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One Simple Method to Learn Any Language | Scott Young & Vat Jaiswal | TEDxEastsidePrep

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While few of us will ever take on the ambitious challenge of learning four foreign languages in a year, many of us yearn to be more proficient in another language. The secret to success as it turns out is simpler than you think. Scott Young is a blogger, speaker and author. He previously spoke at TEDx EastsidePrep about his project “The MIT Challenge” to self-test MIT’s undergraduate computer science curriculum in one year, using their freely available information. His most recent project was with Vat Jaiswal, traveling to four countries, learning languages, with the goal of not speaking English for an entire year. He writes about learning and self-education at his website, ScottHYoung.com. Vat Jaiswal is a graduate student, aspiring architect and filmmaker. His most recent project was with Scott Young on The Year Without English, where he traveled through Spain, Brazil, China, Taiwan and Korea creating four short documentaries on language learning and cultural immersion. He shares his work, including experimental time-lapse photography and an interview series with successful architects, at vatjaiswal.com This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
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Text Comments (1255)
PinkFurryHat (6 days ago)
I really wanna learn japanese because of my heritage. And french because its so pretty. I did some basic rosetta stone with both and took some japanese classes but need to restart learning them. Goal is japan in june. But we will see.
Marko Dejanović (10 days ago)
Good tip. I'm learning german and I'll try this method. Thank you, guys
SaxNFrass Nation (16 days ago)
I thought it was normal to speak more than one or two languages, the rule in my house is speak every language that makes up your dna, speak tsalagi our tribal language but we have a little blood from neighboring tribe so know basics in chickasaw too, habla espanol, fala Portuguese, know basics of Arabic cuz small percent of family before mixed with Arab ppl, drop of Irish so Gaelig and for fun Korean and mandarin, but wolof is the language some friends from the Gambia so speak it also mandinka so get basics in that but friends from 2 other tribes are like family so know those,its a lil of what seems allot but it's great and everyone can learn and im wanting to study Vietnamese, so the neighbors probably think we have a packed hostel for tourists ,they must hear all the changes in vocal tone, everything, but agreed don't be scared to speak up in a different language and be happy it's not mandatory like in this family lol,
OSCAR D (22 days ago)
I have no fear of speak my language target, I fear of not have a topic to talk about, I have difficult time trying to find a topic even in my own laguage. I have hard time to find the correct words to express myself in my own language too. I think is because my social anxiety. What did the guys do to find people who where willing to interact with them in the countries they visited?
Daniel de Oliveira (1 month ago)
The polyglots LIVED in the countries whose languages they speak best. When that's not the case, is an EXCEPTION. Yes, there is much hypocrisy in the "polyglot community". They always talk about books and courses etc, and, as an afterthought, as if not important, there is the information in small letters: "I lived there (the country in question) for one, two years". There is even a guy the sells books teaching about how to be "fluent in 3 months" HAHAHAHAHAHAH.
Julianna Lin (1 month ago)
From personal experience of learning languages (although learning foreign languages has always come easy to me and because I love to learn in general - Spanish, Mandarin, Taiwanese, and Levantine Arabic)), I completely agree with your methods. Learning by necessity and using translator tools is one of the fastest ways to learn.
Efrabay05 05 (1 month ago)
I am a native speaker of Spanish and I can help those who want
Gérard Lefrançois (1 month ago)
The problem is on learning. People dont know how to learn and the teacher dont know how to teach.
Mom Westmoreland (1 month ago)
Films and music work for me initially, then I find someone I can speak with. If not..I speak the language to my dog. Also just beginning to use the "as you sleep" methods. WOW...The binarual sound waves in the background? Reach the language center of my brain I think. I wake up "thinking' in the language I'm studying. This really works for the "let's talk" side. Now...reading and writing? Another issue lol.
Pat Ludwa (1 month ago)
What are you supposed to do if you can't go to the country?   Try and speak the language to my wife who doesn't speak it?
Andrey Nikolayev (1 month ago)
Hello guys, Awesome video. But did you actually learn foreign words, how did you memorize them?
The direct study of English vocabulary or any language's vocabulary really works. Study words and phrases at the right level and you will have success.
