they can go is down! But for the same amount of time you can put lots and lots of words somewhere in the bottom of the iceberg and let them rise over time.
  3. The Growth Zone. Your learning “sweet spot” is the place where you’re understanding about 90%. Then the foreign 10% has a context in your mind already, stands out, and can be retained much more effectively.

Make an effort — especially in the early days — to spend time with people who meet you where you are at, while still stretching you. If you put in the hours — especially non-stressed hours in your growth zone — you will get there.