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Comprehensible input

How to watch Dreaming Spanish videos

What should I focus on or do when watching the videos?

Focus on the content. Enjoy it. Ignore the grammar, words, or pronunciation. Don’t try to analyze the language and don’t repeat the words in your head. It’s not important to learn that word right now. It will come up again in the future, and by repeating it in your head and trying to memorize it you are missing all the other words that come after it.

Don’t take notes. Besides distracting you from the task of focusing on the meaning of the content, they won’t be useful. The best activity to do after getting comprehensible input is not reviewing or practicing vocabulary, but rather getting more comprehensible input.

Also, in general, don’t look up words in the dictionary. More details in Do you recommend looking up unknown words in the dictionary?.

How much time should I spend getting input every day?

Even small amounts of input will result in long-lasting acquisition, since acquired language is not easily forgotten, as opposed to explicitly learned language.

However, seeing the progress you are making is useful to keep you motivated, and getting too little input will make it harder to notice that you are actually learning. In addition to that, you probably want to get to a good level in the language at some point that’s not decades in the future.

For those reasons, and based on our own experience, we recommend spending at least 30 minutes a day consuming comprehensible input if you are learning a language that’s at least somewhat related to your own language, or 1 hour for a language that’s completely different from other languages you are proficient in.

Is there a limit to the amount of time you recommend spending receiving input each day?

There is no hard limit on the amount of input time you can get and benefit from each day. You just need to be careful of not burning out.

Burnout can happen if you are getting bored with the content that you are watching but you are forcing yourself to push through it. To avoid this, we recommend focusing on content that you find interesting. Easier content is also worth a try if you are getting bored because of not understanding enough.

Another reason for burnout can be if you are actively thinking when receiving input. If you are constantly trying to translate in your head, analyzing the grammar, pronunciation or vocabulary of the input you receive, or trying to hold onto new words in your head, your brain will get tired quite fast. This is more common in people who have tried learning a language before using traditional methods, and even more common in people with a lot of analytical knowledge of other languages.

When you let go and learn to enjoy the ride, the difference can be as dramatic as going from feeling exhausted after 30 minutes to being able to watch 6 hours of content without problem.

If you feel you can’t let go and focus only on the meaning, we recommend you initially do shorter sessions with lower level material until you get used to getting input without actively thinking about the language.

I don’t understand anything in your superbeginner videos! I don’t even know when one word ends and the next one begins!

At the superbeginner level, it’s completely expected to just be able to understand the overall story from the drawings and gestures.

At the beginning you may have to adjust your expectations. When starting from zero, it’s expected that you will just be able to start matching some individual words with their meaning here and there. At this point it’s expected to not even get a clear picture of how those words sound. You’ll instead be matching the general feeling you get when hearing each word to their meaning.

We recommend not focusing on individual words. Rather, you should focus on the overall meaning of the message being conveyed by the content. If you understand the overall story, you’ll soon start picking up more and more words.

After just a handful of hours of input, there will be a couple of easy wins that will make the input feel considerably more understandable:

  • Figuring out the divisions of words will become easier when you get used to how words are stressed.
  • If you know English or another language with a significant amount of cognates, you’ll very quickly get used to the way those words sound in Spanish and the general patterns of how those words change from one language to the other.

We also answer this question in our FAQ video (with English subtitles):

When encountering unknown words, do you recommend looking them up in the dictionary?

We strongly recommend to just keep watching. Words and expressions come up again, and their meaning will be evident when you encounter them in a different context. You just have to make sure that the content you are consuming is at your level. If you don't understand most sentences it's better to watch videos at a lower level.

The only case in which it’s okay to look up a word in the dictionary is when you encounter a certain word over and over and understanding that word is key to understanding the general meaning of the piece of content you are consuming. This does not mean any word that you encounter frequently. In almost every single case, a word that will unlock the meaning of a whole piece of content is going to be a noun that refers to a specific reality. Grammatical connectors and other function words, while you may encounter them all the time, won't be useful to understand the meaning of the piece of content.

It goes without saying that all our advice is from the point of view of language acquisition. If you live in the country where the language is spoken and looking up a word in the dictionary is a practical necessity for you, then please go ahead and do what’s practical.

For more about this topic, we recommend watching this video (in Spanish):

Is it better to watch your videos with or without subtitles if I'm struggling to understand everything you are saying?

We recommend watching the videos without subtitles. If you need to read the subtitles to understand a video, then definitionally it means that you are understanding something that is beyond what you can understand just by listening. In this case, we recommend simply moving on to a video that is easier.

Real-life speech doesn't come with subtitles! Even if you're in a learning environment, reading the subtitles distracts from the key activity of developing a mental image of the sounds of the language in your brain.

Should I watch the same video many times?

This is mostly a question of personal preference. Different people can have more or less tolerance for repetition. Some learners report that watching something for a second time helps them understand it better. Though in this case we generally recommend instead to try to watch easier content.

If you have access to content that's at your level, repetition is not necessary. Most importantly, if at any point you feel that you're bored or you're losing focus because you already know the content too well, we recommend watching something new and interesting instead.

Every now and then it can be good to go back to a video that you didn’t understand that well. Your improvement will be clear and that can be really motivating.

We also answer this question in our video FAQ (with English subtitles)

You made a mistake in a video!

It is generally not useful or productive to doubt the correctness of the content you are consuming, be it content for learners, content for native speakers, or content that's been translated or dubbed.

Particularly in content that's not scripted, native speakers misspeak every now and then. But children acquire their language well even though the adults they listen to sometimes make mistakes. They listen to a lot of language and most of the time it's correct. And since acquiring a language is a gradual process, they don't learn those mistakes. Like children, the way we acquire language as adults is with extensive listening and reading. When you receive large amounts of input, mistakes don’t appear consistently, but correctly used language does, and that’s what you acquire.

This is also another reason why we don’t recommend intensive listening or reading. With intensive listening, you listen to the same sentences several times, analyze them, look up words you don’t know, etc. If there was a mistake in the input, or something in that input that is specific to the particular way that person talks, you can end up acquiring those mistakes or learn unnatural words and expressions.

We also answer this question in our video FAQ (with English subtitles):

Which level of videos is good for me?

Initially, we recommend you check out the descriptions we provide for each of the levels and figure out the one that best matches your level.

Once you start watching our videos or consuming any other kind of content, we recommend aiming at understanding at least 80% of the overall meaning (not of individual words). It’s okay if you miss the details, but you should aim at watching mostly videos of which you can get the main thread and that keep you engaged. If you understand 100% of the overall meaning, it’s actually ideal. You may think that you need to encounter many new words in order to learn faster, but the number of words you encounter is not as important as how well you can understand them in their context. When you encounter few new words but their meaning is very clear from their context, that’s when your speed of acquisition will be optimal.

Besides new words, it’s also very important to be exposed to more samples of usage of vocabulary, expressions, and sentence patterns that you can already understand. We estimate that around 90% of our acquisition is in terms of vocabulary and expressions that we think we know but that we still need to completely get used to. Each word has have a whole range of meanings it can cover, nuances, ways to use grammatically in a sentence, and situations in which it’s appropriate to use them. This “leveling up” of things that you already have some familiarity with is what will actually give you the kind of deep understanding that you need for them to turn from passive into active vocabulary and expressions that will come out of your mouth without effort when having a spontaneous conversation.

We also answer this question in our FAQ video (English subtitles)

How can I measure my progress in the language?

If you want an objective metric of your progress, the number one thing that you can measure is the amount of hours of comprehensible input that you have received. Our timeline will give you an estimate for how long it will take you to reach each level.

If you have started reading, you can also start keeping track of the amount of words that you have read using a notebook or a spreadsheet.

To get a more visceral feeling of your progress, you can go back and rewatch content that you watched a long time ago but that you didn’t completely understand. Realizing how much more you can understand now is an awesome feeling.

Finally, to evaluate long-term progress, you can look at the “You can do” section for each of the levels on our progress page and see yourself advancing through them over time.

We also answer this question in our video FAQ (with English subtitles):

How do I know if I'm ready to move on to the next level of Dreaming Spanish videos?

Try watching them! You can always go back and continue watching videos at the previous level until you are ready. When you start watching videos of the next level, we recommend watching first the easier videos within that level.

Even after you start watching videos at a higher level, you can still continue watching videos at the lower levels if you are interested in the topic or like the guide. You’ll still learn plenty of things!

Beginner videos are too easy, but there are many intermediate videos I still can't understand well. What should I do?

That’s to be expected. Even within a certain level, there are always going to be differences in difficulty between videos. You will also understand some videos better than others if you are already familiar with the topic of the video, or you are very familiar with the presenter.

To have an easier start watching intermediate videos, we recommend watching the following kinds of videos:

After watching these videos, the other videos at the same level should now be a lot easier to understand.

What are the 7 levels and the number of hours for each one based on?

The levels in our roadmap were initially based on the experiences of thousands of students that learned Thai with comprehensible input at AUA, and contrasted with Pablo’s experience learning languages that are related to his first language, and languages that are completely different.

Since creating our roadmap, we have received tons of feedback from students that have repeatedly reported being surprised at the accuracy of the length and the descriptions of the different levels.

Nonetheless, there are always factors that are going to make some people learn faster than others, so the roadmap can’t be 100% accurate for everyone.

How do I know what level I’m at? How will I know when to go to the next level?

In our progress page or in our roadmap poster you can see a description of each of the levels and decide which of the descriptions fits you the best. In the progress page you can also see which videos are recommended for each of the levels. We recommend starting by trying to watch videos at that level, and then adjusting based on how well you understand those videos. For maximum learning speed, we recommend you watch videos that seem a little too easy, as long as they don’t feel so slow that you get bored.

Which videos should I watch at each of the 7 levels?

You can see it very clearly in our roadmap chart in the method page.

