Lesson Transcript


Chigusa: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Chigusa and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome to the Inner Circle.
Peter: This is for those of you who took the 12-Month Challenge.
Chigusa: And this is the monthly... no-holds-barred.. newsletter giving you tried and tested learning methods...
Peter: ...to help you reach your language goals this year.
Chigusa: Now, I don’t know how many of you were around, but last year, Peter, you took on the challenge of learning...?
Peter: Russian.
Chigusa: Yes, and before that?
Peter: Korean, French, Chinese, German, and some years before that, Spanish and Italian.
Chigusa: So, quite a bit.
Peter: Yeah, so it’s a new language every year...
Chigusa: Which languages do you have a high command of?
Peter: That’s a very good question, so Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and I'm still heavily invested in Korean. But the other languages, you know, it’s like a muscle. If you don’t stick with it, it tends to fade fast.
Chigusa: Right… by the way, listeners, if you’re a Premium or Premium PLUS member...
Peter: ...You can access previous Inner Circle lessons in the Lesson Library...
Chigusa: ...and see how Peter took on those languages...
Peter: Just choose “Bonus” from the drop-down in the Lesson Library.
Chigusa: Okay, Peter, in our last Inner Circle for 2021, you revealed your next language. And I don’t want to ruin the surprise for listeners that haven’t heard it yet. So, which language are you taking on this year?
Peter: This year, I am taking on Hindi.
Chigusa: Hindi. That’s a really interesting choice. Why Hindi?
Peter: One of my best friends speaks Hindi, plus it’s a fascinating language.
Chigusa: It’s always interesting to hear why people choose to learn a certain language. Did you set any goals yet?
Peter: So, for the first month, I want to work on the alphabet and one minute of speaking. Previous languages that I’ve studied that used the Latin alphabet, I would focus on speaking because I could more-or-less work my way through the reading. But for Hindi, again, it’s a completely new alphabet, so I want to spend some time there so I can get to reading as fast as possible.
Chigusa: That’s great! And I think our listeners would want to know... How will you learn this language this year?
Peter: Well, the first thing is to set small, measurable, monthly goals... which we’ve talked a lot about in past Inner Circle lessons.
Chigusa: Right, so that learning a language isn’t some vague goal...
Peter: But so that it’s something specific, measurable and realistic that I can reach within a month, and build from there. Normally I set a goal of 30 minutes of conversation for the year... and in month 1, I’ll aim for 1 or 2 minutes and build up from there, month by month. So, I’ll still be setting these goals. I’m going to try a bit of a different approach as well.
Chigusa: Oh, what is it?
Peter: As I mentioned before, I usually just focused on speaking right away. But since I’m brand new to Hindi, completely brand new. I want to start a more overall, fundamental approach. So, I’m going to start with our Fundamentals Welcome Pack first, which is related to today’s Inner Circle.
Chigusa: Your First Steps to Learning a Language: The Fundamentals Welcome Pack
Peter: Let’s jump into part 1.
Chigusa: Part 1: How Peter is Approaching Hindi in Month 1
Chigusa: So what’s different this time?
Peter: If you want to learn a language from the ground up... and understand how it works, you need to start with the fundamentals.
Chigusa: So, fundamentals like the alphabet, pronunciation...
Peter: ... Beginner Level Grammar Rules, Sentence patterns, Core Words, and Phrases.
Chigusa: Okay, that makes sense. And especially with Hindi, right? The alphabet and pronunciation are unique.
Peter: Exactly. So this... starting from the fundamentals is also something called... Trunk-based knowledge.
Chigusa: Trunk-based knowledge?
Peter: If you imagine a tree, it starts from the roots, to the trunk, and to branches and then, the leaves. And the leaves are the details - the words and phrases. And the roots and trunk are the foundation of it all. If you focus on the leaves - or learning just the words and phrases, you’ll struggle with coming up with your own sentences, the conjugations... and just understanding the language.
But if you start with the roots and trunk - the fundamentals, you learn to read, the pronunciation, the grammar rules, and everything else you learn later on… is built on top of these.
Chigusa: Yes, with anything you learn, it’s important to ask, “What are the basics” and work from there. But, Peter, isn’t this obvious?
Peter: Yes, Chigusa, very good question. It’s obvious when you’re learning in class. Where a teacher took the time to plan out the curriculum when you have the textbook with 1 step after another, but for people that are learning on their own... it may not be that obvious.
Chigusa: So this trunk approach works better than starting with the leaves?
Peter: I think each person has something that will work best for them. For a long time, I used the leaf approach, and again, it’s a bit backward in a way because you’re starting with the leaves and working backward towards the trunk. So let’s go through this example. I’d start with speaking first, and I’d focus only on that because that was the most fun and rewarding thing to do. And later, my progress would plateau because... I was missing something if I’m not able to understand the patterns and grammar rules. So, I’d have to come back and revisit the grammar, reading, and writing. I think you need both, and some people might benefit from starting with the leaves, and I used to use that way, but I've had a lot more success by starting with the trunk in my last few endeavors. Again, It's fun to speak and get out there right away, but if you start with the trunk, you’re not going to see that reward as fast, but when you start to make your progress, it’s going to be up, up, up, up.
Chigusa: Then do you think you say that... starting with the foundation is the faster way to learn a language?
