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: In this Inner Circle, we’re talking about...
Peter: The 2 Minute Rule to Cracking Through the Hard Parts of Language Learning
Chigusa: And you’ll learn...
Peter: One: The 2 Minute Rule for Breaking Through
Chigusa: Two: How to Apply this Learning Tactic
Peter: All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned how to speak more of your target language with your teacher.
Chigusa: And last time, Peter, you hit your 3-minute goal and set a new goal.
Peter: Right, so I promised 4 minutes of Hindi conversation…
Chigusa: And did you hit it?
Peter: Yes, I did.
Chigusa: Oh, that’s great! So, your Hindi is coming along well, huh?
Peter: Well, it depends on… your position in the matter. According to my teacher, not so well. But according to my friend who is quite supportive, very well. But, you know I think I’m getting more comfortable with speaking with my in-person teacher. But you know, some teachers can be a little more strict, and some teachers can be a little more lenient. I think I have a little more on the strict side this time.
Chigusa: So, last time, we talked about using phrases that are good to know if you’re learning with a teacher. Have you still been doing that?
Peter: I have, and just as a recap, we’re referring to phrases like, “what does this word mean,” “can you repeat that,” and “can you give me an example.” The kind of phrases you’d need to know if you’re learning with a teacher. And these phrases are a good way to keep the conversation in your target language, and it gives you an extra 30 seconds or a minute or so… but it’s not something you can fully rely on.
Chigusa: Right, there’s only so far you can go with them, right?
Peter: Exactly. Eventually, you’ll want to pick up grammar and create your own sentences… so you can speak more freely instead of relying on these set phrases. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do lately.
Chigusa: So, it’s been working.
Peter: Hmm, sometimes I feel like I should take a hard position on things, but I’m always kind of this back and forth… yes and no. So what I mean by that is… let’s just say… learning grammar is easy, but putting it to use in a real conversation… not so easy. In fact, for me, that’s one of the harder parts of learning Hindi — actually using new patterns instead of relying on the few that I already know.
Chigusa: Right, I totally get that. You could read about a rule in a book and listen to an explanation… and you could even understand it… But using it freely in a conversation is sort of hard, isn’t it?
Peter: It is. There was a guy who I knew growing up, and he went on to become an MMA fighter, and he was on The Ultimate Fighter. And he had one of the best analogies ever. He said to this one guy, "you’re like a professional swimmer that read about swimming but never got in the pool." It’s kind of like, yeah, you can read all you want about the grammar, but unless you go and you say it and refine it, that ability to instantly produce it… that’s actually really tough. I think many listeners could relate here.
Chigusa: Yeah, I totally relate too. So, how do you get over this then?
Peter: Well, that’s the topic for today. So let’s get into the first part of today’s inner Circle.
Chigusa: Part 1: The 2 Minute Rule for Breaking Through
Peter: So, for me personally… The hard part of learning Hindi, at least right now… is being able to comfortably put grammar to use in conversation. Producing what I’ve read or learned through video or audio. There are a few specific patterns that I’m really struggling with.
Chigusa: By the way, listeners, you might have different pain points in the language that you’re learning.
Peter: So, think about what you’re struggling with right now. It may not be the same as my pain point, but… I think all listeners have something that they’re not comfortable with. For example, when I was learning Japanese back in the day, there were 2 grammatical patterns that were similar… similar grammatically, the way you conjugate them, but they caused… they were something I really struggled with.
Chigusa: Yeah, grammar can be confusing. So, how do you deal with these pain points?
Peter: It’s very, very interesting, Chigusa. I often strongly recommend when you start to study a second language, you actually start with your own language because most people - their grammar foundation in their own language is kind of weak. They just pick it up because they’re exposed to it. They don’t understand why they're doing the things they do when they produce the language. So when they’re trying to learn the new language, it’s doubly confusing because they don’t even have that foundation in their own language, so… but let’s put that aside for a second and let’s just go back. Back in the day, when I first started learning languages… I didn’t deal with the pain points.
Chigusa: You didn’t?!
Peter: Chigusa, I avoided them… And that’s not the best approach because it took a long time to learn them. But, a few Inner Circle lessons ago, we talked about creating habits, right?
Chigusa: Yes, I remember.
Peter: And one of the many ways to start a habit is something called the 2-minute rule.
Chigusa: The 2-minute rule….
Peter: So to keep it simple, if you want to start a new habit…and do something new, do it for just 2 minutes a day. Once those 2 minutes are up, you can walk away and come back to it tomorrow. You can apply this very same rule… toward cracking the hard parts of language learning.
Chigusa: Ah, I see.
Peter: But the trick is, you have to keep up with it almost daily… or do it every time you’re learning a language.
Chigusa: Peter, how would you do it? You spend about 2 minutes… on creating sentences with grammar rules you recently learned?
Peter: Exactly. So in my notebook, yes, I keep a notebook – handwritten notebook, I keep a list of grammar points that I’m not confident about… and at the start of every session, I put in a few minutes towards creating sentences with the rules. I write them out. I say them out loud. Then, I record that and send it to my Premium PLUS teacher for corrections. So again, I write them, say them, record them, and get feedback on them. And this is the most powerful part of learning a language or creating a habit of learning a language that I could really stress.
Chigusa: But why just 2 minutes? If it’s hard, I’d think you’d want to spend MORE time on it, right? Until you get it.
