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Is learning 800 words enough to communicate in another language?

The answer is yes. I’m not talking here about perfection or speaking like a local. I’m talking about effectiveness and transmitting a comprehensible message. To understand and to be understood. That’s what matters in the real world. Could you understand the email? Could you understand your customer so that you can go ahead and take action?

Don’t focus on perfection, focus on the message

In my opinion, this is the first step to learning a language. The main importance of learning a new language is to be able to communicate and connect with other people. To express your thoughts, feelings, and ideas intelligibly. And at the same time, to understand what another person is saying.

I strongly recommend having a notebook in which you can write down at least 600 high-frequency words of the language that you want to learn (if you write down 10 words a day, it’s possible to learn them in two months). You can recognize these words by listening to your tutor. Notice which are the words that they commonly use and repeat, the same with their speech patterns. In case you are not attending classes right now, you could also get these words by listening to podcasts, watching movies, and reading books. All of those activities that I highly recommend when learning a new language.

As you get these words and speech patterns, try to memorize them by putting them in context. For example, a speech pattern that is very common in both English and Spanish is: “Every time I..” or “Cada vez que yo…” Once you have identified this speech pattern, try to use it multiple times in different contexts: “Every time I run, I get injured,” “Every time I do it, I win,” “Every time I sing, I feel alive.”

The purpose of this memorizing exercise is that you truly understand the meaning of the word or phrase that you are learning.

In conclusion, learning a new language can be much easier than you ever thought. It’s not about how complex the phrases that you use are but how effective your message is. Be patient, take it step by step, set goals for yourself, learn to enjoy the process, and the rest is history.

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