A general guide is as follows:

  • Level 1: Superbeginner videos
  • Level 2: Beginner videos
  • Level 3: Intermediate videos
  • Level 4: Intermediate videos
  • Level 5: Advanced videos
  • Level 6: Advanced videos and native content
  • Level 7: Native content

At each level, it’s also okay to watch things at the lower levels if you find them interesting and not too slow.

Struggling to understand when listening

I don't understand something you said in a video. What does it mean?

A certain level of ambiguity is something that you have to get used to when learning a language through comprehensible input.

When you don’t understand something, we recommend letting go of it. If the word is important, you will encounter it again in the future. If you feel that you heard a word you know but it’s used in a place where it doesn't make sense, you probably confused it with another word or words.

At each stage of learning a language, your current abilities will determine which kinds of words and expressions you are ready to acquire, and which ones are still out of reach. The words and expressions that are hard to figure out right now will start making sense when you get to the stage at which you are ready to learn them. To learn more, check out the video "Do what you’re ready for" (in Spanish):

I can't understand people that speak fast.

Most of the time, when learners can’t understand fast speech it’s because they haven't acquired a lot of the vocabulary that’s being used. If you can understand a specific sentence only if it's written down or spoken slowly, it probably means that you have conscious knowledge of some of the words, but you haven't fully acquired them yet. Your brain is doing a lot of work translating words and trying to recall their meaning, but that can't be done fast enough to keep up with language spoken at a natural speed.

By watching a lot of easier videos, you’ll have enough comprehension to continue acquiring those words and tie their sound to their concepts directly. After doing that, your brain won't need to make any effort to understand them, and you'll understand them even when people speak at full speed. There is no need to practice listening to people speaking fast to be able to understand fast speech.

I can recognize many words that I don't know the meaning of. Why is that?

This often happens because there are some words that are very frequent, but which meaning can't be acquired until your level is higher. Common examples are grammatical connectors, like articles, conjunctions and prepositions.

Since the purpose of this kind of words is to show how different elements of the sentence relate to each other, it’s not possible for our brain to figure out their meaning subconsciously until we already know most of the other words in the phrases in which they appear. And then we need to get exposed to enough of these phrases for our brain to figure out the pattern and therefore their meaning.

This feeling of being familiar with some words but not understanding them happens even more if you watch a lot of content that’s above your level. For some of those words, you may actually be able to recall them and say them out loud before you know anything about their meaning. The meaning of these words will become clear once you are at a level in which you can understand the sentences in which they appear.

The more I listen to the language the fewer words I feel I know.

This is related to the question I can recognize many words that I don't know the meaning of. Why is that?.

If you are at the lower levels 1 to 3, it is very likely that you are listening to a lot of incomprehensible input. Through repetition, your brain has learned to distinguish some of the most common words. However, your comprehension is not good enough for you to be able to guess the meaning of those words. If this is the case, we recommend that you focus on watching or listening to easier content for now.

If you are already at around level 4 or 5, then what you are experiencing is quite normal, and it happens even when learning any other field in depth. It’s normal to feel some frustration. The more we know, the more we realize we don’t know yet. This is even more pronounced in language learning, because there will be many sentences that you can almost understand if it weren’t for that one uncommon word that you don’t know yet. At this point you will realize how many of these less common words there are, and how much you still have ahead of you.

At this level, another very common thing to experience is learning some very common words that had for some reason eluded you until now. This will leave you asking yourself how come you hadn't learned them yet. Eventually, this will go away as you progress into level 6.

I still can't understand movies and TV shows.

Understanding native media presents more challenges than understanding materials for learners. Materials for learners usually contain language used in a presentational style. First, the topic is introduced. Then, the speaker proceeds to talk about the topic step by step in a logical order that’s easy to follow. The things that the speaker talks about are limited to that particular topic, so they are quite easy to guess based on your previous knowledge about the topic.

Native media can often be the complete opposite of that. Things can be said quite spontaneously without much context provided, and topics can change fast. Characters can use slang, slur when they speak, and in general use very short sentences that are hard to understand even if you just missed one single word. Sometimes there is also music or other noise making the speech harder to understand.

The main thing you need to do is to simply keep acquiring vocabulary, so that there are fewer chances of not understanding some of the words. Getting more exposure to common expressions will also help you understand unclear speech, because you don't need to hear every single letter in an expression to be able to identify it. A bit like the way English speakers can understand "I don't know" even by just hearing the intonation of the sentence.

Besides that, some things that will help understand media are:

  • Getting more input about related topics that use some of the same vocabulary.
  • Watching educational videos that contain a lot of slang.
  • Watching videos that are not in a presentational style. For example, try watching our role-play videos.

We also answer this question in our video FAQ (with English subtitles):

I still can’t understand native speakers having a conversation with each other.

One of the most satisfying milestones when learning a language is to go to a social gathering and be able to understand conversations between native speakers. These conversations can often be quite hard to understand for a learner, since we may not know the topic they’re talking about, the topic can change quite frequently, people may use local slang, or know each other so well that they can communicate using fewer words.

A few tips to get better at understanding these conversations are:

  • Reach a higher level in the language in general.
  • Get familiar with the local slang by watching locally produced media.
  • Socialize a lot to get used to the way people communicate.
  • Get to know the people you are hanging out with, so you know their background, their inside jokes, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people about the topic of the conversation. Notice that when two people are having a conversation in your mother tongue, you may still not understand what they are talking about if you got there halfway into the conversation. As long as you don’t do it every 5 minutes, it’s okay to ask people to let you in on what they’re talking about like you would do with your friends and family.
I still can’t understand music.

Together with understanding native speakers talking to each other, this is the other ability that requires a really high level of the language.

What should comfort you the most is that many times we don’t even understand the lyrics of some songs in our own native language. And for most songs there are usually a few sentences or words that we can’t figure out. In some cases you may have been singing the wrong lyrics for years.

Some obvious reasons for not being able to understand lyrics are fast singing and loud instruments that overpower the singing voice.

But there are also a few linguistic reasons that most people haven't considered:

  • Since singing follows the rhythm and the pitch of the melody, a lot of information present in normal speech is lost, like syllable stress, and sentence rhythm and intonation.
  • Song lyrics are mostly devoid of context. Lyrics just begin, and we don’t know who is talking to who, in what situation, for what reason, in what tone, etc. This is inherent to lyrics and poetry.
  • And finally, but probably the most important, is that lyrics tend to use “beautiful” language. Many lyrics consist of uncommon, poetic, abstract words and figurative meanings. Sometimes with obscure references to the life of the artist. For native speakers, even wen we can understand the words, it can be hard to figure out what the meaning actually is.

It’s important to know that understanding song lyrics is one of the hardest things that you can do in a foreign language, and that many people take a long time to get there, or never do.

Since the variety of vocabulary used can be so large, there are not many things that we can recommend doing if you want to specifically get better at understanding lyrics, other than:

  • Continue to get better at the language in general.
  • Read the lyrics of the songs that you like. There can be quite an overlap in the vocabulary used between songs in the same genre, so reading lyrics of a few songs in your favorite genres can help you understand other songs.

Learning vocabulary

It takes me a long time to learn a new word.

If you are used to studying a word and then feeling that you have “learned” it, doing real acquisition can feel slow. That is because when we study a word, we create a single connection between that word and a translation (or picture). Translating the word leaves us feeling that at least we can somewhat use the word. The problem is that one single connection is not only thin and flimsy, and therefore easily forgotten, but it’s also far from complete.

Instead, when we acquire a word through exposing ourselves to experiences in which the word is used meaningfully, hundreds of connections are formed between the word and all the things we were aware of and feeling during those experiences. Those connections not only make our knowledge of the word a lot more durable, but they also give us a more complete understanding about how that word can be used in a sentence, when it’s appropriate to use it, its nuances, and its whole range of meanings. We explain this in more detail in our blog post The Nature of Words.

As a consequence, you will never acquire 100% of any single word in one day. Instead, you will be acquiring 1% of 1000 different words that you’ve come in contact with that day.

Also, you’ll be happy to know that the higher your level is, the faster you’ll be learning words. When you get better at the language, you’ll be more used to the sounds of the language, so you’ll be more likely to recognize the sounds that form each word. Your brain will have a much easier time remembering a word, since it will just have to put together the sounds that already exist in your head, instead of having to record the sound of each word as a completely new concept. Besides becoming familiar with the sounds of the language, you’ll also intuitively get used to what combinations of letters are likely to appear and which ones aren’t. That will make it even easier to learn new words.

And it gets even better! Getting used to the commonly used prefixes, suffixes, and already having learned another word in the same word family will help your learning even more.

What's the difference between learning a word and acquiring it? If I know it I know it!

When you get further into your journey, you’ll realize that an explicitly learned word and an acquired word feel completely different. When you learn a word consciously it's like when parents learn a slang word and try to use it to sound cool. It's unnatural. They just throw it in there. Waiting for it to land. And looking at your face to see your response, to see if they used it correctly. When you really have acquired a word, you know it feels right. You know that the other person will understand it, because you understand it. It will be obvious to you that you will be understood.

Why does Spanish have two words for this single meaning? What’s the difference between them?

Every language has synonyms and near-synonyms. English has plenty of them. You’ll get used to the slight differences in meaning and usage by getting lots of input, as you did for your first language. By hearing them in different contexts, you’ll acquire them as two completely different concepts without any need to compare them or to connect them to each other in any way. That’s how you’ll manage to learn their nuances well and use each word naturally without having to think about which one to use every time you need to use one.

Do not try to learn their differences explicitly. That's the worst that you can do, since it will connect the words to each other in your head unnecessarily, and you will be actively causing the confusion you were trying to avoid.

We also answer this question in our video FAQ (with English subtitles):

These two words in Spanish sound so similar to each other! How can I avoid mixing them up?

