Lesson Transcript


Mike: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Mike and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Mike: In this Inner Circle, we’re talking about….
Peter: Do You Know What You Want From This Language?
Mike: You’ll learn...
Peter: One, The Power of Specificity &Knowing What You Want
Mike: And Two, How to Apply This Tactic
Peter: ...All so you can master your target language and reach your goals.
Mike: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned about the importance of taking breaks…
Mike: …and how to make language progress while having fun. And Peter, last time you came from your vacation…
Peter: …yes, and I missed my last goal.
Mike: Yeah, but do you feel well-rested after your break? Did you hit your 10-minute goal for this month?
Peter: I like the way you phrased it. Chigusa is a little more tough on me. So, I feel very rested and yes, I reached my goal.
Mike: That’s great! So, 10 minutes of Hindi conversation now… and we have what, 3 months left?
Peter: Yes, just 3 months left. Time flies, Mike.
Mike: It does. And I know you wanted to ramp up your progress… and
maybe go above 15 minutes by the end of the year? Is that still possible?
Peter: I think that could still be done. In fact, I’m very confident that I can reach that goal.
Mike: Now, what about this time? Did you do anything different to hit your goal?
Peter: Well, let’s get into this Inner Circle.
Mike: Part one: The Power of Specificity &Knowing What You Want
Peter: So, the main theme is specificity and knowing what you want. But first, here’s a question for you, Mike…
Mike: OK.
Peter: Was there ever something you really wanted to buy when you were a kid…
Mike: Hmm…
Peter: Now, think back, you didn’t have the money for…something-something… and you needed to save up?
Mike: Hmm, yes, I could say it was a really hot video game one Christmas I really wanted to get.
Peter: And did you get it?
Mike: Well yes, I eventually did and I mowed a lot of lawns for that one.
Peter: Ah yes, I remember those ways. And I’m betting the main reason you were able to buy it… is because you knew exactly how much you needed to save up, am I right?
Mike: Yes, I think so. I always kept that number in my mind. I’ll never forget it. It was $60. A fortune for a young guy.
Peter: That was a lot of money back then. And it was a matter of time until you saved up for it.
Mike: Yeah.
Peter: So, this kind of specificity is a powerful way to reach almost any goal. And also why in every Inner Circle episode, we talk about setting small, measurable goals.
Mike: Right. These are specific goals.
Peter: Exactly. It’s much easier to reach a goal like… reach 5 or 10 minutes of conversation in your target language…
Mike:...than something like ”I want to be fluent.”
Peter: And that’s because you define the progress; you know exactly what you want. In your case, you needed to save up $60. With language, it could be 5 minutes of conversation, 10 minutes, Or maybe learn 100 words in a month.
Mike: So then, how were you able to reach your goal this past month? You were going for 10 minutes of Hindi conversation.
Peter: I was going for 10 minutes, up from 8 minutes. So I needed at least 2 more minutes.
Mike: Right.
Peter: So, I wanted to be able to talk about my vacation with my Hindi teacher. Remember, that’s the reason I missed the previous goal. While I was away, I was thinking about all the words I needed, then I also wanted to talk about the flights and the airport because there was some trouble. So, I sat down and made a list of the things that I found interesting and wanted to talk about in the target language.
Mike: I see. You’re being specific with what you wanted to learn.
Peter: Exactly. And from there, it’s just a matter of learning enough words for those topics… and being able to use them. So, I defined what progress would look like for me. Speak at least 2 more minutes of conversation. How? By being able to talk about those 2 specific topics. I did HindiPod101 lessons, I learned words around those topics, I practiced with my Premium PLUS teacher… and I was ready for that conversation.
Mike: Yeah, just thinking about it… being able to talk about your trip - it’s much easier to reach… than just “I want to speak more Hindi.”
Peter: Precisely. It all goes back to being specific and knowing what you want. Now this sounds simple… but it’s a bit of an advanced tactic - not so much for beginners.
Mike: If it’s simple, why isn’t it a beginner tactic?
Peter: Well, it’s a tactic you grow into with experience. But just imagine how people usually learn. For example, school.
Mike: Yeah, like going to a college class and taking notes.
Peter: That's a great example. 95% of people there, they come in, they listen, they take notes, they leave, and maybe they pass the class with an A, B, or C…
Mike: Yeah… and then they forget everything afterward anyway.
Peter: Gone. You’re studying for that test, And so learning, again, for most people, it’s kind of this passive approach…
Mike: Right…
Peter: And it’s not too different from learning a language. Most people will download an app, watch a YouTube video, buy a book… and kind of passively go through it.
Mike: But Peter, is that bad?
Peter: I would say it’s actually normal.
Mike: Oh.
Peter: That's how we all learn as beginners. We don't know enough about the language, so we have to take a backseat. Well, you could say that we all know that we should learn the alphabet first.
Mike: Yeah, but outside of that, it’s kind of hard to take charge of your own language learning… right?
Peter: This taking charge… is this key point and why we’re at the school. Most of the time, people… they go to the classes. They show up for their scheduled classes because someone made the schedule for them. They go, they study for their test to pass the test. Not to acquire that knowledge. So in some ways, the school system’s not really enabling you to study what you want and really let you drive - you’re in the driver's seat. And the teachers and the administrators are making the curriculum for what you learn. Now, if you can learn how to set the goals to align with what you want, that will change everything. You’ll learn how to look out for specific things you want to accomplish in this case, with the language. But this is a key element to really progressing. So, you kind of have to stop and think for yourself here: what do you want?
