Language Exercises – It’s All About The Gains

language_exercises-_it_s_all_about_the_gains

I want to talk about fitness and language learning and, particularly, CrossFit and language learning. We need to be fit in order to engage in physical activity. The fitter we are, normally, the better we do in sports, for example, in skiing or tennis, or whatever it might be. I think the same is true in language learning. We need to develop our stamina and physical ability to learn languages.

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I want to talk about fitness and language learning and, particularly, CrossFit and language exercises.

We need to be fit in order to engage in physical activity. The fitter we are, normally, the better we do in sports, for example, in skiing or tennis, or whatever it might be. I think the same is true in language learning. We need to develop our stamina and physical ability to learn languages.

I started doing CrossFit here in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago. CrossFit focuses on a limited number of exercises. They work the legs, the core and the shoulders, but always sort of in a free standing situation. You’re doing squats. You’re doing jerks or snatches. While it’s controversial, their view is that this is very good because you’re not just focusing on one muscle, whereas if you’re sitting at a machine in a gym you might just be working on your biceps or something. I have found it excellent. I find that it has improved my posture and feel very good.

Remember, however concentrated language exercises might be, we still have to do a number of other things to improve.

Varying exercises increases our alertness and ability to notice, then like fitness in sports, the more things you notice, the better you’re going to learn the language.

So what I’ve been doing in the last week or so is reading text in Polish. I’ll focus on underlining and highlighting more phrases and then I can hear the text to speech of those phrases, so I kind of hear them sounding in my mind.

Often, these are phrases with verbs in them; I think those are the most important kinds of phrases. Then, I go to the dictation section at LingQ and I hear the text to speech and have to type in what I heard in the dictation. So I’m listening to two, three, four, five words of Polish and I have to write in what I heard. It’s amazing how I mishear. You assume you’re hearing something when, in fact, what the person said was quite different. So training myself to hear what is said better and to write correctly is not only enabling me to remember these phrases, but is also increasing my alertness, my ability to notice and, therefore, my fitness.

So I think this principle of CrossFit, a limited number of exercises that are very good for you. It’s not the only thing you do, but they really improve your general fitness. I think the same might be true of this emphasis on phrases and then doing dictation. I’ll continue doing this and I’ll report back to you.

I look forward to hearing your comments.


I just learned Polish and Russian at LingQ. Join us at LingQ.com to power up your language learning.

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