Traditional education tries to prevent mixing up words that sound similar. It does so by teaching both words at the same time and explicitly teaching the difference between them. But this is counterproductive and actually causes many learners to mix up two words that they wouldn’t otherwise have had any problem learning.

When learning with comprehensible input, words that sound similar will appear in completely different contexts and that will keep them separated in your brain. You’ll also learn them at different times in your learning journey, which will help even more. Most times you won’t even realize that those words are pronounced similarly. Sometimes you’ll realize that two words are pronounced similarly or the same years after you learned both words.

Thinking about them in terms of their differences will only confuse you and make them get mixed up in your head. Try to just accept every new word that you learn as it's used in the situation you hear it in. And if its meaning is not clear enough yet, it will be soon!

We also answer this question in our video FAQ (with English subtitles):

What about low frequency vocabulary? I'll never encounter it enough times to acquire it from input.

This is a common misconception. You actually will encounter low frequency vocabulary very often. This assumption that so-called “low frequency vocabulary” can’t be learned from input arises from the belief that because a word is not very common, we are only likely to encounter it once in a very long time, and therefore not encounter it enough times in a short period to be able to memorize it.

The problem with this reasoning is that it assumes that in each source of input in the language, the frequency of each word follows the same frequency than in the language overall. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Besides the most basic grammatical connectors, the vocabulary used in different situations in which the language is used varies wildly. You will see very little overlap between a Wikipedia article, a daily conversation, a newspaper, and a fantasy movie. The frequently used words in those contexts are completely different from the frequently used words in the language overall.

Every area of use of the language has “low frequency” vocabulary specific to that area that gets repeated a lot. Even within an area, each topic has its own specific vocabulary. Even within a topic, every author or speaker has their own words they use more often. Every context in which the language is used has its own “low frequency words” that are actually used very frequently in that context.

Learning “low frequency” vocabulary is actually unavoidable. Every time you are consuming comprehensible input, that input will belong to a specific area of usage of the language, a specific topic, and will have been produced by a specific person or group of people.

If you feel like recently you haven’t encountered many new words, try reading books by a different author, explore media formats that you haven’t consumed yet (documentaries, reality shows, ...), or learn about a topic that you would like to know more about.

How do you say X in Spanish?

While memorizing how to say a specific word or sentence in a language is absolutely fine if you need it for a practical purpose, it doesn't work as a strategy for language learning.

Thinking that the way we learn a language is by learning how to map our first language to our target language arises from a fundamental misunderstanding of what a language is.

When speaking your native language, your brain uses its mental image of the language to convert thought into words. The same happens when you acquire a second language and speak it. You don’t first convert your thoughts into your first language and then into your second language. You need to build the connections that will allow you to directly convert thought into words and expressions in your target language.

Trying to translate in your head will not only slow you down, it just doesn’t work. Trying to translate specific words will often end in unnatural language or in expressions that are not comprehensible to speakers of your target language. We explain it in more detail in our answer to Why does language X work like this? Why is this said this way? Can’t I just say it like in English?.

Conscious study

Do you recommend looking up unknown words in the dictionary?
Are language learning apps a good use of my time?

In general language learning apps tend to focus on conscious study or practice and are not our cup of tea. We don’t recommend any apps like Duolingo or anything else that's based on exercises, quizzes, flashcards, or any other kind of "practicing".

To the extent that you can find apps that provide authentic content that you can understand, we would wholeheartedly recommend those. Your favorite podcasting app could be your best friend here. Netflix and YouTube are also excellent if you are already able to find native content that you can understand.

Hopefully in the future we will have enough resources to build our own app and provide our content through it. In the meantime, our platform still largely works on mobile through the browser. If you add the website to your mobile phone's home screen, it will even function pretty much like an app.

Should I use flashcards and flashcard apps like Anki?

One great use for flashcard apps are to learn other scripts. Anki and similar apps can be really powerful for this when combined with a mnemonic device for each letter or character that you want to memorize.

However, we don’t recommend them as a way to acquire a language. There are many issues with flashcards that prevent them from being a useful tool to acquire vocabulary or grammar:

  • There is no context for the word or sentence that you are learning. Every time you review the card, you are not getting any new information about the nuances of the word, the situations in which it can be used, or the ways in which it can be used in different sentences. Even when "context" is included in the card, it's just one example sentence that still doesn't provide 90% of the context that you get when you encounter a word when you are receiving comprehensible input.
  • When you review flashcards, the encounters that you have with the words are not being linked to experiences, so they are much easier to forget. Words that have been acquired through actual memorable experiences don’t need to be reviewed. When learning through flashcards, the memories you have of each word are connected to the context of reviewing your flashcards, and that's it. Those words won’t come to mind easily when encountered in other situations. This means that even understanding them will be hard.
  • Reviewing flashcards incentivizes you to learn the translation of words, or at the very least to consciously analyze their meaning. This promotes memorizing and reinforcing your own misconceptions about the meaning of words and fossilizes mistakes.
  • In our own experience, most times you end up learning the card, not the word or grammar point. As soon as you see the card you may already know the answer even if you haven’t finished reading the word or sentence in the front of the card. In that case, you are not even going through the exercise of recalling the meaning of the word or figuring out the meaning of the sentence by actually reading it. But rather, your brain has managed to figure out the least amount of work it can do to do what you are asking of it, which is coming up with the answer. And it managed to do that without learning any applicable skill.
Why can't I learn basic (function) words first? (the verb "to be", prepositions, conjunctions)?

The main reason is that studying a word does not mean acquiring it.

In addition to that, traditional language learning has a mistaken idea about what the “basics” are when acquiring a language. To know why these words are only acquired later on, check out the answer to the question Don’t I need to learn the basics of the language before consuming input?.

How will I know I'm saying something right if nobody corrects me?

The magic of learning with comprehensible input is that you gain the same kind of intuitive feeling for what’s correct and what’s not that native speakers have, without anybody having to explain it to you. Once you have acquired enough of the language, you will be able to produce sentences in the language because you will know that that’s how they should be said.

Besides having experienced this ourselves, there is a lot of research (read any of the meta-analyses by John Truscott) showing us that both spoken and written corrections don’t work, since they don’t have any lasting effects on acquisition.

This even holds true for children learning their first language. There is a huge amount of variation in the amount of corrections that children get by the adults in their life. Some don’t get any at all. Still, they all get to become native speakers of the language.

But babies get constantly corrected by their parents and other adults!

Even though some families in some cultures do sometimes correct the output that their children produce, there’s no indication that that results in children making fewer mistakes or reaching a higher level in the language in the long term.

In addition to that:

  • There are whole cultures that don’t correct the speech of their children.
  • Even the ones that do, parents don’t correct most mistakes if they can understand what the child said.
  • The feedback that parents give to their children is ambiguous. In most cases it’s not clear if they are correcting the child, or just asking for confirmation to make sure they understood correctly.
What if I’ve “damaged” myself already? Can I fix it now?

If you have practiced speaking, reading or writing a lot before reaching a high level in the language, you may have created many connections in your brain connecting the language you are learning to the grammar, vocabulary usage and pronunciation of your first language. If so, what can you do now? How can you fix it?

The truth is that we don’t have a definitive answer for this, since we don’t even know if it’s possible or not to undo it. Our main recommendation is to not cry over spilled milk, and just try to do as good of a job as you can from now on, and focus on getting tons of input.

In general, after we’ve learned something, there’s no way of actively erasing it from our brains. Rather, the closest we can do is to try not to use that part of our brain. Without those connections being reinforced over a very long period of time, they will slowly fade away. The best we can do is to try to build stronger alternative pathways that our brain will use instead of the old ones by being exposed to correct language.

Even if you’ve produced tons of early output, your understanding of the language can still become amazing. And just by knowing that you should focus on input, your speaking and writing ability can still become better than that of most people who learned the language as adults.

What can I do to stop translating in my head?

When getting input, if you feel that you are translating involuntarily in your head, or that you need to translate some words to be able to understand them, it probably means that you have consciously learned those words as translations, and you haven’t acquired them yet.

We should first make clear that translating in your head is not a necessary step of learning a language, and if you learn a language using comprehensible input from the beginning it can be minimized or completely eliminated.

Still, you may find yourself involuntarily doing it. To reduce and eventually get rid of the habit of translating in your head, the only thing you need to do is to keep acquiring vocabulary. To make that easier, we recommend watching content at a lower level than you think you need. That way, more of the words you encounter will be words that you have already acquired and that you don’t need to translate in order to understand. This will give your brain a chance to acquire the words that you have consciously learned but haven't acquired yet.

Watching content at a lower level may seem boring, but it will be less taxing and you’ll be able to get more input time every day without your head feeling exhausted and getting distracted.

Practicing speaking

Why do you not recommend practicing speaking?

Practicing speaking has quite a few benefits. However, we don't recommend it at the early stages for most people because speaking before you have formed a clear mental image of the language has quite a few drawbacks. This advice applies to most people, but you should consider your specific situation and decide whether the benefits are worth the drawbacks for you.

The first thing you need to know is that speaking doesn’t result in acquisition. Acquisition is the result of being exposed to vocabulary and sentence patterns that over time add information to our mental image of the language. Since speaking is output, it can’t add new information to this model. When we speak, everything is coming from inside ourselves. We also know that speaking and being corrected doesn’t help us improve: How will I know I'm saying it right if nobody corrects me?

The main drawback of speaking too early is that you will end up building in your head your own version of the language. This version of the language will be affected by your first language and by your own misconceptions about the language. The earlier that you start speaking and the more you speak the more it will be influenced. Speaking early can affect all of the following:

  • Native usage of the grammar.
  • Appropriate usage of idiomatic language and collocations.
  • Learning the correct meaning of words.
  • Using the right vocabulary in the right context, like formal language or slang.
  • Having a clear understandable pronunciation.

