Thoughts for serious language learners
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How much input do you need to speak English fluently?

In my newest article, I try to estimate how much input is actually necessary to get from basic English skills to fluency.

Few people realize that learning a language fluently is a much more memory-intensive task than, say, learning organic chemistry or the history of Europe at an expert level.

Let’s consider the number of facts you need to know to produce correct English sentences with ease. Certainly you must know the meanings and pronunciations of something like 10,000 words and phrases — something like the contents of a medium-sized dictionary. But this is only half the picture. The other half are thousands upon thousands of little facts which tell you when to use different words and how to combine them with other words.

Read more…


4 Comments so far ↓

  • Barth

    Is listening to audiobooks as useful as reading? Usually I don’t make spelling mistakes. Can I replace reading with listening as much as possible? I don’t nave enough time to spend on books.

    Is it better to say “I have been learning… but…” instead of “I have learned… but…” in previous comment?

  • Oscar Colmenares

    I die to speak English fluently. I got Magazines,books, Newspapers, Charts, Maps,Dictionaries etc, but; I don’t know where to start and doing what? Please help me.
    Oscar 213-458-3260

  • Mauricio Sorrab

    Dude congrats for you! Your text is pretty awesome, it’s written perfectly and makes me want to study, search and learn even more.

    You write like a native English speaker or maybe much better! I’ve been learning English and other languages for a while and what you wrote is simply marvelous.

    You know I loved so much what you wrote that I would like to post it on my blog.. and I am here asking you permission for it..

    would you please send me an e-mail with your name (if it’s possible) and a formal confirming of this?

    Thank you very much in advance,
    See you

    Mau Sorrab

    • Tom

      You can quote someone else’s text on your blog, as long as you don’t quote too much and you link to the original article. You don’t have to ask for permission to do that.

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