How To Know When You Should Learn A New Language

The biggest regret I have in my many years of travel is not learning the local language in countries I’ve ended up staying for the long term. I would be more than conversational in Polish and Russian today if I just adhered to one simple rule: learn the language of a country you have been in for two weeks or longer. This means that you start your language studies on day fifteen of any trip.

Even if you’re doing a short one-month trip to a country, you should still make attempts to study the language for at least an hour a day no later than the third week. The reason is that your knowledge compounds over time to greatly increase your enjoyment within the country, making it easier to get around, make friends, and meet women. Every word you learn is like one extra dollar in an interest-bearing bank account. The more words you learn, the more you ability “compounds,” due to the simple fact that learning one additional word increase the number of new sentences you can speak by greater than one, especially after you’ve surpassed a vocabulary of 250 words.

I spent a year in Ukraine. During that time I only studied Russian for a couple months. I tried to make up for it by studying while in Poland to prepare for a long Russian stay in 2014, but I ended up staying in Russia for less than two months. If I followed my rule, I would have studied the language when I needed it (while living in Ukraine), and saved time not studying it when I didn’t even use it.

I have spent more than two years in Poland. I’ve studied the language for less than six months. If I only studied one hour a day while living there, I’d be at least conversational, but now I’m embarrassed with my Polish language level. I’ve spent enough time in Eastern European countries that I feel like a Mexican immigrant to the USA who doesn’t speak English.

The purpose of the two-week rule is to link language learning to time spent in countries instead of predictions or dreamy intentions of how long you think you’ll spend in them. You should put far less weight on studying a language before you get there than when you’re actually settled. I wouldn’t discourage your pre-trip studying, but it’s easy to make a huge misallocation of your time by studying languages for countries you don’t even end up liking.

I devised this rule based on a regressive analysis of my travel habits. If I followed it, my fluency in languages would match my actual time spent within countries. Instead, I have a mismatch of language fluency because I studied languages based on where I thought I’d stay in the future instead of where I actually stayed. I’ve learned from that mistake. Now if I’m in a country for two weeks, on day 15 I will crack open a book or hire a tutor and put in my one-hour a day. I’ll be better served by it.

Read Next: Language Hackers And “Polyglots” Are Full Of Shit

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Fokker TISM
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Do you still speak Russian and Spanish?

Also, do you reckon it would be possible to syndicate the Kings Wiki’s recent changes feed in the bottom of this site and ROK? (http://en.kingswiki.com/wiki/Special:RecentChanges )

Freddy
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Freddy
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Does this mean you are giving up on Russian and focusing on Polish now? I thought you mentioned you didn’t want to learn Polish, cause you notice more flaws in girls’ personalities when they speak their own language.

prepz
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prepz
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I was just thinking about this in response to 20Natinos post on his site about non-verbal ways to communicate with and game girls in foreign countries. At some point, you should/must learn some of the language if not become fluent in it.

Your 2 week rule-of-thumb is a good one.

anon1
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his body language book is really good actually, i picked it up a while back and practising the techniques especially how to turn your smiles into smirks and emotional control were very useful

prepz
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prepz
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Yes, I have a bunch of his books, but not sure I have the body language book. The subtle but important difference between smiling (what I used to do) and smirking is vital in the early stages of eye contact and establishing DHV (to borrow from the old PUA vernacular).

TSK
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TSK
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I tried learning Russian and it’s really hard. I don’t know how others do it. Learning and reading Cyrillic alphabet isn’t that bad; it’s the pronunciation part that gets me.

Simply Balling
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The key is practice. Find Russian speaking people and keep talking to them in Russian. It’s that simple

TSK
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TSK
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They usually hang out with their own and are closed niche and standoffish towards foreigners.

АЛЕКСАНДР ВЕЛИКИЙ
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АЛЕКСАНДР ВЕЛИКИЙ
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I was lucky enough grow up bilingually as a speaker of both Russian and English. Now I occasionally try to learn other languages when I want to read a book or something else in that language, or if I want to study the history of that region.

anon1
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i know you did the whole spaced repitition and notecards thing to learn languages but are local teachers worth it as well? i’m an auditory learner and it always seemed easier to have someone you can chat with and learn from than from a book

Truman
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your knowledge compounds over time to greatly increase your enjoyment within the country, making it easier to get around, make friends, and meet women. Every word you learn is like one extra dollar in an interest-bearing bank account.

