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: How to Speak More with Your Personal Language Learning Profile
Chigusa: You’ll Learn...
Peter: One: What is a Language Learning Profile
Chigusa: And Two: How to Create Your Language Learning Profile
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 boost your motivation...
Chigusa: ...and your chance of success...
Peter: ...by involving other people in your language learning journey.
Chigusa: And you set some goals for this month, Peter.
Peter: Ah, yes, as promised... It was 7 minutes of conversation.
Chigusa: How did that go?
Peter: Actually, quite well. Having a lot of success this year with the Russian language. It’s a combination of… my motivation is high, and a good tutor, and a good strategy this year.
Chigusa: Ah, you hit your goal. 7 minutes is quite a lot. Are you sure it was all in Russian?
Peter: I think we have to remember, when we imagine someone else speaking, we speak of the UN with simultaneous interpretation speaking about contracts of peace negotiations. Yeah, actually, again very basic sentences, some conjunctions. “I like this but I don’t quite like that.” So again, it’s all context. But most importantly, I did do something that boosted my speaking time.
Chigusa: Oh, you did something new. What was it?
Peter: Well, here’s a question back at you, Chigusa. What’s the one topic that you can talk about all day long?
Chigusa: Hmm, something you like, something about yourself.
Peter: Tell us something about you. Like what can you talk about all day long?
Chigusa: I can talk about my life.
Peter: Yeah, I think that’s it. Most of us can talk about ourselves, and in your case, yourself. Think about it. Every time, you meet someone new, they’ll ask you questions about where you’re from, what you do, what your hobbies are... so this is one area where you can make easy progress, and speak more of the language. Especially in a controlled environment where it’s just two people: you and another person.
Chigusa: Right exactly, we all want to talk about ourselves and share our interests and our passions with others.
Peter: ....and it’s fun. It’s relevant to who you are.
Chigusa: So, how did you do that exactly? Did you come up with lines that you wanted to use in your conversations with your teacher?
Peter: Well, for quite some time, I’ve been working on something called a language learning profile.
Chigusa: What is a language learning profile?
Peter: Let’s jump into the first part of this Inner Circle.
Chigusa: Part 1 - What is a Language Learning Profile
Peter: So, a language learning profile is your personal information. Your name. Age. Your birthday. Where you’re from. Your job. Your interests. Your family. Favorite food.
Chigusa: Okay.
Peter: Based on your personal information, you learn the phrases and vocabulary you need so you can talk about yourself in that language.
Chigusa: So, if you write down that your name is Peter, you’re from New York, you live in Tokyo...
Peter: Then, my next job is to learn to say “My name is Peter. I’m from New York. I live in Tokyo” and so on.
Chigusa: And what’s the goal here?
Peter: The goal is, you get relevant phrases and vocabulary needed to talk about yourself because, face it... you need to talk about yourself. You’re the one topic that you know best.
Chigusa: Actually I think talking about yourself is a good way to improve your language skills. It’s fun to learn how to say your name in another language.
Peter: Exactly. Self-interest IS a strong motivator.
Chigusa: Yes, we all want to talk about ourselves. And when we meet new people, we introduce ourselves and talk about ourselves.
Peter: But the problem is, most people, when they start learning a language, they learn the basics first...
Chigusa: Ah, and they get around much later to actually talking about themselves.
Peter: Exactly. With textbooks — and it’s not their fault — they’re trying to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. However, in this day and age, you kind of need a personal approach. And that’s what a language learning profile is... you get to learn how to talk about yourself sooner than later. The information you need about yourself, you learn on day 1 rather than learning about it on page 77 in a textbook after 3 months of studying. Instead of random vocabulary that the publishers chose, you get to talk about yourself and your interests right away.
Chigusa: I see. Okay so, if you have a profile...
Peter: ..then speaking more of your target language gets easier. You introduce yourself, say where you’re from...
Chigusa: You can ask your partner where they’re from.
Peter: You can then talk about your interests, and ask them about theirs. And before you know it, you’re several minutes into a conversation... in your target language.
