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Learning new languages

Part 3

This episode's vocabulary

  • Contingent on/upon sth - depending on something else in the future in order to happen.
  • To convey (verb) - to express a thought, feeling, or idea so that it is understood by other people.
  • Willpower (noun) - the ability to control your own thoughts and the way in which you behave.
  • To channel (verb) - to direct something into a particular place or situation.
  • Exposure (noun) - the fact of experiencing something or being affected by it because of being in a particular situation or place.
  • To advocate (verb) - to publicly support or suggest an idea, development, or way of doing something.
  • To immerse yourself in sth. - to become completely involved in something.
  • Credence (noun) - the belief that something is true.
  • Exploitative (adj.) - using someone unfairly for your own advantage.
  • To nail sth. down (phrasal verb) - to make something certain or final.
  • Cater to sb/sth (phrasal verb) - to satisfy a need or to provide what is wanted or needed by a particular person or group.


Questions and Answers

M: Rory, are you there? Are you here?

R: I'm always here.

M: Good for us. Let's talk about learning a new language. What are the difficulties of learning a new language?

R: Well, I think that's contingent on the language you're learning and your own first language, assuming that's the main one that you're using. So it's all relative in that sense. If we compare people who speak English trying to learn Russian, then the vocabulary should be easy when compared to the grammar. Because the grammar uses completely different structures to convey meaning. There are also case changes, which we don't really have in English. So that's one example.

M: What difficulties do people face when learning a language?

R: Well, I think I just mentioned them. But aside from the issues of learning a new language, when you already have one you know well, you need to find a good teacher, the time, and the money, and the resources to learn. It also requires willpower, which can come and go if you don't manage it well.

M: Do you think language learning is important?

R: Well, I have to say yes, because my entire career is built on it. But from a less selfish angle, I would still say it's a good idea, it expands your cultural awareness and job opportunities and social networks. And I'm told by reliable sources can make holidays cheaper.

M: How does it make holidays cheaper?

R: Because you don't have to buy options provided by tourism agencies, which are usually marked up at higher prices, because they have to pay for like translation and everything. So if you can already speak the language, then you don't need that.

M: What's the best way to learn a language?

R: Well, with a good teacher. They don't have to be a professional or even a native speaker. Just someone that you can talk to who can motivate you and channel your efforts, explaining things when they get difficult and providing opportunities to practice. Obviously, success is more likely with someone who has training and experience, but it's not the most important part. Money can't replace the value of good people.

M: What can people do to learn a language?

R: Aside from hiring a teacher? There are apps, and websites, and book series, that focus on developing people's language skills and systems. There's also this idea called exposure that advocates the principle of just immersing yourself in the language and allowing your brain to work out the meaning. And there is some credence to that as well.

M: Is making foreign friends the best way to learn a language?

R: That's a bit exploitative, isn't it? You make friends because you like people for whatever reason, not just some transactional purpose. It might help. But it shouldn't be the main reason like having interests in common and it's so much better and less sociopathic reason.

M: Is travelling a good idea for learning a language?

R: I'd say so. After you have the basics nailed down, you have a chance to use your language in the wild, so to speak, and it might give you some practice dealing with unexpected situations. And with people using slang words that they don't usually teach in textbooks.

M: Which is better studying alone, or studying in a group?

R: I think that depends entirely on why you learn. If you like a more social experience, then a group works well. If it's more about fast progress and having the full attention of a teacher catering to your needs, then obviously it's better to be alone.

M: Thank you, Rory, for your answers!



R: Shall we look at the language of these language questions?

M: Yeah, oh, these language questions are so you know, they like oh, so what's the best way to learn a language? Oh, God. Oh, And then is it better to study alone or in a group? They are like so trivial. What do you think?

R: What do you mean by trivial?

M: Kind of ordinary, like usual, everybody, no, like, off. I don't know, they're just off. These questions are offf.

R: Is that because the questions are bad, or is it because they're the questions that you and I hear all the time?

M: Maybe. Maybe. yeah. We hear these questions all the time. What's the best way to learn the language?

R: What's the best way to learn the language?

M: What's the best way to get band nine for IELTS writing? Oh...

R: However, at the risk of doing a little bit of cheeky advertising on our premium podcast. If you are interested in getting a teacher to learn a language better or to practice on structures in the podcast, then feel free to get in touch with me at least. Maybe Maria is a little bit more exclusive, but I'm happy to say like, come one, come all and come for classes.

M: Oh, yeah. So Rory is open for classes again. Hey.

R: Hey.

M: That's nice. So what's the best way to learn a language? Go to Rory, you can find him on Instagram, Facebook, Telegram. He's everywhere these days.

R: I wouldn't say it's the best way, it's one of the best ways.

M: The best way. Anyway, our favourite phrase, instead of saying it depends on something, you say it's contingent on the language

R: Yeah, I got bored of saying it depends on.

