Don’t want to waste 6 months learning a language? Avoid these “beginner tips”

Chris Eubanks
6 min readNov 23, 2023
AI image generated by Dezco with the author’s prompt

A great journey is always counterintuitive. If the beginner advice really worked, everyone would be speaking Mandarin, Finnish, and Spanish. Why do so many give up? Why doesn’t the specific knowledge from people who actually learned the language trickle down to the masses?

My theory is that people are comfortable with familiarity, and they tend to gravitate towards familiar processes that they grew up with in school. But the familiar processes are slow, and don’t effectively capture real spoken speech. The processes that really work are so counterintuitive, people tend to not trust them, because they take a lot of faith at the beginning.

Read more: This efficient language learning process took me a year to figure out

Here are the most common “beginner tips” that will have you spinning in circles rather than making any real progress.

Buy a textbook

Think critically here. At what point in time are you listening to real native speakers? At what point in time are you speaking the language? With a textbook, you are doing zero of these things. People who learn through the textbook approach become quite effective readers and writers, but have a very…



Chris Eubanks

Language learner. Rapidly learning the Finnish language. Follow me for specific knowledge to speed up your language journey.