These effects are worse if you start speaking before you accumulate enough hours of input, and also based on the amount of speaking you do.

Having said that, speaking also has many practical benefits. If you are already in the country and you need to speak to get basic things done, it would be impractical to refrain from doing so, for example. If speaking with others really keeps you motivated, as another example, then clearly it's better to speak than to burn out and quit.

Our goal is to lay out the logic behind our recommendations as clearly as possible, so that each person can understand the why and reason out exactly what is the best decision given their own context and situation.

Should I ever practice speaking? When?

Definitely! We recommend doing so once you get to level 6 in the language learning roadmap. Optionally, you can start already at level 5 if you are not too concerned about your pronunciation being spot-on.

Speaking is a lot less important than people think, and the amount you need to practice is a lot less than usually believed, but it’s still necessary to achieve a couple of things:

  • Learning to use the muscles in your mouth to produce the sounds of the language. This will help you build the muscle memory that’s necessary for you to be able to pronounce words accurately and at a normal pace. It’s better to do this once your knowledge of the sounds of the language is good enough that you can tell whether the sounds coming out of your mouth match the way they sound in your head. The kind of muscle memory learning you are doing in this step is similar to learning to spin a pen, riding a bike, or bouncing a basketball. That is to say, it only takes a few hours to learn, not months or years.
  • Gaining confidence by having positive experiences communicating in the language. Having positive experiences talking to people will help you gain confidence in your ability to hold a conversation. That will help you go less into your head, let the language you have acquired come out unencumbered, and speak more fluently without second-guessing yourself. And you will get mostly positive experiences if your level is high enough.

Speaking is also a way to get speakers of the language to talk back to us and provide us with more input. This kind of input is especially valuable because it’s relevant to us, to our life and to our relationships. We also pay a lot of attention because the other person expects us to. If you live in a country where the language is spoken, you can start to speak a bit earlier in order to benefit from this additional input. If you do so, we recommend that you ask short questions and try to prompt people to talk to you for a long time, while avoid pushing yourself to use grammar or vocabulary above your level.

Besides that, there are of course practical benefits to speaking if you live in the country, and we wouldn’t dream of telling you to not speak the language if you need it to get a job, find a place to stay, or buy food for your children.

You can also check out our video “When to start speaking”:

But you need to practice speaking to be able to speak! You should speak as soon as you can.

There’s plenty of evidence that output arises spontaneously from input, and that there’s no need to practice output early on, or to practice a lot. There have been many cases of children that remained silent for years, and when they started speaking they could already put sentences together as well as any other child their age. There are also examples of adults that hadn’t been able to communicate for their whole lives because of a handicap, and once a technology became available to help them overcome that, they were as proficient as any other adult.

Based on the research of the last few decades and on our own experience, this also holds true for adults learning a foreign language.

Traditional language education often works on the assumption that vocabulary needs to be “activated”. This theory suggests that the mental effort of searching for words in our head somehow “activates” them and moves them from our passive vocabulary to our active vocabulary.

But that can’t be necessary. Think about the following words: Cleopatra, horseshoe, shrine, blacksmith, Neptune, malaria. What do they have in common? They are words that are quite infrequent, and most native speakers likely never had to say out loud a few of them. Yet, most native speakers wouldn't have any problem producing them fluently during a conversation. If you think about it, you'll probably realize that you routinely say words in your first language for the first time in your life without needing to "activate" them.

And in our personal experience, we also do it a lot in languages that we’ve learned later in life. Many language learners have had the experience of having said a word that came out of their mouth spontaneously, without ever having said it before. Sometimes even without being aware that they knew the word. We explain this in more detail in the blog post How to play a foreign language.

Some people believe that we need to start speaking early so that we learn from the corrections we receive. But corrections are not good feedback for learning a language, and the research shows that they don’t work. For more on this, check the answer for How will I know I'm saying it right if nobody corrects me?.

Besides speaking not resulting in acquisition, starting to speak too early on can actually be quite detrimental, as we explain in Why do you not recommend practicing speaking?.

The conclusion is that even if your final goal is speaking, you learn speaking best by first listening a lot.

Don't you need pronunciation training? Even some children learning their first language need speech therapy.

The key word is some. The majority of children acquire all the sounds of their native language perfectly without ever needing any kind of intervention. Even children that have a speech impediment have acquired all the other sounds of the language perfectly.

Like most children, most adults won’t need any explicit instruction. Speech impediments generally only happen for very specific sounds that are objectively hard to produce, like the “s”, the Spanish “rr”, or the English “r”.

As an adult, you should do the same thing that children do. Assume that everything will be okay and only seek help if something is not working. Once you get a few hundred hours of input to get used to the sounds of the language and after a few dozens of hours of speaking you'll be in a better spot to know if you need pronunciation training.

The reason why trying to consciously learn pronunciation early on doesn't work is that the amount of different sounds that we can make with our mouths is unlimited. Because we use approximately 45 muscles when speaking, each basic sound in isolation is already impossible to completely convey with words. And to that you need to add:

  • The ways in which native speakers articulate the transition from one sound into the next.
  • The ways the sound changes depending on where the sound appears in a sentence.
  • The ways sounds change when one is speaking fast.
  • Changes to sounds that depend on the situation, like social setting, the mood of the speaker, or relationship between the speakers.

Since conscious study can't teach you all those things with precision, practicing speaking too early will result in getting used to your own idea of what the language should sound like, and not what it actually sounds like.

How do I start speaking?

There are a few options, depending on how comfortable you are with uncertainty.

Finding a language exchange partner. This is the most comfortable option. You will be talking with a person who is in your own situation and understands how uncomfortable it can be to start trying to speak a language. Usually, language exchange partners will be very comforting and patient. If your partner isn't, you should find a new one.

We recommend asking your partner to not correct your mistakes. Getting corrections is often counterproductive. Not only has it been proven that they can't be used by learners to improve, but they can also make you self-conscious, doubt yourself, and harm your fluency. Sometimes even making you make more mistakes than if you hadn't doubted yourself and just went with your gut feeling.

Going to a language exchange event. There's a lot of variation in the quality of these. Some are good, but some just become a place to socialize where everybody ends up just speaking English. We recommend the more structured ones in which there's a certain amount of time dedicated to each of the languages. You can find many of these events on or on Facebook.

Use the language in the real world. Visit or go live in an area or country where the language is spoken. Then go run errands, visit cafes, join social activities, make friends, or work or study there. This is the real thing, and a true test of your level in the language. It's also easier the higher your level already is when you go to the country.

This can depend on the place where you go, but if your level in the language is still low, chances are that you'll experience a certain amount of negative interactions. Depending on how comfortable you are with this, you may decide to wait a bit more until your level is higher. Remember that the locals don't have any obligation to be your teachers and a lot of the time they just want to get through their busy day like we all do. If you have another language in common with them (like English), they will probably switch to it as soon as they think that it will make the interaction easier. If a waiter or a clerk doesn't seem interested in helping you practice the language, remember that people can be busy and stressed while doing their job, and you shouldn't expect them to have enough patience to participate in your learning if there's an easier way to communicate and get their job done.

I understand a lot more than what I can say.

This will always be the case. The same is true for native speakers. Fortunately this is not only inevitable, it's also a good thing!

We only need to know one way to express one idea, but speakers may say the same thing in many different ways, and we need to be able to understand them.

If you continue with your input, both your passive and your active vocabulary will keep growing until you get to the point where your active vocabulary is big enough for you to be able to communicate in every situation you need it for. Your goal is not to “activate” your passive vocabulary, but to keep growing both passive and active vocabularies.

If you think you need to "activate" your vocabulary to be able to produce words that you can already understand, check out the answer to But you need to practice speaking to be able to speak! You should speak as soon as you can.

I can understand but I can’t speak.

This is an extreme version of the previous question.

The first thing we need to do is to clarify what you mean by “I can’t speak”. Do you mean you can’t come up with any words? Do you mean that you hesitate when you try to speak? Does it mean that the language doesn’t flow out naturally without any effort? All these are very different things, and many of them have been answered in the previous question: I understand a lot more than I can say.

If you really are in one of the more extreme cases, meaning that you can understand almost everything but cannot put together more than 2 words, it’s usually due to one of these two reasons:

  • You can already speak a similar language to the one you are learning. For example, you are learning Spanish as a speaker of Portuguese, French or Italian. In these cases, because so much of the vocabulary and the grammar is so similar to your language, you can guess what most things mean, even if you haven’t actually learned the Spanish version of those words yet. Evidently, it’s a lot easier to guess what something means than to guess how to say a word that you haven’t learned yet. In this case, you could be comparing your small active vocabulary with all the vocabulary that you can guess the meaning of. That difference is indeed extreme. You need to realize that just because you understand a lot it doesn’t mean that you have learned much Spanish yet. You need to keep getting input and actually acquire the Spanish words like everyone else. You’ll still be learning faster than anyone that doesn’t have this advantage. If you are in this situation, we recommend you check out the answer to What’s the best way to learn if I already speak another Romance language?.
  • You are a heritage speaker of the language. You grew up hearing the language around you, but you didn’t speak it yourself. There can be a big range of experiences among heritage speakers. There are differences in the amount of exposure they got to the language, whether the speech was directed to them or not, or in how many different contexts they were exposed to it. Some heritage speakers just heard some of their relatives speak the language to each other, and may be overestimating the total amount of input they actually received. It’s also possible that they only ever heard the same few words and sentences about day-to-day issues, so the input they got was not varied enough.

For the most part, heritage speakers that did have at least one parent speak to them in the language most of the time have actually acquired a lot of the language. They may be hesitant about speaking it because they haven’t had the need to, or because they may have had bad experiences with it in the past. Usually these speakers are speaking the language quite fluently after a week or two in a country where the language is spoken. They just needed to realize how much they already knew and lose the fear of speaking it.