Peter: Now, if you can spend more than 2 minutes and you’re getting good value out of it, please keep going. But, your question is very valid. If you can do more than 2… I find the 2 minutes is this really sweet spot because… Well, before I tell you this, here’s a question for you. Chigusa, do you enjoy reading grammar rules?
Chigusa: No, I would not enjoy it.
Peter: Some people do, and that’s really cool. But some people don’t, and let’s say you’re asked to spend 30 minutes reading grammar? Are you going to look forward to that every day?
Chigusa: Um, no, I think I’d put it off until the last minute.
Peter: That’s kind of what school conditions us to do. So, that’s kind of the issue at hand when you’re trying to do something hard… It's not fun. So, chances are you’d rather not do it because it’s just not fun. But usually… that hard part…if you can master it… that’s what it takes to get to the next level.
Chigusa: Right, in your case, you’ll be able to speak and understand more of the language. That is true, now that I think about it.
Peter: Exactly. So, the first reason is… The 2-minute rule makes things easier. If you only have to do 2 minutes, it’s not that bad. And second, you could put in more time upfront, but… that’s not the best way. Again, if you have to do it for 10 minutes… 2 minutes is easy, 10 minutes, 15, 20, and now it starts to get harder and harder. That’s not the best way to learn and make the language feel natural, especially with grammar. Let’s replace grammar with the part of the language you struggle with, so whatever you find the most difficult is where you want to put in the least amount of time, but do it consistently every day. Then, you can spend more time on things you like to do, reading, listening, etc. For me, with grammar, you get used to it - 2 minutes a day, 2 minutes a day, 2 minutes a day. And that won’t happen if you are trying to force yourself to extend that time every day. And you get consistent with this practice over time.
Chigusa: And then after you’re done with the quick practice…?
Peter: After that, I move on to the HindiPod101 lessons and my usual routine. So, I spend just a little bit of time on the stuff that’s really challenging, just to get it into my routine. Then, I move on to the stuff I like. And some days, I’m talking to my teacher, some days, I’m messaging my Premium PLUS teacher. But, by getting that exposure, that really tough stuff, I’m actively chiseling away at the hard parts… that I’d normally avoid.
Chigusa: And it doesn’t feel like a struggle, right?
Peter: No, it feels like a struggle. Still feels like a struggle. But, it’s only a few minutes. And that’s the point of that 2-minute rule… is you can walk away before it starts to feel like a struggle. To be honest, 2 minutes when I first started, I could maybe do 1 sentence or 2 sentences. Now, I race to see how many get inside of that 2 minutes. And I’m up to sometimes 6 or 7, so that makes it fun.
Chigusa: Great! Alright, now, what about our listeners? What can they take away from this?
Peter: Let’s get into part #2.
Chigusa: Part 2: How to Apply this Learning Tactic
Peter: So, listeners, what do you currently struggle with?
Chigusa: The fact is, you’re always going to have a hard time with something…
Peter: …whether it’s the alphabet, pronunciation, grammar rules, or conversations. And chances are… you’re going to avoid these pain points because, well… you’d rather do what’s fun or easy. Again, passive stuff like watching video or listening to audio - that's easier. Easier than producing something like writing or speaking. So the concepts that are hard they’re usually not so much fun.
Chigusa: So that's where the 2-minute rule comes in.
Peter: To start, all you have to do is put in 2 minutes a day… or per session if you want to do multiple sessions a day. Once you’re done, walk away, or move on to something that you like. Again, in my case, I practiced creating sentences with the grammar rules I really struggled with.
Chigusa: Now, you might think that 2 minutes is not enough… but it’s not about mastering everything right now, but making it easy to do and putting in the time consistently.
Peter: Exactly. The point is not to overwhelm yourself… which can easily happen if you’re practicing something you’re not good at. The point is to end it before it gets frustrating.
Chigusa: And if you keep at it daily, you’ll start cracking through the hard parts of your target language.
Peter: So, think about what it is you’re struggling with right now. It could be conjugating verbs. It could be a specific grammar point. It could be just finding the time to study each day.
Chigusa: Or, it could be the alphabet for now.
Peter: If you’re using a notebook, which I strongly recommend, at the top of the page, write down the one pain point you want to focus on
Chigusa: And just put in at least 2 minutes practicing that specific thing.
Peter: You can do more if you want, but keep it short for now and walk away before it feels like a struggle. There’s no rush to do it all now.
Chigusa: Then, at your next learning session, do it again. Open up your notebook, write down that same point you want to focus on, practice it, and then move on to the easier things.
Peter: And bit by bit, you’ll start getting used to the grammar point, the pronunciation, or whatever else that you’re struggling with.
Chigusa: …And it’ll slowly become natural for you over time.
Peter: Exactly. And with grammar especially, it’s something you get used by repeating over and over again... It usually doesn’t come from a 2-hour cram session. In fact, studying a little bit every day is vastly superior than by studying 2-hour cram sessions once in a while….
Chigusa: By the way, if you want to be able to stick with the 2-minute rule…
Peter: We've included a monthly tracking calendar inside the PDF. So, after you put the time in, you can cross off that day and maintain your streak.
Chigusa: Now Peter, what about next month? What’s your next goal?
Peter: Let’s see. June 30th. 15 minutes by the end of the year. Hindi is a little tough. Alright, let’s go for 6 minutes.
Chigusa: 6 minutes by June 30th?
Peter: June 30th.
Chigusa: Sounds 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.