How to Master Successfully Any Language of the World
How to Master Successfully Any Language of the World 15
Importance in this case will be defined as how frequently a word or its specific
meaning is used in common situations and how essential that word/meaning is, when
you need to form phrases in those situations. In other words, how often do you come
across that specific word, used in that specific meaning. This applies to words as well as
to grammar structures. Importance is tightly related to situations. Situations are related to
life and to learner’s level. Life situations which occur more frequently to a beginning
learner, like sightseeing, are not necessarily more common to an advanced learner.
Beginners will rarely need to discuss peculiarities of local politics or the latest film with
their local friends in much detail. More examples: There is a series of words important
for operating machinery at a factory. The situation (operating machinery at that specific
factory) is common only if a learner works at that factory. Then, these words should be
learnt at the beginners’ level. Else they should not be learned up to native level and even
that may be unnecessary. Beginners are expected to be more often involved in eating out
situations than in activities related to cooking gourmet dishes. For an intermediate learner
these two activities may be of the same importance.
It is because of this importance principle, that learning the words according to some
grammatical or dictionary lists usually fails. Dictionary is a reference tool, not a textbook,
and it should be used as such. You may memorize many words, learning by heart the
whole pages from a dictionary, but you will hardly use them. Each word, each meaning
has different importance. Moreover, thinking up each time a different situations for
unrelated words is more difficult, than just taking one situation and learning all the words
that you may come across in THAT situation. Overlooking the importance principle
will unnecessarily complicate language learning and may stop it at all.
Everyday Culture – Related to Language
One of Merriam-Webster definitions for “culture” says: … the characteristic features of
everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time
Each language reflects everyday culture of its society. Each object used within the
society, each more or less popular idea, each situation which commonly occurs – they all
need to get a name or a description. So, the language immediately follows any changes of
society’s rites, ways, technology or ideas.
For some societies the most common water sources will be a spring or a well. And you
will need to learn these words as quickly as possible. In other societies, faucet or tap will
be more common. In some languages you will not need the words like “beer” or “wine” –
you just don’t get any spirits around. For some languages you may not need words for
maize or bread, but you will immediately need a few words for different sorts of rice.
Copyright © 2012 Dmitry Slomov. All rights reserved.
Dmitry Slomov is a language learning consultant, a tutor and the author of the Russian Language Course – Lessons with Dmitry
Contact Dmitry at: http://www.courseofrussian.com/en/contact.html