Peter: I think the faster way is the leaves, but I think starting with that foundation, in my experience, is the better way because you’re building a foundation that allows you to go higher. And when you finally start to put everything together, your progress will go past the person who started with the leaves. One of the best… perhaps examples I can give of this - when I first came to Japan, there were many people who could speak Japanese very, very well. Better than maybe even I can now. But they could not read. They could not write. And that’s a big hole in your language skill. So, again, I think the foundation takes a little bit longer to see the rewards. Maybe if we’re using this tree analogy, there are leaves, and then there's fruit on the tree. So, if you start with the foundation, maybe that fruit on the tree is a little bit better because when you finally hit your stride, all the pieces will work together. I could not speak right away when I came to Japan, but I could read on the train, and that allowed me to fully immerse myself in all the categories.
Chigusa: Peter, so what about the Welcome Pack you mentioned earlier?
Peter: The Fundamentals Welcome Pack is a pack of PDF cheat sheets covering the alphabet, beginner grammar, conversational patterns, words, phrases, and culture... all the things that a beginner needs to master at the start.
Chigusa: Oh, is this a new feature?
Peter: Actually, this welcome pack is already available to everyone, but it gets kind of looked over, so many people don’t take advantage of it. It’s currently available for all the users for all languages, and it comes in the email. In one of the welcome emails, there’s a link to download this Welcome Pack. However, a lot of people miss it. So, what we will be doing is adding this to the dashboard so people can always find their way back to it. This time, my approach is - I’ll be starting with the Welcome Pack, just making sure that I master the alphabet, the basic grammar patterns, and all of the things inside. And at the same, I’ll also start with the HindiPod101 Level 1 Learning Pathway.
Chigusa: Great! And Peter, you also usually look for in-person tutors. Will you be doing that this time as well?
Peter: Yes, I will be doing that - I better get started on that. But first, this welcome pack is quite thick, so I’ve been focusing my efforts there, but yes, thank you for reminding me, Chigusa, I need to get on that.
Chigusa: Okay, so now, what about our listeners? What can they take away from this?
Peter: Let’s jump into part 2.
Chigusa: Part 2: How to Apply this Learning Tactic”
Peter: Anytime you attempt to learn something new, your very first step should be to ask... “What are the must-know basics?”
Chigusa: And that’s because these basics serve as a foundation for everything that you learn later on.
Peter: Starting with the fundamentals is an obvious step... And it’s obvious if you’re learning in class, with a teacher, where the curriculum was carefully planned out.
Chigusa: But, if you’re learning alone - as is the case with many language learners... and if you don’t know the right way to approach learning... then it won't be as obvious.
Peter: You might download an app or start watching YouTube videos...
Chigusa: And you’ll quickly find yourself struggling to understand how the language works...
Peter: ...how the conjugations work.... how to create your sentences... and what’s right or wrong.
Chigusa: You’ll always feel like you’re missing something.
Peter: So, to get you started on the right foot... we’ve prepared this Fundamentals Welcome Pack.
Chigusa: A pack of PDF cheat sheets covering the fundamentals: alphabet, beginner grammar, conversational patterns, words, phrases, and culture.
Peter: You can also start learning with our recommended learning pathway...
Chigusa: But be sure to use this Welcome Pack at the same time.
Peter: And here’s how. For the alphabet cheat sheet, you should spend the first 2 or 3 days practicing writing out the alphabet for 10 or 20 minutes a day or so.
Chigusa: If your target language uses a non-roman alphabet, then it may take you longer. For example, with Japanese, most language classes spend up to a week on the Hiragana and Katakana.
Peter: Next, you’ll find the Core Words and Core Phrases cheat sheets. These are all the words and phrases that a beginner must know.
Chigusa: Just spend a few minutes a day reading and saying these words out loud.
Peter: You can also practice writing them out... which will reinforce the alphabet as well.
Chigusa: Remember, you don’t have to memorize all the words all at once because you’ll see these words again and again later when you’re taking our lessons. Then, there’s the grammar cheat sheet that will teach you simple grammar patterns.
Peter: Copy out the sample sentences and try to create your own sentences as well.
Chigusa: With the conversational phrases cheat sheet, you’ll learn some common questions and all the possible ways to answer them in the target language.
Peter: And these phrases will use the same grammar patterns that you learned earlier.
Chigusa: And finally, there’s the Culture cheat sheet...
Peter: And this will give you a better understanding of the language and the country.
Chigusa: ...and you can use these cultural tips as talking points... when you get the chance to speak to native speakers.
Peter: Listeners, we’re working on adding this welcome pack to the dashboard...
Chigusa: ....but you should’ve received this Welcome Pack as one of your welcome emails when you signed up for Premium or Premium PLUS.
Peter: If not, just email us at inner dot circle at innovativelanguage dot com
Chigusa: Tell us the language you’re learning, and we’ll reply with the link. And Peter, let's get back to goals. You’re learning Hindi. So what’s your goal for the month?
Peter: So, for the first month, I want to work on the alphabet and one minute of speaking
Chigusa: Deadline?
Peter: February 28th, 2022.
Chigusa: Sounds very good. And listeners, let us know what your small, measurable, monthly goal is… email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com and stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


Chigusa: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson for this month!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Chigusa: Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you next time.