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How to take in new language

Input is essential to learning a language. The reason for this is twofold:

  1. Languages are far too complex to be adequately described by any book or course. To be introduced to all the different ways and specific contexts words and forms can be used together, you need to first see the language used in context.

  1. Explanations and drills help you learn about the language, but using the language is a skill you must practice and refine.

For this reason, you should aim to use as much input as possible. Input does three things:

1. It introduces you to new forms and words in context in a way that is interesting

2. It solidifies words and forms in your memory as you encounter them repeatedly

3. It builds your intuition for the language

Intuition is an important part of learning. It is the subconscious knowledge that makes you so good at your native language. This is why certain things can just sound correct or incorrect without you having any explicit understanding of why.

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Using input is simple. 

Simply engage with it in whatever manner you prefer and try to understand as much as possible. You can repeat the same content multiple times if you want. The more you repeat it, the more you will get useful repetition that solidifies your knowledge.

Balance active and passive learning

Active learning is the act of actively engaging with your resources that enables you to efficiently apprehend new knowledge. Passive learning is the act of letting the language come to you by engaging with as much as possible without focused study.

Active learning is the more efficient way of engaging with your content and will let you gain new knowledge faster when you use it for focused study. At the same time, learning a language takes enormous amounts of input and there is no way to realistically expose yourself to all the forms and words you need without large amounts of passive learning.

Be sure you are doing both types of learning. 

You may find it better to use more difficult resources for active learning and easier ones for passive learning.

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