Making the Monolingual Transition aka Language learning at its finest

So… yeah… what is this “monolingual thing” of which you speak? Basically, it’s using your target language to learn your target language. “But that sounds hard. I don’t know enough of (insert language here) to not use English. That’s not true. Just like you don’t learn to ride a bicycle by reading a book about it, the only way to wean yourself from English is by diving into the language.

The best way to learn a language is to use materials made by native speakers for native speakers. This ensures you learn to say things the way natives say them. Because, to be honest, nobody speaks like they do in the textbooks. Textbooks are one of the worst ways to learn a language. How many people do you know that say, “How do you do?” That’s the English equivalent of some of these textbooks.

OK, on to important stuff. Here’s how you make the transition to monolingual, step by step:

Gain a basic understanding of the language. Just have a working knowledge of the grammar to give you a head start in your understanding. You will also need to know a bit of vocabulary. I recommend about 700 words or so. That’s not concrete, so use your own judgment.

Find a monolingual dictionary (ie. a Japanese dictionary that Japanese people would use, a Spanish dictionary that Spanish people would use.) These are pretty easy to find online.

Read books or articles in your chosen language, listen to news, and watch movies or shows in your target language.

When you come across a word you don’t know in your reading or listening, look it up in your monolingual dictionary.

If you don’t understand the dictionary’s definition, then all hope is lost. Not really. Take the words you don’t know in the definition and look up those words in the dictionary. “But this might take forever to understand the original word.” you say, but that’s not important. What is important is that you are interacting with the language. So even if you spend a lot of time in the dictionary, you’ll come away some much needed knowledge in the language.

I know this may be kinda, sorta revolutionary to some. If you have any questions or recommendations, don’t hesitate to comment below.