Trust Your Ears

Make listening your priority and trust your ears over your eyes.

Classroom language learning has unfortunately developed with a stronger emphasis on the visual, and what we often forget is that language is actually an auditory phenomenon.

If you find a mismatch between a written text and a spoken one, you would be wise to assume that the mistake is in the writing, for it’s much less likely that a native speaker (hopefully you are listening to one) would make a elementary mistake with their language that you would be able to spot.

Portable devices like smart phones and the huge libraries of content available on sites like are making it possible for you to do most of your language learning through listening.

As Stephen Krashen explains in this video, we all acquire language in the same way. There is only one way that it can be done, and that is through getting enough comprehensible input into your ears.

Listen to Krashen explain to you for himself:


Get in Touch Often

When you have some time and you decide to do something like read a book, check your favourite blogs, or watch an episode of┬áBreaking Bad – first, get in touch with your language.

Make this a habit and you will have a very effective way of reviewing – something which is absolutely key to language learning. The point here is, there is a limit you can take in in one study session and the real learning occurs when you are forced to compare the way you think the language is, with the way it actually is. Finding your mistakes here helps you to restructure your interlanguage and get a step closer to producing the language as it really is.

I recommend spending these 5-20 minutes testing yourself with your flashcard deck, and practicing the items you get wrong, adjusting mnemonics that aren’t helping you to remember.

Other good uses of this time, when you are at a computer would be:

  1. Doing Memrise
  2. Opening and LingQing a new item on LingQ