I don’t want to sound native! Why does having an accent matter?

Unless you are a secret agent, having a slight accent is not an issue, as long as you can be well understood.

Even having a stronger accent won’t impede communication if the people you talk to are used to listening to people with that specific accent. That is the case with Indian people in the UK, or Mexican people in certain areas of the US.

But the stronger your accent is, the more that native speakers will struggle to understand you. You’ll have to repeat or rephrase more things, they’ll have to use more mental effort to try to understand you, and your interactions will tend to be shorter and more tiring.

While you don’t need to get people to believe that you are a native speaker of the language, having a clear pronunciation is always a positive thing, especially when there’s no extra effort required to get it.

But babies babble and practice speaking right from the beginning!

Babbling hasn’t been shown to have any clear relation with learning to speak. The fact is that babies spend many months hearing their mother tongue before they say their first word. They start understanding much earlier than that, though, and by the time they say their first word they can already understand a lot.

Another example that shows this point very clearly are young children that move to another country. Children that move around the age of 9 or younger consistently become indistinguishable from native speakers. However, these children never babble their second language. They do, though, have a long silent period in which they observe and pay attention to what the people around them are saying before they start speaking. If only we didn’t forget the things that we already knew intuitively as children…

If I wait to start speaking, won’t that make me more hesitant to start speaking the language in the future?

You can think about it this way: when you just start learning a language, you have never spoken it before. You haven’t spoken it in your whole life. Let’s say that you don’t know any Swedish and you have never studied it. Would you say: “I’m used to not speaking Swedish”? Well, of course not! Before you start speaking a language, you simply haven’t got used to speaking it yet. It doesn’t mean that your whole life you have been getting used to not speaking it. Leaving speaking for later doesn’t mean that you are going to “get used to not speaking it”. You already are as “used to not speaking it” as you can ever be, and waiting is not going to change anything.

On the other hand, waiting until you have reached a certain level in the language means that the interactions you have with native speakers will be more positive. You will have fewer negative interactions, and be less hesitant to speak it.

I make many mistakes.

If you make many mistakes when speaking the language, it just means that you are not there yet. You may know many words and expressions superficially, but you still need to finish acquiring them well. You may know enough words for the situation in which you are trying to use the language, but you may not have acquired some of the grammar that is naturally acquired at later stages of the process yet.

If you could already speak a related language, you may be able to “wing it” and produce sentences, but you’ll be relying on your first language for a lot of the vocabulary and grammar, so your sentences will be riddled with errors. Again, there is nothing really to “fix”. You just need to continue acquiring the language by getting more input.

We also answer this question in our video FAQ (with English subtitles):

Reading and writing

Why do you not recommend reading?

Reading is great! It’s necessary to learn to spell words, and it gives you exposure to words and expressions that are rarely used in the spoken language. Unfortunately, reading before you’ve listened enough can lead to problems with your acquisition of the pronunciation of the language.

If you are sure that you are never going to want to speak the language, then there’s no issue at all with reading even at the earlier stages. Once you get to level 3 in our timeline, you should be able to read the easier graded readers without too many problems.

If you want to eventually speak the language, though, it’s best to leave reading for later. When reading, you’ll be sounding out the words in your head. If you read before you have a good mental image of the sounds of the language, you’re invariably going to read the letters in a nonnative way.

You’ll be influenced negatively by the following three things:

  • The way the letters are pronounced in your language.
  • The sound in your language that’s closest to the sound in the target language.
  • By your imprecise conscious understanding of how that letter is supposed to sound.

Since that understanding is not based on a mental model built by input like the one native speakers have, it won’t be accurate.

We explain this in a lot more detail in the blog post The tyranny of the written word.

Check out our method to know when we recommend to start reading.

But I'm a visual/textual learner. I need to see words written down.

This belief stems from the misconception that there are different kinds of learners. This is called the “learning styles hypothesis”, which, besides having no evidence for its existence, has been disproven:

The truth is that the senses that we use to learn each ability depend on the ability we are learning, not on the person learning it. You can’t learn to drive a car by reading, or learn to paint by listening.

When people identify themselves as “visual learners” or “verbal learners“, it’s not because they can learn a new language better or faster by looking at written words than by listening to them. The reason is that they’ve found that it’s easier to remember the spelling of a written word in a known alphabet than to remember the sound of a word after hearing it being spoken in an unknown language. But the reason why that happens is not that they generally learn better by looking at things than by listening.

The real reason is that the sounds of the new language don’t yet exist as concepts in the brain of a new learner, while the letters of the Roman alphabet already have their own place in their brain. It is easier for their brain to form connections between concepts that already exist than to create entirely new concepts for the new sounds. But concepts for the sound system of the new language need to be created, or your brain will use the ones that of your first language instead.

Luckily, once you listen a lot and learn the sounds of the new language well, you'll have an equally easy time remembering new words when you hear them, and you won't be influenced by the sounds of your native language.

To learn more about this, check out our blog post The mythical visual learner.

Should I practice writing?

There’s only one reason why you may ever need to practice writing: learning to handwrite in a new script.

Practicing writing doesn’t help to learn how to spell. Reading does. Even teaching spelling to children in school for their first language doesn’t work and the only thing that has lasting effects is the amount of books that they read.

If you want to get good at writing certain kinds of texts (say technical texts), you need to get lots of input about those topics.

Can I start reading early if I listen to the corresponding audiobook at the same time?

It’s hard to tell if the audio that you are hearing will cancel out your inner voice. Many people mention that they end up paying more attention to the reading than to the listening, so the listening may not be able to overpower your inner voice. But we actually don’t have much data on the issue and it’s hard to make a definitive conclusion.

In general, it’s good to be skeptical about any kind of activity that has you doing more than one thing at once. Usually you end up not doing either one very well.

Do we need to read while listening to an audiobook? How will we make the connection between writing and speaking?

If you are learning Spanish or another language that’s written very phonetically, then there’s no reason to. If you have acquired a word by listening and you see it written, you’ll be able to make the connection every single time. Therefore, the listening and the reading can happen independently of each other with no problem whatsoever and without you needing to take any additional measures.

For English and other languages in which the relation between writing and pronunciation is not consistent, it may be helpful. While we still recommend focusing on listening until you get to level 5 or 6, once you start reading you can try reading while listening to the corresponding audiobook, or watch videos, movies and shows with matching subtitles. You can do that for a while until you get used to the most common spelling patterns. Once you do that, you will have gained the ability to identify words that you've heard but haven’t seen before.

Chinese and Japanese are different from other languages in this regard, and require more specialized advice. We won’t be getting into these two languages here, since we would need a whole FAQ page just for that.

When and how do I start reading?

At the lower levels, reading any kind of text will be too much of a struggle to be worth your time, since you’ll be acquiring much faster by watching comprehensible input content for beginners. An exception to this are speakers of other Romance languages. If that’s your case, you may be able to read quite a lot of native material right from the beginning.

If you really are planning on not using Spanish for conversation and you don’t care about pronunciation, you can start reading at levels 3 or 4 on our timeline. At those levels you can read graded readers.

If you want to start reading at level 5, it’s not a big deal at this point and it shouldn’t keep you from developing clear pronunciation in the language. You'll still end up with better pronunciation and fluency than the vast majority of learners. You'll be able to understand books targeted at elementary school children of lower grades, and you may be able to skip the graded readers.

For an optimal acquisition of the pronunciation of the language and an easier time reading, we recommend holding off on reading until you are at level 6. The best books to read are those that are targeted at elementary school children. At this level, you don't need to stick to the lower grades. However, nonfiction will often be much easier to understand than fiction.

What should I do when reading a book? Should I analyze the language?

Since we acquire a language by getting lots and lots of input, the only thing you need to do is to read the book. Read as you would read a book in your first language. This is called extensive reading. You acquire words by seeing them used many times in different contexts. When you encounter a new word, many times you’ll be able to guess the meaning from the context. Encountering the word again in the future will help consolidate that word in your brain. If you encounter words or expressions that you don’t understand yet, skip over them. You’ll encounter them again in other contexts that will make their meaning clear.

The alternative to extensive reading is intensive reading. Intensive reading is not a good idea. With intensive reading, you analyze the meaning of each sentence, make sure you understand the meaning of each sentence, how the grammar is being used, and look up unknown words or expressions. This has a number of problems:

  • You focus on language that’s far above your level. You spend a lot of time trying to understand things about the language that you are not ready for. All the time you spend doing this is not spent getting exposure to easier language that gives you plenty of opportunities to encounter the things that you are ready to acquire.
  • It’s very tiring, so you can only read a little bit each day. It even affects the rest of the learning that you do the rest of the day, since you are too exhausted to make the most of all the other input you may be getting during the rest of the day. You may even start developing negative feelings towards reading and start finding excuses to not do it.
  • By the time you’ve looked up and understood each word and expression that you don't know, you probably already forgot what the paragraph was about, or even the beginning of the sentence.
  • You are learning about the language, not acquiring the language. As we know, conscious understanding of the grammar rules doesn’t result in those rules being internalized and help you spontaneously understand and produce the language. More about this in the answer to What is the difference between learning and acquisition?. In addition, we know that things like learning words through translations or explanations and consciously thinking about grammar can impact fluency and make us internalize errors that are very difficult to get rid of.
How do I know if a book is at my level?

There is quite a lot of data on how much you should understand for an optimal rate of acquisition when reading. The most common finding is that you should already know around 98% of the words in a text to make the most of it. This means that there’s only going to be 1 word out of every 50 that you don’t know yet. For most people, this means that they would benefit from reading easier texts than they think.

Texts like that may seem too easy, but this maximizes the chances that you’ll be able to understand new words from context, and that your understanding of the context will be good enough to be able to determine the meaning of that word more precisely.

