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

Chris Eubanks
4 min readNov 8, 2023
Photo by Papaioannou Kostas on Unsplash

After a year of learning Finnish to A2 level, I thought I had discovered the most efficient process out there: learning through immersion. It eventually hit me that I was doing immersion highly inefficiently. My process was working very well, but I still couldn’t understand certain parts of spoken Finnish. When you discover a great process, you develop an unbreakable allegiance to it. You don’t realize that there might be something else better out there.

How I became suspicious of my process

No matter how many TV shows I watched, I could not understand fast spoken conversations between multiple people. This is a commonly cited problem with language learning. In real life, people talk differently than in TV show dialogues. If you’re standing in a circle with 3 or more people, everyone’s talking over each other, cracking jokes, not enunciating their words, and changing the subject constantly. This type of rough speech that happens in everyday life is non existent in most TV shows.

After watching TV shows and listening to audiobooks for a whole year, I could understand most TV shows up to 50%. 50% is good enough to intuit what’s going on. It’s like listening to a radio that’s out of tune. 50% is a good baseline. The same goes for audiobooks. If I picked…

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Chris Eubanks

Language learner. Rapidly learning the Finnish language. Follow me for specific knowledge that can't be found anywhere else on the Internet.