M: So what are the difficulties? It's contingent on the language you're learning. Yeah, we learn a language. Can we study language?

R: You can.

M: So study a language, learn a language. But teachers teach you a language because sometimes you get this two confused. Teach and learn. So they teach you, you learn. And then we can talk about vocabulary, vocabulary, right, grammar, gorgeous grammar, fantastic vocabulary. And they convey meaning, okay?

R: But that just means that they pass the meaning from you to the person listening, convey, like conveyor belt.

M: So we use words to convey meaning.

R: And if you know a little bit of, well, vocabulary for describing kinds of vocabulary or kinds of grammar, then you could talk about case changes. I don't know what case changes are because I've given up on learning about them. But Russian has like 3000 of them.

M: Yeah, yeah, you can talk about specific, you know, points in the language articles, for example, or intonation, right, for like Chinese. For example, intonation. Or there's also another one like verb conjugation. What do you say?

R: Oh, stop, just stop now.

M: Yeah, you can be as specific as possible here, you know, but now you can think about what you would like to say about like, difficulties. So yeah, usually, something with grammar, tense forms, cases, intonation.

R: You are making me tense by having this conversation

M: Conditionals, Rory, conditionals. How many types of conditionals do we have?

R: Stop.

M: In your own language?

R: Oh, how many conditionals do we have in English, Maria? Because that's always an interesting question, isn't it? Isn't it? Is it one? Or is it five?

M: No, it's five, because we have 0, 1, 2, 3 and mixed. We have five of them.

R: What's the point of saying it's mixed? Like surely you're just talking about different varieties of mixture then.

M: This is a separate type, that's a separate type, Rory. It's called a mixed conditional type.

R: No, you're just rude.

M: And this mix conditional includes different types of verb forms, tense forms. Anyway, we were with willpower. So learning a language requires willpower. Conditionals require willpower.

R: Which just means another way, it's another way of saying motivation. You need to be motivated. The resources come from within. Your will. I will do this.

M: Yeah. And also you can talk about resources. So you should find resources to learn, resources like your time, your efforts, these are all resources, and also financial resources to learn language. If you hire a private teacher, or you go to a group class, and then like, is language learning important? Well, yes, it's important of off, off.

R: Off.

M: Off. I don't know, I don't like these questions. They are... There's nothing interesting in them.

R: They're completely insane. It's great, though, because it's like, what's the best way to learn a language? And it's like, what can people do to learn the language? And it's like, well, I just spoke about that. So what am I supposed to say?

M: Yes, it's like this, you know, it's like, oh, come on. Anyway, again, the questions could be a bit different, right? But the examiner will ask you general questions about like, learning a language so...

R: But if they're being stupid, then you just look at them and say, aside from my previous answer.

M: Yeah, exactly. You just look at them, like, come on. I've already answered this question.

R: Could you ask me a real question?

M: Yeah, dear listener, better don't do this. You know, like, be nice, smile, be polite. But don't smile too much,

R: And then complain to the centre after you're finished and say why is someone asking me the same question again and again?

M: Stupid questions. Yeah, you can complain. Okay, so my entire career can be built on a foreign language.

R: Well, yeah, this only works if you're like a language teacher, though. I mean, how many of those are there?

M: No, but come on, like people in business, businessmen, entrepreneurs, they need foreign language.

R: Yes. But that's not their career, though. Like...

M: Why not? Business is their career.

R: Because their career is to work in business.

M: And then a story goes like, but from a less selfish angle. Huh, that's a nice one. Like to be less selfish.

R: Yes. It's just like another way of saying like, from a different point of view, from another perspective. And then we can talk about advantages. Expanding cultural awareness, expanding job opportunities, expanding social networks. You cannot expand, making holidays cheaper, but you can just make them cheaper. I would also like to thank my student Dasha for giving me that idea. Because we were talking about it in our class recently. And she was explaining higher learning a foreign language actually makes your holidays cheaper. Something I had not considered before.

M: That's a nice idea.

R: That girl is going places, for sure.

M: Hmm, cool, cool. Yeah. So for travelling, right? So it's like a simple answer. It's important for travelling. And then what's the best way to learn the language? Oh, God. And Rory gave a simple answer - with a good teacher. That's it. That's the best way.

R: Yes. That's all.

M: Go to Rory. Rory, I am the best teacher. That's it. Oh, Rory, and you mentioned a native speaker.

R: I said they don't have to be.

M: Yes. So just a good teacher who can motivate you, channel your efforts channel, like the English Channel, channel your efforts, explaining things. That was nice. Oh, and then you said like, money can't replace the value of good people. Language learning applications can't replace the value of good people. That's nice. And then we go what else can people do? So hire a teacher, use apps, websites and book series. Can we use the N. The N.

R: The N-word?

M: Netflix.

M: The N-word. Yes. Netflix.