But, of course, you are not only going to be learning the words that you don’t know yet. Learning a word is done little by little, and you are going to also be encountering plenty of words that you may be somewhat familiar with, but haven’t acquired completely yet. You’ll be:

  • Getting a more exact understanding of the meaning of some words that until now you only had a general feeling for.
  • Acquiring new meanings for words you already know, and understanding how wide of a meaning they can have.
  • Get a feeling for the situations in which a word may be used.
  • Get a better feeling for how to use the words correctly in a sentence.
  • Learn collocations.
  • Learn expressions that are formed by words you already know, but that have a different meaning than what you would expect.
  • Acquire the grammar of the language.
Should I skip over words I don't understand? Or use a dictionary?

We recommend not using a dictionary and skipping over words that you can’t understand yet. We also recommend not taking notes or in general doing anything other than reading the text with the purpose of understanding the message and enjoying reading. We explain the reasons for this in the answer to What should I do when reading a book? Should I analyze the language?.

The only exception where it can be okay to look up the meaning of a word is if the word is appearing over and over and it’s a fundamental word to understand the topic at hand. We give more details in the answer to When encountering unknown words, do you recommend looking them up in the dictionary?.

How much should I read?

As much as you can! There’s no limit to how much you can benefit from in one day other than making sure you’re fresh and you can pay attention to what you are reading and not drift off.

And for the total amount of reading that you are going to need to do, the SEG English school in Tokyo estimates that we need to read 1 million words to notice a considerable improvement in our reading ability, and around 3 million words to be able to read almost any book. That’s around 11 and 33 average-length novels respectively. Since at the beginning you’re probably going to be reading many children’s books, you’ll probably need to read considerably more books than that.

How can I keep track of the amount I read?

If you want to keep track of how much you read so you can see where you’re at and how much more you’ve got in front of you, you can keep a log of your reading. Here you have a template that you can copy and use yourself.

You can also use a regular notebook if you prefer pen and paper. This will be your new reading log. Write down the information the way it's written in the linked spreadsheet above: date, book name, number of words, and the accumulated number of words.

To calculate the accumulated number of words, just add the number of words of the book you just finished reading to the accumulated number of words in the above row.

If you don’t know how many words your book has, you can try googling the word count of that book. If you can’t find it, you can count how many words there are on one page, and multiply it by the number of pages in the book. It doesn't need to be an exact number. The most important thing is the feeling of progression you'll get when you're getting closer and closer to your goal.

About Crosstalk

What is Crosstalk?

Crosstalk is a different kind of language exchange. In a traditional language exchange, you and a partner speak your target language for half the time, and your partner’s target language for half the time.

When doing crosstalk, each partner speaks only one language, the one that the other person is learning (in many cases their own first language). When doing crosstalk, you practice listening and never practice speaking the language that you are learning.

With the right partner, we believe Crosstalk is the single most efficient way to learn a language, even more than our own content.

Crosstalk has multiple advantages, since you are spending 100% of the time receiving input, instead of only half when compared to traditional language exchange. You are also not being pressured to speak your target language. Besides avoiding all the problems with early output, you can also focus on understanding what your partner is saying, since you don’t need to start thinking and stressing about what you are going to answer.

Unlike a regular language exchange, Crosstalk can be used to start learning a language from zero by using the same communication strategies that we use in our videos. This is particularly useful if you're learning a language for which there is very little content that can be understood by absolute beginners.

You can read more about the many advantages of Crosstalk in English in our blog post.

In this video we explain it in detail and show a demonstration of two complete beginners doing Crosstalk in Polish and Japanese:

We also explain Crosstalk in one of our videos (English subtitles):

How do I do Crosstalk to start learning a language from zero?

We recommend watching at least a few of our Superbeginner videos so you become familiar with the way we communicate meaning in very simple ways using the following techniques:

  • Drawing
  • Making gestures and facial expressions
  • Using laminated picture sheets
  • Imitating sounds with our voice
  • Using props
  • Showing images (you can use Google Images while doing Crosstalk)

You can then look for a partner who is also a beginner. This usually works better if there isn't a big difference in levels. If one of the partners is at a considerably higher level than the other, that person may get bored and feel like they are putting in most of the effort.

Once you find a potential partner (check out How do I find Crosstalk partners?) you’ll need to explain to them what Crosstalk is. Most people don’t know what Crosstalk is. Make sure they understand what it is and they are willing to give it a try.

At the lower levels, it’s easier to do Crosstalk in person than over a video call. In person you can draw together on a notebook, and things are much easier to see and to convey. Doing video calls becomes much easier once you are near the intermediate level and you only rely on pictures occasionally.

The first time you do Crosstalk, you’ll have to lead by example. Start talking through a simple topic using plenty of drawings, gestures, pictures, and look at your partner’s face often to make sure they are following along. Once you are done, ask your partner to do the same as what you just did. For example, if you just described your family, ask your partner to do the same.

Make sure your partner doesn’t start speaking your language or another language that you have in common, and nicely ask them to go back to their language if they do.

At the beginner level, it’s better to stick to simpler topics that can be easily conveyed visually:

  • Family
  • The place you grew up in
  • Your neighborhood
  • Your hobbies
  • Childhood stories
  • Food
  • Travel

More abstract topics like work or politics are better left for later on.

How do I find Crosstalk partners?

Here are a few recommendations of places where you can find partners. Unless you have a specific preference, we suggest you try them in this order:

  • The mobile apps Tandem and HelloTalk.
  • Look for local language exchange events on
  • Post on specifying the language(s) you’re offering and the language(s) you are learning.
  • Search for Facebook groups for language exchange or for people learning your language and post your offer there:

Make sure that you explain very clearly what your intentions are, even right from the first message. We recommend messaging several people at once, since there are bound to be people who are inactive, are not serious about learning, or are looking for a more traditional language exchange.

This is advice that we have found useful and has allowed us to find regular Crosstalk partners:

  • Very few people know what Crosstalk is. Expect to have to explain it and demonstrate how to do it.
  • Send a very clear first message in which you explain that you're only interested in doing video calls (or meeting in person) and that you'll be speaking your language only and you expect them to only speak theirs. By choosing who you message and being very clear about your intentions you'll be able to avoid people who are there for reasons other than learning a language.
  • Message around 10 people at once and expect maybe 2 or 3 responses that may end up in 1 actual call.
  • Usually it's better to ignore incoming messages if the person doesn't match your language pair.
  • Politely deny if they want to only chat or to practice their speaking.
  • On your first call, expect them to have forgotten about Crosstalk and explain again what it is.
  • Politely ask them to switch back to Spanish if they switch to English. For most people you'll have to do this a few times on your first call.
  • If your first call went well, at the end of the call you should set up a regular time with them. It's easier to do it then than later over text.
  • On Tandem you can't search for people nearby without a premium subscription, but you can choose the countries of residence, so it's easy to only see people in timezones that are compatible with yours. If you want to meet in person, it's worth paying for premium for one month and using that time to find a few partners you can talk to regularly.
I have problems when doing Crosstalk.

Read the section “The Tips” on our blog post to learn about the most commonly encountered issues and how to deal with them.

How often should I do Crosstalk?

As much as you can! The approach that has worked the best for us is finding several partners and having a specific day of the week and time when you meet with each person. That helps reduce the overhead of having to schedule a new appointment each time.

Depending on your available time, you can have one or two partners you talk to each day. Meeting once a week usually works best, since you’ll usually have new things to say.

For some of your partners, you may find that doing 1-hour sessions works best. For the partners that are particularly easy to talk to, we try to aim for 2 hours, or if you get along really well you can also try meeting twice a week with the same person.

What other input can I get?

Besides your videos, what other sources of input do you recommend?

There are plenty of other ways of getting input in the language, depending on the level you are at.

If you're at the higher levels, we recommend trying to consume content meant for native speakers as much as possible. This includes:

In fact, you can think of our goal as providing enough bridge content that is comprehensible and interesting enough to get you to the point of being able to understand native media.

Before you're there, and outside of Dreaming Spanish, we also recommend Crosstalk (check out What is Crosstalk?) and any other content meant for learners that are completely in Spanish and that don't do explicit teaching.

When can I start listening to audio-only content?

Once you are at the intermediate level (level 3 on our timeline) you’ll be ready to take advantage of audio-only resources, like listening to the audios of our intermediate videos, or listening to other podcasts for intermediate learners.

If you are at a lower level, one option is to listen to the audio of superbeginner or beginner videos that you have already watched before. That way, you’ll remember what the video is about, and that will help with comprehension.

You’ll be able to understand and make the most of most native podcasts and audiobooks when you reach level 6.

Can I learn by listening to music?

The short answer is no.

Music can be hard to understand even in your first language.

There are a few reasons why lyrics are hard to understand:

  • Loud instruments.
  • Word stress and sentence rhythm and intonation are all messed.
  • Lyrics tend to use “beautiful” language. Many lyrics consist of uncommon, poetic, abstract words and figurative meanings.

But most importantly, song lyrics are mostly devoid of context. Lyrics just begin, and we don’t know who is talking to who, in what situation, for what reason, in what tone, etc. This is inherent to lyrics and poetry. Because of that, music is mostly useless unless you’re actually translating the lyrics. But we don’t recommend translations because of the many issues with them, like we explain in How do you say X in Spanish?.

However, listening to music is great in general for immersion, motivation, and integrating in the country.

Understanding songs will only come at the highest levels in the language, but once you’re there, it will serve as a way of testing your level, and knowing that you have reached the highest levels of proficiency in the language.

When do you recommend to start listening to audios or podcasts?

At around level 4 in our roadmap we recommend podcasts for learners as a form of input.

At level 6 you’ll be ready to benefit from listening to podcasts meant for native speakers.

What TV shows for beginners do you recommend?