Mike: Hmm, which may be a bit much for beginners.
Peter: Exactly.
Mike: What about you, Peter? Do you know what you want out of the language?
Peter: Yes, in my case, it’s clear but it took some time because I’ve studied many languages. Topics-wise, I want to be able to talk about my family - that’s where my life centers around. I want to talk about what I do, what I like to do, I’m very interested in coffee — and this is nice - coffee is very universal. So, I know exactly what I want to talk about so I know exactly what words I need and often, some of my topics are very interesting for the teacher and so it facilitates a better conversation. So I always start from those whenever I learn a new language.
Mike: Yeah, I notice that you tend to start with those.
Peter: And that’s my specific approach. I also have a specific list of tactics…
Mike: Like what?
Peter: First, I always prepare a list of questions for my teacher ahead of time. Second, anytime I learn a word or a grammar pattern, I always try to ask what the opposite of that is.
Mike: That’s clever. You get to learn 2 things at the same time.
Peter: Exactly. Third: I always keep a list of grammar points or words I’m not confident about… just so that I can practice them whenever I can. Fourth: I always look for new topics to talk about and write them down. And as you may already know, Mike… I’ll also visit restaurants where the staff speaks the language…
Mike: Ah yes, so you’ve been going to Indian restaurants.
Peter: Yes and this language I've been looking forward to.. I‘ve been to so many Indian restaurants here in Tokyo and during my travels this year that I think the total number is now over 25, and this is a wonderful thing because Indian food is absolutely incredible.
Mike: So, on top of learning with HindiPod101… You also have a list of your own things you want to do, or learn.
Peter: Precisely.
Mike: This reminds me of people that learn to play an instrument… just to learn a specific song.
Peter: Or, programmers that learned to program just to build something they wanted.
Mike: Yeah.
Peter: And that’s a powerful way to learn… because you want to accomplish something specific. But again, this kind of approach is not something all beginners have… but it’s definitely something you can develop over time.
Mike: So what can our listeners take away from this?
Peter: Let's get into part 2.
Mike: Part 2: How to Apply This Tactic
Peter: Listeners, one of the best ways to make progress in your target language…
Mike: …Is to define what that progress is… and be super specific about it.
Peter: For example, learning 100 words in a month, speaking 2 minutes in your target language, or mastering a specific grammar point so you can use it freely in conversation.
Mike: And the reason for that is… because you have a specific goal or number, you know exactly what to look for… whether it's reaching 100 words or 2 minutes.
Peter: Which is why we recommend you set small, measurable goals every month.
Mike: And, you can just as easily apply it to your day-to-day learning as well…
Peter: For example, today, I want to practice this grammar point. Or, I want to spend 10 minutes writing out the alphabet.
Mike: But the tricky part about this is… you need to stop… think about what you want out of the language…
Peter: …and you always need to be on the lookout for new goals and things to do.
Mike: And that’s the part that separates beginners from more experienced learners.
Peter: Experienced learners tend to know what they want out of the language…or anything in life… their strengths, weaknesses, and which specific points they need to focus on. Also, what they ultimately want to do with the language they learn.
Mike: Whereas beginners don’t know enough to ask questions like this. And that’s okay. You’ll develop this skill over time.
Peter: And if you want to get started, here are a few things you can do.
Mike: One: Set small measurable monthly goals.
Peter: Just like I do every month. I started off with 1 minute of conversation by the end of January, 2 minutes by February, and so on.
Mike: Two: Ask questions and note down specific points you don’t quite get.
Peter: The fact is… with language, you’ll always come across words or grammar patterns that you don’t quite get. So, note them down and ask questions whenever possible.
Mike: This will help you come up with specific items you’d want to tackle or master within the language.
Peter: And you can always ask us in the comments section of the lessons...
Mike: Or your Premium PLUS teacher if you’re a Premium PLUS member.
Peter: Three: Similar to the second point, if you’re learning with an actual teacher, always prepare a question to ask…
Mike: …even if you can’t think of a good one.
Peter: This puts you in the habit of being proactive and looking for specific points you want to learn, clarify or practice.
Mike: Otherwise, it’s like coming to class, taking notes and leaving… and then forgetting it all later.
Peter: Four: Take time to think… what you’d like to accomplish specifically with the language.
Mike: For example, if you’re learning for travel… then you give yourself specific goals like… learn how to ask about prices…or to ask for directions…
Peter: It doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, the smaller and more specific it is, the better. For example, how to introduce yourself in your target language.
Mike: How to say that it’s sunny or rainy…
Peter: Or maybe you’ll realize that you don’t know how to talk about your family in your target language.
Mike: So, come up with a specific step - being able to say how many family members you have.
Peter: And this 4th point is something you’ll need to do often… stopping to think what you want to be able to do with the language… coming up with these specific goals for yourself… which is what separates the experienced learners from the beginners
Mike: Five: Look for lessons that cover the topics you want to talk about inside your lesson library.
Peter: For example, survival phrases lessons cover travel…
Mike: …top 25 questions lessons cover the most common questions for conversations
Peter: And the 400 Activities lessons teach you to talk about your every day.
Mike: Alright, Peter. Let’s talk goals. What’s your small, monthly, measurable goal for next month?
Peter: So, let's see. My last goal got to 10 minutes and we want to get to 15 minutes by the end of this year, so let’s go for 2 more minutes. We’ll keep the pace, so 12 minutes of conversation by the end of the month.
Mike: Deadline?
Peter: October 31st.
Mike: And listeners, let us know what your goals are for the month.
Peter: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Mike: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


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