Chigusa: So Peter, to recap... a language learning profile is just a collection of words and phrases that are relevant to you, right? Your name, where you’re from, your age, your interests, your work, your family. You’d learn to say all of that in your target language.
Peter: You got it. It sounds simple but it’s actually very very interesting and takes a little effort to complete.
Chigusa: Then, how did you come up with your language profile? Is this something anyone can find on the site?
Peter: That’s a great question, Chigusa. The thing is, no two language profiles will ever be alike. If both of us are learning the same language, your profile and my profile would be completely different because we’re 2 different people.
Chigusa: That’s true.
Peter: So, it’s hard to provide this. But, we will talk about how to build your own profile in the 2nd part. What I did was... first, start by creating a profile in my own language. So, I wrote down all of the things that I talk about on a daily basis. In fact, many years ago, I actually made a recording of myself speaking for the day. Chigusa, what do you think are the highest frequency verbs you come across?
Chigusa: That’s a good question. Is it a verb?
Peter: It’s actually names. My wife’s name. My kids’ names. I actually found myself calling them many times during the day. So these are the first words I take on any time I learn a new language because I'm often talking about my family more than myself because I guess they’re an extension of me. So I actually started a profile in English and then I translated that profile. I always translate into any given language that I study.
Chigusa: Alright, now how can our listeners do this?
Peter: Let’s jump into part 2.
Chigusa: Part 2: How to Create Your Language Learning Profile
Peter: Listeners, remember, your language learning profile is a set of words and phrases that are unique to you as a person.
Chigusa: So, words and phrases related to your age, gender, geography, and interests.
Peter: Age-wise, 20-year-olds want to talk about different things than 40 years olds...
Chigusa: So, think about the topics that you already talk about in your native language, in your everyday life.
Peter: Geography-wise, you’d want to talk about where you’re from, where you’re living. Then, there are your interests.
Chigusa: If you’re passionate about sports, you’ll want to learn the must-know vocabulary and phrases.
Peter: if your hobby is learning languages, you’ll want to be able to talk about...
Chigusa: ...parts of speech s in your target language.
Peter: The first thing you can do is write down a list of things in your native language: your name...
Chigusa: ... your work, your school, where you grew up, your interests...
Peter: Once you’ve written out this list...
Chigusa: Start learning words and phrases related to these topics.
Peter: You can do this with our audio and video lessons or our vocabulary lists.
Chigusa: For example, if you’re interested in baseball... there are vocab lists on this topic.
Peter: If you want to talk about where you’re from, there are lessons that teach you how to introduce yourself...
Chigusa: ...and how to talk about your nationality.
Peter: If you’re a Premium PLUS member...
Chigusa: ... ask your teacher to help you translate some of these phrases into your target language.
Peter: The second way... use the language-profile phrases worksheet inside the PDF of this Inner Circle
Chigusa: This will give you some common lines like “my name is...” “I am from...” “my hobbies are....”
Peter: ..and your job is to write complete lines with your own details in your target language, for example, for “my name is,...” if I’m learning Japanese, I’d write, “my name is Peter” in Japanese.
Chigusa: So your job is to find out how to write and say those lines in your target language...
Peter: ...and include your own specific details, like your age, hobbies, and such. Again, if you’re a Premium PLUS user, you can get your teacher to double-check your lines for you.
Chigusa: This requires work on your end but doing this will help you remember the phrases better.
Peter: A third way is... as you’re going through your lessons...
Chigusa: When you come across lines that are relevant to you, save them to the word bank or send them to a flashcard deck...
Peter: ...so that you can review them and drill them. But the whole point is, you’ll learn words and phrases that are relevant to you, you’ll be able to talk about yourself in your target language...
Chigusa: ...and you’ll speak more of your target language.
Peter: So Chigusa, each year I pick a language to study. And each year, I start with a language profile. Now, something very interesting happens. I’ve been on this journey for several years now, we go back doing this many years. I recently compared my language profile from this year to my original language profile. How do you think they look next to each other?