Mandi Formoso (2 months ago)
I sat in the plane flying to Italy and made a promise to myself that I would never say 2 phrases - “I don’t speak Italian” or “do you speak English” Because English was NEVER on the agenda I have now far surpassed all my Italian friends here that speak English. Had I even spoken English to them on Day 1 it would be almost impossible to then switch. If I had to do something like go to the doctor - the night before I would learn all the phrases I needed and then use them - biggest thing I learned was that if you use your new vocabulary in context you remember it. I agree with everything these guys have said. I also studied basic grammar from a book, used Pimsleur, Michele Thomas, flashcards and YouTube native speaking videos. I am nowhere near fluent (Italian grammar is diabolical!) but I have been here 1.5 yrs and go about everyday life and social life with no problem.
갓후 (2 months ago)
wow. simple and fantastic method to learning languages. I am korean. These people have good pronunciation and speak in korean well after 12 weeks.
Shamim Ahmed (2 months ago)
Hi, I am from Bangladesh. I want to learn English. Can anyone help me to learn English.
Krzysztof Kaliński (2 months ago)
Is the "No Enlish Rule" the same when you try to learn English?
Corey Graham (2 months ago)
I don't see how you can learn a language without using your mother tongue unless the target language was using Comprehensible Input (see Stephen Krashen's lectures and TPR).
goldeneddie (2 months ago)
One simple technique to start mastering any language right now: stop messing about on YouTube watching videos about learning language and just do something - ANYTHING - that directly exposes you to the language. Even YouTube videos! ;)
Sookie (2 months ago)
some languages are easier to learn, some are not, so I think the 3 months it is not enough
beedoo mnmn (2 months ago)
لماااااااذا لا توجد الترجمة باللغة العربيه Why these video not translate in Arabic 😩😩
Rbigraff (2 months ago)
You need some words to get started. There may not be person to speak with that speaks the language you are working on. I studied Russian in school. I have no friends that speak it.
Brittni Renaud (2 months ago)
It’s virtually impossible to even go a few days not speaking English let alone a year when you live in Canada and nobody can speak anything but English around you😕
Pink Magic Ali (3 months ago)
Makes sense if you think about it. What I feel people never think about is the fact that when kids are learning they have no choice and they are completely looked after and no one yells at them for saying it wrong (well sometimes but it usually involves abuse). If I lived in a house where someone only speaks Greek I’m going to learn it out of necessity.
sahaj patel (3 months ago)
Jaiswal improve your voice quality.
Maliny Moon (3 months ago)
Following raw food diet will help you!
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Magpie Randoms (3 months ago)
I live in the UK and I'm learning French. I can't afford to move to France, but the proximity to the country is small enough that I can travel by train, ferry or take a half hour flight for a relatively cheap fare. Do you think lots of little day and weekend trips will help me with immersion, opposed to spending three solid months there?
Luis Fernando F e Klock (3 months ago)
I am looking for a Native American (USA) language partner. I'm Brazilian and I'm learning English. if you want to learn Portuguese from Brazil and want a language partner let me know. my skype is: luisfragaklock
Justine Goals (3 months ago)
I'm just trying not to learn... rather feed the curiosity and have fun
Tushar Shete (3 months ago)
I am in Mexico from a month .. it's very tough for me to have a conversation with people in Spanish..
Freddy Frog (4 months ago)
As a professional FOREIGN LANGUAGE COACH and having travelled the world I will say this, the reason why people don't learn another language is: 1. The person cannot commit seriously. 2. The person takes classes but doesn't practice. 3. The person never bothers to to fully emerge in the culture. 4. The person needs friends in that language so that their new language becomes meaningful. 5. The person needs to go to a place where that language is spoken actively. 6. Make language learning fun. Don't make it a task. 7. Keep notes. Put up flash cards all over your house. 8. Write in your target language. Keep lots of notes. 9. Listen to songs. Lots of songs. Listen to films, radio shows, plays. Listen listen listen. 10. Don't let one day go by without working your TARGET LANGUAGE.
Maritza Diaz (4 months ago)
Awesome
Diogo Cruz (4 months ago)
zezé di camargo
Shirdilal Muthyala (4 months ago)
Hi i'm learning english I want a english speaking partner those who are interest let me know
Etienne Sugihara (4 months ago)
I agree with both of you a hundred percent this is the first time that I see that this is going to works thank you both so very much!
