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We have answers.

How do I learn from the videos? Do I need to take notes?

Watching the videos is by itself what results in acquiring the language. Not doing comprehension tests. Not reviewing vocabulary. Not doing other activities related to the content. Any of these activities that don’t provide you with comprehensible input will not result in acquisition. Watching is the activity that will lead you to acquire the language. For the first few hundred hours of exposure to the language, it really is the only activity that you need to do. At the higher levels, listening to audio is also useful, and reading also has its place. We discuss reading later in this page.

How do I know I’m improving?

Improvement when doing real acquisition feels quite different to what it feels like to study a list of vocabulary or a grammar point. You shouldn’t expect to acquire a 100% of any single word or expression in a single day. Rather, each day you will be acquiring 1% of hundreds of words and expressions. Each time you hear or read a word, your brain will be connecting that word to all the other things that you were aware of when you heard it. It will be connected to the physical reality it referred to in that particular context, to the other words that appeared in the sentence, to the degree of formality of the situation, to the person who said that word, and to innumerable other details. Over time, hearing or reading this word dozens or hundreds of times, you will develop a clear picture for the range of meanings the word can have, how to use it grammatically, and in which situations it’s appropriate to use that word.

What about practicing speaking?

While speaking has its place, its importance has been grossly overstated. Speaking is output. That means that when speaking, no new information is actually entering your brain. Therefore, speaking itself doesn’t help us learn new words or grammar. In addition, at the beginner and intermediate level we still haven’t acquired enough of the language to be able to speak well. That means that our brain will try to find that wherever it can to fill in the gaps, and that usually means using the vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation of your first language. After doing this repeatedly, we create connections between our first language and the language we are learning, which result in a nonnative use of the language that’s very hard to fix.

What about reading and writing?

We highly recommend reading once you are at level 5 or ideally 6. The reason we don’t recommend reading early on is purely because of pronunciation. If you don’t care about talking to people, or if you already speak a language that sounds very similar to the language you are learning, you can start reading the most basic graded readers (easy readings for language learners) at around level 2 or 3. If you decide to start reading early, we do recommend to, at least, become familiar with the way the letters are pronounced in Spanish.