It's generally quite hard to find native content that's accessible to native speakers. These are the ones we know of:

  • Pocoyo (Spain) is the only one that may be useful even if starting from 0.
  • Peppa Pig (there are both Spanish and Latin American dubs)
  • Extra en español (Spain)
  • Mundo Zamba (Latin American)
  • Bluey

Even then you might have a better time with these if you're already at an intermediate level.

What TV shows for intermediate learners do you recommend?

It is still quite difficult to find TV shows meant for native speakers that you can understand with a high level of comprehension at the intermediate level. We recommend trying the following:

  • Velvet (Spain)
  • Las Chicas del Cable (Spain)
  • Gran Hotel (Spain)
  • Élite (Spain)
  • Club de Cuervos (Mexico)
  • Made in Mexico (Mexico)
  • La Casa de las Flores (Mexico)

Realistically it's probably more productive to try these when you're at an advanced level.

What video games do you recommend to learn Spanish?

We have prepared 3 lists: games with Spanish audio, games with Spanish text, and games that are Hispanic productions but that don’t include a lot of listening or reading.

*Some of the links may earn us a commission if you buy the game.

With Spanish audio

Only text

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4): on Amazon
  • Final Fantasy XV
    PC on Steam
    PS4 on Amazon
    XBOX ONE on Amazon
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield (and all the classic Pokémon games): on Amazon
  • Return to Monkey Island, or any of the classic point-and-click adventure games.

Hispanic productions

Additionally, Scribblenauts is a great game to play once you reach a certain level to get an idea of how good your vocabulary is:

What can I do to learn a language for which there are no easy videos like yours?

The first thing that you should do is to try to find partners to do Crosstalk with. Crosstalk is the most efficient way to acquire a language, even more than our videos.

Other than that, you may have to use native content and use some of these techniques to make the input more comprehensible:

  • Watch content that you have already seen before in your language.
  • Look up words you’ve encountered several times.
  • Use translators to help you figure out the parts that you can’t understand.
  • Use parallel readers. Parallel readers are books that have been translated, and in each page one side is in one language, and the other side is in the other language.
  • Accept that since your level of comprehension of the input you are receiving is low, you’ll make slower progress.
I’ve watched all your videos, what else can I do to keep improving?

If you have watched all of our content for a certain level and find that the videos at the next level are still too hard, you can try one of the following:

  • Rewatch some of the videos. Just make sure that you watch videos that you like and can pay attention to and not tune out.
  • Try other YouTube channels or podcasts that are meant for learners, actually in Spanish, and that don't do explicit teaching.
  • Wait until we publish more content. We publish new videos daily.
Is it okay to watch dubbed/translated media? Or is it better to stick to media originally in the language?

It’s perfectly fine to watch dubbed media. It’s actually great if you’re familiar with the content, since you’ll understand a lot more of it.

It’s a good idea to also watch plenty original media, though, because many words and expressions will only appear there:

  • Certain slang.
  • Daily life and cultural things that only exist in the countries where the language is spoken.
  • Pop culture.
  • Regional differences, names of places, names of people.
  • Different accents.
What other things do you recommend doing to get immersed in the language?

Make friends in the language!

  • If you live in the country, join as many social activities as you can.
  • Live in a shared apartment with locals.
  • Go to bars, join dance classes, a sports team, anything!
  • Set your PC, phone, and all your online profiles to your target language.
  • Make a list of daily things you do in your own language, and find ways to do them in your target language.

Language acquisition in general

How can I learn a language as fast as possible?

Get lots of hours of very comprehensible input every day. The more interesting and relevant to your life that input is, the better.

If your life situation allows you to, the very fastest way to acquire a language would be to live with a family in the countryside in the country where the language is spoken, do everything with them, and have them talk to you all day like they would to their children.

Can I learn two languages at the same time?

It's possible, but we don’t recommend it unless your situation meets certain conditions.

We don’t recommend it for people who are learning their first language as an adult. Learning a language is a long journey, and it’s easy to get demotivated by slow progress. By splitting your available time between two languages, it will take you twice as long to get good at each one. By delaying the results of your learning, you'll be missing on the motivation that you would get if you were making more progress in one of the languages.

If you are already spending enough time every day with each language and are not lacking motivation to learn both, then it’s okay to continue doing so. If later you feel frustrated because you feel you’re not making progress, then you can focus on only one of the two languages until you get good at it.

The biggest advantages of learning more than one language at once come when you are already at a high intermediate or advanced level in one of the languages. That way, when you are at home or at a place where you can focus on watching video content, you can make the most of that time by receiving input in your lower-level language, and when you are only able to listen to audio content (in the car, train, walking around, doing chores) you can still use that time productively by listening to podcasts or audiobooks in your higher-level language.

Should I learn language X first if it will make it easier to learn language Y?

This is a common question, but the more you think about it, the less sense it makes.

The fastest way to learn language Y is to spend the available time you have actually learning language Y instead of learning a related language that will require you to learn a lot of things that are not useful to learn language Y.

Learning a language takes a long time, and if you are not interested in language X itself, you are more likely to feel discouraged and give up and never even get to learn language Y.

I’m at the intermediate level and I’m feeling stuck. I don’t feel I’m making progress. What can I do to continue improving?

We have two different pieces of advice depending on what your situation is.

If you got to the intermediate level by doing a lot of traditional studying (grammar, vocabulary, etc):

You could be dealing with what’s commonly known as the “intermediate plateau”. We believe this is an artifact that occurs once traditional language education can’t keep up the illusion that you are learning anymore. We explain this in more detail in this blog post: The fictious language learning plateau.

In short, traditional language education mostly focuses on teaching grammar and vocabulary that can be easily explained and tested, because it’s the way students can feel they are getting something from it. And of course because it's easy for teachers to grade. But traditional language education can’t explain more complex grammar, or grammar that hasn’t been even discovered by linguists. It also has no means of making you memorize thousands of words with all their nuances and their usage.

Once you get to this point, the only way forward is to finally start acquiring the language by getting comprehensible input. However, progress with comprehensible input feels radically different. Instead of going home every day feeling you learned a new concept, you are only improving your understanding of each word by a little bit, or getting a little more used to certain sentence patterns. You can’t measure the amount of words that you learned or the amount of grammar rules you learned. When going from learning about a language to acquiring a language, you need to readjust your expectations to the way actual acquisition works.

We recommend you also read the answer to It takes me a long time to learn a word.

If you got to the intermediate level mainly through comprehensible input:

If you got here through comprehensible input, you know what it feels like to make real progress in acquiring the language. You probably already expect that getting from beginner to intermediate took fewer hours than to get from intermediate to advanced. The amount of words you need to learn for that to happen is higher. Try focusing on noticing all the new words that you can understand now that you couldn’t understand last week. If you can’t notice any, it may be time to change the content you are consuming. If the content is too hard, you may not be understanding enough new words to be able to acquire them. If the content is too easy, it’s still helpful to help you cement sentence patterns and word usage, but this kind of progress is harder to notice, so you should try looking for something that will challenge you a little (and I mean a little). That can be either more advanced material, or content about topics that you aren’t too familiar with yet.

Is it beneficial to listen in my sleep?

Hahaha! You’ve got the best jokes.

Learning a language as an adult

But babies are sponges! As adults we can’t learn the same way!

The research is very clear in this respect, and it repeatedly shows that input is necessary even for adult learners. Not only that, but any studies that track improvements in spontaneous language production over long periods of time show that traditional language learning strategies don’t result in long-term benefits.

Our personal experience is that as adults we can indeed acquire a language to the point in which we intuitively know which words, expressions and grammar sound right and which sound wrong. We have learned multiple languages to that point using exclusively input.

Intuitively it also makes sense, since it would be really strange if our brain somehow had two completely different systems for acquiring a language, but both allowed us to reach the same end goal. No other kind of learning is available only to children but requires a completely different approach for adults to tackle.

I’m X years old. Can I still learn a language?

Yes! Steve Kaufmann continues to learn foreign languages at age 77, mostly through input.

But babies take years of input to start speaking! I don’t want to wait for so long. As adults we can do things that children can’t and we should take advantage of that!

Even with only input, adults make faster progress than children per each hour of exposure to the language. Besides learning the language, children also need to learn about the actual world. If you get enough input every day, in 3 years you will be much better at communicating in the language than a 3 year old.

Even when using comprehensible input, there are also quite a few things that you as an adult can do to speed up your learning. You can choose understandable content that are interesting and will grab your attention. You can even listen to more hours per day than many babies.

If you are thinking of studying grammar or vocabulary as a way to speed up your learning, we explain the reasons why that doesn’t work in this question: Isn’t it a lot faster to study common vocabulary and grammar?.

But many adults spend years immersed in the country and still make many mistakes, have bad pronunciation, and can’t use high level grammar. Some can’t speak the language at all.

There are very specific reasons for that.

People who can’t speak the language after many years are getting very little to no comprehensible input. This happens often when people move to a country without knowing the language. Since living like a local would be quite inconvenient for them, they make many little lifestyle choices that end up creating a bubble around them that doesn’t require them to learn the local language. They reside in a part of town where they can get by using English or their own language. They go to stores and restaurants where they know they can communicate with the staff. They hang out around other foreigners and become friends with other foreigners or locals that can speak their language. In practice they get very little input in the local language. When they do get some input from street signs and people’s conversations, their level at the language is so low that they can’t benefit from it, since it’s not comprehensible to them.

For people who do learn the language and become good at understanding it but still make many mistakes or have a strong accent, the reason is not lack of input, but rather early output. We explain more about this in the question Should I ever practice speaking? When?. Basically, people who started speaking the language before having received enough input, have entrenched bad "habits” and pronunciation that are very hard to get rid of. In the case of immigrants, they did what they had to do to survive and get by and made the right decision under their circumstances. In your case, you can decide how important it is to you in having near-native grammar, pronunciation, and idiomatic use of vocabulary, or whether you need to make more immediate use of the language, and decide when to start speaking based on that.