Chigusa: Did they look similar?
Peter: Well, my name stayed the same. That was about it. The city where I live is the same but the address changed. My interests are completely different. This year, my interests are coffee and art. When I first started, my interests were video games and textbooks. So, what’s interesting is - and again I'm always starting in my native language — my language profile changed. So think about it Chigusa, what are you into this year?
Chigusa: This year, I’m into taichi.
Peter: When did you start?
Chigusa: Last year.
Peter: So you can see how the language profile is constantly evolving. You would need a list on how to speak about taichi in…. If you were studying French, French. You’d need a term for the movements. And this would be of high interest to you. You’re not going to find it in a textbook. You’re going to need to put together this list yourself.
Chigusa: Right, because 10 years ago, I was into hip hop dancing so…
Peter: Yeah! So different. And a better perspective, 10 years ago, I didn’t have my 3rd child so I didn’t even have his name on my high-frequency list. But now he’s there. So the one thing that’s constantly changing is your language profile and it’s interesting to see what you’re into now and what comes up in your daily word usage in your native language. So this is the place to start and always start - I’ll give you a better example, depending on how much you study, it can change even faster. Do you watch Netflix, Chigusa?
Chigusa: Yes, I watch a lot of Netflix.
Peter: For example?
Chigusa: Recently, I’m watching the Assassination of Johnny Versace. Have you watched that?
Peter: No. So what genre is it?
Chigusa: it’s a true story, criminal, suspense.
Peter: So in this case, you can make a bit of vocabulary about the story. You need Johnny Versace in Japanese or in the target language. And from this, you can create a conversation with your tutor and especially with your tutor, teacher, or friend. And especially, if they start to watch it too, then you can share vocabulary and learn how to speak about something.
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: Recently, I’m watching One Piece. Do you know how many there are?
Chigusa: Like a thousand?
Peter: It’s like a thousand. It’s like one of the biggest investments of my life besides a college degree. You learn the characters, the dubbing runs out after 150 or something, so we’re watching in Japanese now and it’s actually making my Japanese much worse because I have this urge to speak like them.
Chigusa: So you read subtitles? You listen to Japanese and read subtitles?
Peter: Yes, because the kids are watching so they’re reading the subtitles but I’m listening and it’s not helping my intellectual Japanese. But there’s this whole universe of vocabulary that I’ve never touched before, all the names, if you think of - when I think automatically, the first thing that comes to mind is the main character, his name, which is not a native Japanese word but it’s now a high-frequency word when I’m speaking to friends about what I’ve been doing recently, right? So these are the tricks to map out what you’re doing and when you get past the basic get-to-know-you questions into deeper cultural things, I’m saying that one piece is deep culture, deep Japanese culture.
Chigusa: It is though.
Peter: But when you start to talk about this, the conversation lasts longer. Most people are finding common ground. You seen One Piece, right? So then we can start to talk about favorite episodes. And again, it’s not perfect in the language, but the natural language in that, that interesting common ground is found and the conversation can go on longer. And that’s the goal behind this language profile
Chigusa: I see. Alright, Peter, let’s go back to goals. What's your goal for next month?
Peter: To get to episode 300 of One Piece. For Russian, it’s been a little intense lately, so I think going to give myself a break and try to maintain 7 minutes. And again, sometimes we often pick these numbers and I will try to keep the same amount of time and I will try to get a little bit of more quality into the conversation. My Russian teacher mentioned a series she likes. I will do my best to listen to this series and try and see if I can understand it, with the subtitles. That way, when we speak, maybe I can find a topic that will get her speaking and I can focus on listening but the conversation should be at a deeper level. So keep the same but I’ll aim for a deeper level.
Chigusa: Deadline?
Peter: Deadline is May 31st.
Chigusa: Okay. Listeners, how about you?
Peter: What’s your small, measurable monthly goal? And what’s the deadline?
Chigusa: Let us know.
Peter: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Chigusa: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


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