Machine Service (4 months ago)
I am a beginner of Spanish, I can speak Chinese and English if anybody can teach me Spanish as a partner, or I can teach the Chinese and English
Maureen Maddy (4 months ago)
I'd been a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter day saints or commonly known as the Mormons. During my assignment to mindanao, i learned Cebuano language in just One and a half month. Bisayan people noticed my fast improvement in Cebuano and these are the techniques i used to learn to speak Cebuano quickly. First, I really didn't care about the grammar. I set my mind that the more mistakes I make the better i would learn the language. Second, i listened very carefully to the native speakers, i studied out in my mind how they pronounce words and how they put the words together. 3rd, I would use the phrases and new words i heard over and over until it became natural to me. 4th, I would always ask members and investigators to correct my speaking. I learned a lot from them and last but not the least, I would always talk to children. Children are the best teachers, it is because they will not make fun of you when you make mistakes and that they will give you honest feedback. P.s. Learn the vocabularies and phrases you need in your everyday conversation.
ScRiPtEaZe (4 months ago)
Its the same for everything. Getting on stage, riding a bike, driving a car, etc. You just have to do it.
Bugsy Bugs (4 months ago)
This isn't practical for most of the world's population. We can't just pack up and move to a country whose language we want to learn. How about a method for learning a language for those who can't travel to that country??????
G. BadrichIndian (4 months ago)
great motivation for me guys as I stopped my Spanish and regretted that I made a grave mistake of not having a spanish woman I wanted and quit. 35 years later and I am using your method. thanks
Luis Angel (5 months ago)
i am going to do it..!
Lucia Reynal (5 months ago)
Can anyone inform me which method is it? Where can I find more information? Any website?
Mike Stone (5 months ago)
The no English rule is the only way to learn.
SAMUEL FERNANDES (5 months ago)
Hello everyone! From brasil! I'm learning English and I need someone native speaker in English, for practice with me. I can help you with Portuguese.
I have to say their Korean sounds very good for 12 weeks of learning! Natural and pretty good pronunciation .. especially compared to many people who have lived here in Korea for years and years..!
am m (5 months ago)
or just move to chinatown...come on, this was the opening snoozer act, right
Alexander Castle (5 months ago)
the no english rule is fkin nice tho
Ditto Blue (5 months ago)
I will try this to learn Hindi, I need to learn it to communicate with my in laws. Thanks for the video I hope it works for me .
dave d (5 months ago)
To learn a language you should... PRACTISE???????? Amazing! These guys are Einstein-level geniuses!
Bob Texan (5 months ago)
i would be happy with just being able to afford to go to 4 other countries for 3 months ....
Talk Talk (5 months ago)
So inspiring!
许绍坚 (5 months ago)
Oh, several simple sentences being spoken out from your mouth by you guys can prove that you can speak a foreign languange...LOL! You know what, 我唔埋单!
FreeTutorial [360] (5 months ago)
I'm inspired! Thanks.
Game Key (6 months ago)
Will playing Counter-Strike go or other communicative game from a Chinese server without speaking English help or would it be to advanced to jump into? secondly dose learning the alphabets and written part help understand verbal communication?
Freddy Grice (6 months ago)
These guys are full of pop. I'm a native Spanish speaker and I'm fluent in Brazilian Portugues. My wife is from Brazil. They don't speak either language even remotely well
Sibabrata Bandyopadhyay (6 months ago)
I do not recommend Google Translator or any online machine translator while learning languages as they work well for French, Spanish and English, but not for other languages
Windows Sucks (6 months ago)
The audio quality
Kelt Dockins (6 months ago)
Hahahaha... that audience looks so disengaged...
Mark Wilson (6 months ago)
Come on now everyone. Lets be really honest. Most people don't learn another language regardless of method because 1. It involves WORK and that means effort and time. 2.A nice idea to impress yourself or others but will you use it?? Probably not. You need a reason to learn languages. If you really wanted to learn a language you would stop every other activity and get on with it. Most people do too much,think too much,are too busy and don't really need to speak another language. If you are lazy minded its not going to happen easily.