Frustrations with the way the language works

Why does language X work like this? Why is this said this way? Can’t I just say it like in English?

This question and related questions stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of what languages are.

When languages evolved to be able to express all the meanings that we are able to express nowadays, they had to make many arbitrary decisions to come up with a system to be able to represent reality in the form of sounds. In practice, we would need too many words if we wanted to have one word for every possible meaning that we wanted to convey, so many meanings and nuances are expressed using set expressions, collocations (fixed, arbitrary combinations of a verb with a noun, like “pay attention”) and figurative language.

Since many of these decisions are arbitrary, it’s impossible to expect that different languages would have made the exact same decisions, and if you want to be able to communicate in another language, you have to get used to the fact that the rules of English don’t apply to other languages.

Insisting on directly translating English expressions to other languages will result in odd looks, people taking quite a bit of time to understand what you mean, or even not understanding at all.

To get a feeling for what the other person will experience when listening to somebody talk using literal translations, here are a few expressions translated literally from other languages that sound completely fine in those languages but that don’t work in English, to the point where some of them wouldn’t be understood in many circumstances:

  • I have 26 years (I’m 26 years old).
  • I fold from work (I leave work).
  • That’s my meaning (That’s what I mean).
  • I’m breaded (I’m sluggish/groggy).
  • She didn’t defend the rules (She broke the rules).
  • It was a match of where and where? (Which two national teams played against each other?)

Doing the same from English to another language results in the same kind of strange-sounding language that ranges from the slightly odd to the completely incomprehensible.

Why do the words I know not mean the same in Spanish? Why can't Spanish just behave?

Many pairs of languages have false friends. That is, words that share a common origin or that are loanwords from one language to another, but that changed their meaning in the process. Like how the word “sake” that refers to any alcoholic drink in Japanese is used in English to refer specifically to Japanese rice wine. Or how “diverso” in Italian is used with the meaning of “different”.

There’s no more reason for other languages to adapt to the way English works than there is for English to adapt to the way other languages work. Each language evolved in its own way and there’s no way around getting used to the way that native speakers use the words in their language.

To avoid having problems when learning false friends, we recommend not making assumptions about the words that you encounter. When listening to or reading the language you are learning, let the context dictate what the words can mean, and don’t try to impose your own meaning on sentences based on what you believe you know about the words.

Learning Spanish specifically

What’s the best way to learn if I already speak another Romance language?

If you are a native or proficient speaker of another Romance language, your journey will look very different.

An initial easy win will be getting used to the way the language sounds. Romance languages have many cognates, but at the beginning they will be hard to recognize. Once you get some familiarity with the pronunciation and with the patterns in which words change from one language to the other, your comprehension will skyrocket in a very short amount of time. Just by watching just a handful of hours of intermediate or advanced videos about topics that you are familiar with or that interest you, you will get used to the pronunciation enough and will have learned some of the most common connector words, and that will help you increase your comprehension a lot in a very short time. This phase may be slightly longer if instead of Spanish or Italian you are learning Portuguese, or especially French.

After this, you may find that some native media is already accessible. We recommend you start watching or listening to things about topics that you are already familiar with. Presentational content like podcasts, TED talks, or nonfiction audiobooks will be some of the easiest things for you to understand.

Once you can understand native media well, we recommend you continue watching our advanced videos only if you are genuinely interested in the topic that we are discussing and if you find them more engaging than the native content that you can understand well.

Pretty soon you’ll get to a point in which you can understand most native media outside of very specific things like very slang-heavy conversations in movies.

Crosstalk is also a great thing to do no matter your background.

Production is a whole different thing, though. Even though you’ll be able to understand most things thanks to the similarity of the vocabulary and grammar, you still need to specifically acquire the words, expressions, and the grammar of the new language. You'll still learn to speak the language faster than somebody who doesn't know another Romance language, but don't expect your speaking to improve nearly as fast as your understanding. Even if you can understand most things after a few dozen hours of input, you’ll still need to get a few hundred hours of input to be able to have conversations without too much trouble.

How to use “se”, the subjunctive, the preterite, the imperfect, etc?

Please forget about grammar. If you know those words, pretend you never learned them. And if you don’t know them, good!

Explanations about grammar rules, how to put together sentences, or the “whys” of the language may make us feel like we're learning and satisfy our curiosity, but they do nothing for our acquisition. Learning about the language is completely tangential to acquiring the language.

And that’s not it. Being conscious about language rules leads to decreased fluency, since you are engaging the conscious part of your brain, which prevents the acquired intuition for the language from coming out unencumbered.

Learn why in our answer to How am I going to learn grammar?.

Which dialect or accent is better to learn?

Deciding which kind of Spanish to learn is not a very important decision for most people. Spanish speakers can understand each other no matter which country they’re from without major problems. How much you may want to focus on a specific variety of the language depends on what your uses for the language are going to be. Who do you want to speak with? In which countries do you want to live or travel to?

Once you can understand one variety of Spanish well, it’s very easy to get used to other varieties. When trying to get used to a dialect you are not familiar with, you’ll see that your comprehension goes up quickly after just a few hours of exposure to it.

Learning from a mix of sources in different dialects is also not going to be an issue for the majority of people. If you learn a mix, you won't have more problems than someone who learned only the dialect of one country and then tried to use it in a different country.

The varieties of Spanish spoken in the following places will require slightly longer time to get used to: Argentina, Chile, and most Caribbean countries.

We also answer this question in our video FAQ (with English subtitles):

Do you think it's a bad thing to listen to other accents if you want to focus on speaking with a specific accent?

It depends on how important it is for you to sound like a person from a specific place. Even if our approach will help you get clear pronunciation close to that of native speakers, it’s unlikely that you’ll get to be indistinguishable from a native speaker. Assuming that you are not a secret agent, sounding exactly like a native speaker doesn’t really have any practical applications anyway.

So for the vast majority of people, listening to different accents is not an issue, and getting used to the different vocabulary and expressions is likely to help you understand the different varieties of Spanish that you are likely to be exposed to as a foreigner.

If you have a strong connection to a particular country or are planning on living there for a long time, it could make sense to focus on acquiring the vocabulary and expressions used in that country. In that case, you can try getting most of your input from people from that country. If you are trying to learn a variety for which you can’t find enough speakers or content, we recommend just getting input in other varieties of Spanish. It's better to learn another variety of Spanish than getting stuck and not making progress because you can’t find materials in the accent that you want to learn.

Regardless of which variety you listen to at the beginning, if you eventually start living in a Spanish-speaking country or make friends in the language, you’ll see that those experiences will have a much greater impact on the way you speak than anything else you did before. The people who will define the most the way you speak are your peers, the people you identify with, and the people you look up to, since they become part of your identity.

We also answer this question in our video FAQ (with English subtitles):

The Dreaming Spanish website

Will you do language X?

Hopefully soon! However, we want to make sure we first develop our Spanish product well, so we know we have a winning solution that we can replicate in other languages.

Eventually, we hope to be able to cover all the languages with enough learners to support it.

Can I pay with PayPal?

All the payment options that are available in your region will appear when you click on “Upgrade” in the premium page. Right now using PayPal is not a possibility, since we would have to maintain two completely separate subscription systems.

If you are in Europe and don’t have a debit card, we recommend signing up to a neobank app like N26 or Revolut to get one.

In the future, we’ll consider adding PayPal or other payment methods to make it easier for people in countries where payment card usage is not widespread.

Do you have a yearly subscription?

Not for now. The only available subscription is what you can see on our premium page.

Do you have family plans?

Not for the time being. The only available subscription is what you can see on our premium page.

Right now we are still a very small company, and we don’t have the capacity to develop and maintain features like this.

I’ve been away for a while. Can you reset my account?

If you’ve just been away for a while, we recommend that you continue from the level you were at. Our project hasn’t existed long enough for a student to have had time to forget a significant amount of acquired language. Go back to getting input and you’ll see that you are back where you were in no time.

If you want to transfer your account to another person, that's not possible and you’ll need to create a new account.

If you still think that your account needs to be reset, please get in touch with us using the contact form on our website.

Does a premium subscription also include X?

All the benefits that you get from our premium subscription are listed on our premium page. There are no benefits other than that and that you are supporting such an awesome project 😉.

How do I cancel my premium subscription?

Once you sign up, the button "Upgrade to premium" in the settings page will turn into “Manage subscription” and clicking on it will let you cancel your subscription and update your payment method. If you cancel, you will still have access to the premium content until the end of the current billing period.

Will you make more of the type of videos that I like?

Probably! If you like them there are probably many other people that enjoy them too. One thing that we can’t promise is to be able to get a specific guide back to make new videos.

I’ve found a bug in the website.

Please let us know using the contact form on the website or at this address if you're not able to log in:

Make sure you attach a screenshot showing your problem.

I have problems logging in.

If you are not receiving the login verification email, please check your spam folder, try adding the address to your contacts, and try again.

If that doesn’t solve the issue or you are having any other problem, please take a screenshot of the step in which you are stuck, and send it together with a description of the problem to this address:

My watch time and history of watched videos have disappeared.

Make sure that you are logged in and that you’re logged in to the right account.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, please contact us through the contact form.

I have a problem with my account or my subscription.

Please contact us through the contact form on our website.

Where can I find the Language Learning Roadmap?

You can download it here.

We recommend you also check out the timeline in our method page for a simpler visual representation of what your journey will look like.

Where can I find the $1 dollar course?

The course is now accessible to everybody for free and can be found here.

How can I listen to the premium podcast?

The premium podcast consists of the audios for all the videos that are published on the website.

To get access:

Here you can find instructions for how to add podcast feed addresses to your podcasting app:

Do you still offer one-on-one consultations?

Unfortunately at this point we're not longer able to provide them.