R: Well, I don't know. Like, oh, God, there was an advert for that on YouTube the other day, and they were like, oh, you can learn a language just by watching the soap operas. And I was like, I have never heard anything more profoundly stupid in my entire life. Like, no, you have to, like, do all kinds of different things. Not like one way.

M: Oh, so it's not only through watching Netflix you learn a language.

R: Yeah. But they were saying like, this is the only and the best way and I'm just sitting here like, no, that's silly. Like, okay, obviously, you and I have an interest in people learning of language in a different way. But like, I did not spend, what, eight years of my life studying linguistics, and like the idea of how people learn a language just to be told, oh, well, this whole time people just needed to listen to soap operas. Like, seriously? You think like, what, 200 years of like the history of developing ways of getting people to learn and oh, you're just need to do this one thing. Like, that's silly. Obviously, people want to hear that. But like, no, that's stupid. So talking about like, one best way. That's why it annoys me so much.

M: Oh, yeah. One of the best ways of...

R: Yeah, it's like this one when people are like, oh, you just need to find friends, like, and they will teach you the language. And it's like, you can't use people as a tool for your own advancement. That's like something that psychopaths do.

M: You go marry a foreigner and this is how...

R: Yeah, I love that like you marry a foreigner and that's how you'll learn the language or that's how you'll get the visa. It's like, do you understand how crazy that sounds? That sounds insane.

M: Well, Rory darling, some people use other people. Okay?

R: Yes, but they're, you know, that's totally immoral. And absolutely, like, ethically unacceptable. You can't just go around using people in this fashion. It's immoral and that is the hill that I will die on.

M: Oh, boy, oh, boy. Okay. When we talk about learning a language, we can use the word exposure. Exposure to language. Could you give us some examples with that. Exposure

R: Watching soap operas. Well, no, watching soap operas, listening to audiobooks listening to podcasts, all of these things.

M: Yeah. Or like in a sentence, right. So how can our listener use it in a sentence? So to speak a foreign language fluently you need exposure to this language on a daily basis.

R: Or you need to be exposed to this language on a daily basis.

M: Yeah, so you need to kind of hear it, you need to listen to it on a daily basis.

R: You need to live and breathe this foreign language. Other ways of talking about language can involve unexpected situations and slang words.

M: Yes. When you immerse yourself into, for example, English language environment. You will be exposed to slang and yeah, F-bombs. And other interesting vocabulary.

R: You would never find us using such language on this family friendly podcast though.

Yes, unfortunately. Oh, well. Okay. Then about making friends. Yeah, Rory feels really emotional about it. So he said that it's sounds a bit exploitative, exploitative.

R: But that just means you're exploiting people for your own gain. Like for your own purpose. It's so immoral. Like, please tell me you did not become friends with me for that purpose.

M: Hmm.

R: Maria?

M: Nah, of course not.

R: Right. Good.

M: No, I had a couple of people before you. So they did the job.

R: That is not what I needed to hear.

M: So it's like for some transactional purpose. Right?

R: Yes. But that just means like you're doing it to get something.

M: Yep. Which is not good. Immoral. This is immoral. Rory used a nice phrasal verb to nail down. A nice one.

R: Yes, but that's just like to consolidate, to confirm.

M: To nail down.

R: Idiomatic expression for a high score.

M: Yeah, for example, travelling might be a good idea to learn a language. So you have the basics nailed down. So you kind of, you cover the basics, you get them sorted. And then you can use the language in the wild. I like that. in the wild,

R: But that just means that we're using it outside of the classroom, in an uncontrolled space, in a wild space. Which in Russia is anywhere outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, wild spaces.

M: Okay, I see. Haha. All right.

R: Oh, St. Petersburg and Moscow are very civilized compared to the rest of Russia. You forget where I have been?

M: Oh, yeah, I remember, yeah.

R: Volgograd, Yegorevsk, wild places.

M: Dear listener, if you are from these places, I'm very sorry. This is like a wild Scott we're dealing with. He has no idea what he's talking about.

R: So, you can study alone or in a group with a teacher and a teacher will cater to your needs, which means that they will help you specifically you will focus on your needs specifically. On the subject of catering to our needs alone. I am very hungry. So I'm going to cater to my needs and have some food. Thank you for listening!

M: Ah, so this is how you're doing our premium episode. Right, Rory?

R: I have been working since seven o'clock this morning. It is now half-past two and I haven't stood up and all of that time. So yes.

M: Crazy. He's crazy. He's crazy. Yeah. So if you want some classes or if you want Rory, the super Rory. Rory the rebel. The Rory to help you out with your English or IETLS, you can go to Rory. How lovely is that?

R: Let's make sure that i've had my cheese and crackers before we have a class.

M: Thank you for being with us! Thank you so much for listening! We love you, we hug you! Bye!

R: Bye!

M: Bye!


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