Taylor IP6SP (6 months ago)
The statement always speak the language you want to learn is only useful if you know someone else who also wants to learn the same.
J. K. (6 months ago)
Taylor IP6SP not true. My people are native to German, and we all *prefer* it to English. If you want a thing badly enough, you'd be surprised what becomes possible. I am no great lover of English; I am native to it, and I became good at it out of spite! Now when I hear people say I need to use it, I make them eat their stylistically and gramatically incorrect words😂
J. K. (6 months ago)
Taylor IP6SP not true. My people are native to German, and we all *prefer* it to English. If you want a thing badly enough, you'd be surprised what becomes possible. I am no great lover of English; I am native to it, and I became good at it out of spite! Now when I hear people say I Need to use it, I make them eat their stylistically and gramatically incorrect words😂
crashxxx (6 months ago)
16 Min, boils down to "Dont speak English", make mistakes, that's ok
Osamede Nnadi (6 months ago)
Thank you!
Mike Ryan (6 months ago)
great, now fix your volumes, editing. thanks.
Youssef Baghdadi (6 months ago)
i m from morocco an i m looking for someone to practice english.
Alien Military (6 months ago)
Hey guys if you don't mind ..please try to finish your videos in 8-10 minutes
desmondjr brownjohnson (6 months ago)
As-an-ESL-teacher-that-I´m-this-is-my-program
Wang Vince (7 months ago)
The guy you find must be able and patient enough to correct you. Otherwise, your mistakes will be reinforced by using them over and over again, and they will be very hard to be corrected in the future.
Ghetto Lacaba (7 months ago)
Step one: start rich. Step two: make sure you live in the first world. Step three: travel the world. Now learn your new language!
Gana Mbanwei (7 months ago)
Thanks Bro i feel you just gave me something worth millions of Japanese yen
Ted371 (7 months ago)
Amazing.
Charlena Smith (7 months ago)
Hello,would this method be effective when texting a friend too? Should I text my friend using Hangul instead?
Lorraine Best (7 months ago)
I think this worked because you had each other to talk with. I wonder how this would have worked if you had been on your own.
Simon Tolson (8 months ago)
No real research here for this method! And who can afford to live in the country for a while!!!
Joana Rangel (8 months ago)
Why would you go from Spain to Brasil to learn Portuguese when Portugal is right next door to Spain and where the language originates from...
Anasuyah Pather (8 months ago)
This was excellent that kyou. I have been trying to learn Tamil for 20 years and have gotten nowhere. Definitely going to try this method
Fabio Luiz da silva (8 months ago)
Congrats for your lecture! I believe that's a great method, BTW, I'm gonna use it a little different, I'm Brazilian and I'll try the No-Portuguese Rule,Will it work? Let's see, success ever !! Obrigado !!
sidearmsalpha (8 months ago)
Find yourself a girlfriend that speaks the language you want to learn. 😎
Bluce Cloud (8 months ago)
I can speak Korean and Mandarin and I have to say that their Korean and Mandarin at week 12 are quite at beginners' level and it's hard for me to get what they say
Karl Rock (8 months ago)
Thanks! I'm going to try this. I'm currently in India.
[email protected] (8 months ago)
YESSSSS THANKS!!! This really explains my initiative of urging my Chinese-dominated English school to switch notices into English //I had written pieces of scripts of my thoughts but still didn't find them convincing. This vid gives great arguments rly!!!
petar krapic (8 months ago)
This is absolutely true. Two years I spend in Russia, by learning speaking with my co-workers after six months I was able to speak on street with peoples and ask for everything. Almost same I did with Italian language. It is not perfect but who care about.