Those who have never learnt a language should also be warned that your knowledge degrades very quickly if you’re not using it, especially if you didn’t reach an advanced level to begin with.

If you spend 1-2 months a year in a foreign country, your rule might suggest you study only when you’re actually there. But if you do that, you’ll find each year that you’ve forgotten almost everything you learnt the previous year. Use it or lose it!

Steve H
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Steve H
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The key to learning any language is repetition. If you are learning in a class or via tapes/internet, its a waste if you cannot practice it. This is why immersion is so much more effective.

Stenka Razin
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I have discouraged many comrades from spending hundreds of dollars on computer programs like Rosetta Stone. With these programs you can “rote learn” some basic vocabulary and basic greetings but they fall way short of instilling any knowledge of grammar or working knowledge of a language. Countless numbers of guys have sheepishly admitted to me that the four hundred dollars they spent on a computer language program (which I warned them against), so that they and their kids could have fun learning a language over the summer didn’t quite work out for them. If such is all you have time for, then it is better than nothing, but seeking out an alternative method would be preferable.

citizen49a
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Much better to take the $400 and hire a tutor in the country of your choice to teach you the local language over the internet using Skype.

You can get college educated trained tutors to teach you Spanish for around $4 an hour.

vincent Menniti ΛΤ
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Now it’s easy to learn a language. I use duolingo on my phone, which I blast on my blog frequently. I speak fluent Spanish, and Italian all from this one tool.

prepz
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prepz
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Fluent level proficiency from Duolingo? I tried it for Spanish and learned vocabulary, but it wasn’t doing anything for my conjugation skills — at least not in the first 20 or so lessons. Am I missing something?

vincent Menniti ΛΤ
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Fully fluent now. When was the last time you used it? Now it’s much more intuitive. You have to speak into the microphone and duolingo will assess your speaking quality.

prepz
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I use Google voice for practicing pronunciation. But i’ll take another look at Duolingo. Thanks for the heads up.

Nicolas Versteher
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Agree it definitely adds to the enjoyment to know the language of where you are staying. I, however, am terrible at languages, and for me best results were when I was taking local language classes. Plus, meet tons of people.

Zbyszek
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I’m afraid it’s a little easier said than done. Polish is an extremely difficult language.

Roosh
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Roosh
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It’s easier than Hungarian!

Stenka Razin
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Stenka Razin
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I studied Spanish for three years in a really good prep school decades ago. Fortunately, from this I was able to become a certified Spanish interpreter. Whenever I enter an event or party that has many Spanish speakers the Latin Poon immediately perk up and flock to me when they overhear my level of fluency. When previously spending months at a time in Latin countries I was innundated by the hottest of the local chicas because of my ability to speak the native language. The level of talent I was able to effortless pull was way above what I would normally be able to score with Americunts while using top game at the best of my ability.
Learning even a modicum of a local language enhances ones ability to capture a flag many times over. That being said, one must be made aware that various Slavic, Russian, Polish, Rumanian and also Scandinavian languages are a bitch to learn. Even worse are tonally inflected Asian languages. My hat goes off to anyone who can develope even a rudimentary working knowledge with these far eastern tongues.

TyKo Steamboat
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I just took a 4-month Russian course (semester) at the local college before moving to Kyiv. Best 171$ ever spent

Also…I would recommend men try Duolingo.com … great brain exercises for 20 minutes a day & it’s free )

redpillyogi
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no chinese or thai?…WTF!

Pantalones
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Pantalones
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Bonjour tout le monde! 👋 🤓

Laguna Beach Fogey
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Laguna Beach Fogey
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Interesting piece. I used to speak French and German really well; now, I can only read French and speak a little. America is a bloody insane asylum. The older I get, the more I want to move abroad again. I’d like to explore Russia and Eastern Europe. Maybe find a small flat in Prague or Budapest.

CoachellaValleyFinalSolution
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CoachellaValleyFinalSolution
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I hear you man. USA has gone completely looney tunes over my lifespan and I’m not that old!

Niagara
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Niagara
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If you live in a foreign country for any amount of time learn the language as best you can.

For me learning Jpaanese was about taking control of my own life and not having others do shit for me.

Also helped me date a higher quality of women not just interested in trading their pussies for English lessons..

Most of all it helps you dive deep into that culture and it willl change you as a man and bring incredible wisdon you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

It may only become apparent years after how beneficial learning another language is for a man..

I think ideally every young man would live in another country for a few years…