Learning Russian In 20 Hours
Using Josh Kaufman's 'The First 20 Hours' book as a reference and method book, I decided to try and use Josh's method to learn a language in 20 hours. (Well...make significant progress).
Whilst I can currently already read Cyrillic and speak a small amount of Russian, I decided to use Josh's method more as a fast track method to try and experiment if I could make significant progress in my journey.
Okay, let's get into Josh's method of acquiring a new skill within 20 hours.
1. Clearly DEFINE your target performance level (Being fluent is not a measurable goal)
Being able to hold a 5-10 minute conversation and read the morning Russian newspaper was the goal I personally set. (Measurable)
2. Next is to DECONSTRUCT the language.
Josh explains how people often forget to seperate the fact that reading and speaking are two completely different sub-skills within a language. Make sure to set goals depending on what you want to achieve.
I luckily can already read Cyrillic, whilst I can't understand it all, I can 'sound it out', this will help with making progress faster.
I decided to break the language down into the 1000 most commonly spoken words/phrases and try to spam them out in repetition.
Next, I will try and include these words within my weekly conversation with a native speaker.
If you're learning Russian, I suggest joining a language exchange community on VK, as lot's of native Russians will be happy to speak with you so that you can both exchange practice in a foreign language and help each other progress.
Just make sure you pick a topic to talk about before hand as it allows you to prepare and maximise the amount of time speaking and understanding, which helps to reduce breaks in conversation and 'time wasting'.
3. REMOVE any barrier which may hinder learning progress.
It's best to have your targeted vocabulary on paper flashcards and practice in a room with no electronics on, no phone available and no music playing.
This allows you to remove distracting stimuli which is the BIGGEST killer in learning any new skill.
Josh explains that every time your; phone dings, tv makes a loud sound or any other external source grabs your attention, your retention rate drops significantly.
As for when speaking with another person for practice, I use Skype on my phone and put my phone on do not disturb mode. I also keeps notes and conversation 'pick ups' to stop the conversation from going stagnant and wasting time.
4. Finally, PRACTICE. Once your method is set, notes and vocabulary are collected, speaking partners and times organised, you get down to the gritty. Practice your sub-skills in chunks of 1-2 hours with absolutely no distraction.
Josh believes this this is the most optimal way to learn any skill and based on his impressive repertoire of skills, I'm willing to give it a go also.
Starting from this date (6/07/2018), I will be putting in 1 hour of dedicated practice every day, for 20 days.
I will post the results of what I found within this same blog post and will release a YouTube video, linked here also, of me speaking within the target language (Russian).
If you're interested in this method of learning and want to experiment with any skill (especially a language) I would be very interested to hear of your results in the comments.
You can also watches Josh's Ted Talk of this method of learning below.
As always, thanks for reading and please connect with me on any social media space if you want to chat or get to know each other better ..... and don't forget to leave a comment below! ❤️
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