naomiハロー (8 months ago)
I'm learning English and I understand how hard it is to learn a another language. However, the truth is that it's pretty difficult to put yourself in that environment, like these guys are saying. And you also need a strong mental to take such action.💪
Fábio Albuquerque (9 months ago)
It... is an interesting method, I won't lie. But, in my opinion, it's good for building vocabulary, perhaps. Why? Because in doing what they did they don't properly learn the languages, like the grammar rules, phonetics, etc. Is it important to actually start speaking the language, even if it's not exactly right? Sure. We did exactly that when we were strudying whatever language when we were still in school. But I believe you still need the base structure. For instance, I'm fluent in portuguese (my mother tongue) and in english. I understand the base structure and now I don't even have to think how to structure the phrase. Of course there's always some vocubulary I need to learn, even in my own mother tongue. Nobody knows everything. But now I'm starting to study japanese. I know a few words, sure, but I still don't associate them immediately (a few, perhaps). Though, a know I have to first learn how to properly structure a sentence. What goes where. Where goes the subject, verb, etc. I have actually only taken a few online classes but I ordered a few books to help me and I hope to be much better in a few months. Still, when I'd hear japanese people talkingI would just hear some rambling. But now I actually understand some of the more base things and it allows me to focus on the words that I don't know. To summarise, yes, what they told us is a great way to learn if you just need to get by and don't actually need/want to learn the whole language or become fluent at it. But if you want to actually learn it and eventually become fluent to, let's say, live there you can do this AFTER you've learnt the basics of the language. On what I told you about studying japanese, I don't expect to become fluent in some months/a year, but I surelly won't be speechless when I talk to someone there. I'm probably going there next year, so then I'll be able to actually speak to japanese people which will boost my learning process.
it's great and it could work for everyone, but not everyone has an opportunity to go to other country for 3 months or even for a month or not to use their mother tongue without going abroad. It's a good method, but not everyone can allow themself to use it
Siegfried Braun (9 months ago)
The 'no English rule' would imply a full-time teacher/local expert; how can you determine when you're using the right word, context and pronunciation, otherwise? Why 'learn' to say something incorrectly? I've tried this with my wife and it results in long silences, interspersed with even longer pauses.
Sea Star (9 months ago)
Falling in love with a person whose native language is the one you want to learn ....works wonders !!
Jason200031 (9 months ago)
What level did they acheive in 3 months? Level B1?
Jw Smart (9 months ago)
I love the oblivious rich as much as the next guy but are these 2 serious? Live in france for a year... then travel for another year to 4 places as an experiment? Okay... yes... sure most of us can drop everything and do that... (snark)
Lisa R (9 months ago)
One of the biggest hurdles they have not touched on is: how do you find native speakers who are willing to deal with your babbling?! I live in Germany and I can't even tell you how often people just switch to english rather than suffer through my bad German - it's not even entirely selfish, as it's just more efficient and effective to use english. SO: what about it, guys? What do you do when "they" switch to english on every occasion, hm? "Tell them you will need to use google translate and your dictionary but that's ok" what if it's not ok with THEM? It's just so rude!
Y en donde se aprende bajo este metodo?
BluGyal (10 months ago)
Children are able to get the accent better, the older you get the less likely your able to make certain sounds. My mother spoke English, Arabic and Somali while my father spoke Russian and Somali. I went to a French school so we were speaking 4 different languages at home and I learned French on my own. I still am not 100% fluent in French I'm 27 and I started learning it when I was 5! So I guess it says something about learning the languages your exposed to the most and have memories with. I am fluent in the 4 others.l simply because I spoke it with native speakers almost all the time.
CartoonSalad (10 months ago)
Any one got any tips on how to learn an alphabet? I've been trying to learn Khemer alphabet for a few months now, and still only kinda know four letters. I figured it makes sense to learn the alphabet before you learn the language, but I'm not so sure.
ALPKANLAR [ MEHMET ] (10 months ago)
woww
Janco van der Westhuizen (10 months ago)
Could've put that revolutionary tip in the title and saved everyone 16 and a half minutes
TheDocfri (10 months ago)
But, how can I learn Latin with this technique?
Paul Gee (10 months ago)
You live in the World now, SPEAK ENGLISH!
Altered Carbon (10 months ago)
I have been Studing English for 20 years in USA ..... I dont really believe them!! they a good vacation though.
StarlingofAzerath (10 months ago)
People saying 3 months is bs. The reason so many bloggers are saying 3 months is thats how long a typical tourist visa lasts for most countries. So they ONLY had 3 months to learn it. Not that they reached a fluent level in 3 months and were trying to beat a record.
orestes Lamelas (10 months ago)
THESE DUDES DO NOT HAVE A CLUE OF WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT
Ngọc Diễm (10 months ago)
Thank you so much. It's very helpful for me :)

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