So, now that you’ve worked diligently (?) to determine the basic vocabulary that you need, and you see how much is missing from almost all the foreign language courses, you may wonder why that is so. After all, you learned your mother tongue fairly well by the time you were five years old. And who was your teacher? Most of your instruction was probably from your mother and then your father. Some of it may have come from an older sibling. But they aren’t professional teachers. Why do almost all of us get good basic language skills by the age of five and yet we fail at learning a second language later on?
As an infant, when you woke up, everything your caretaker said to you was in logical sequence. She/he talked about getting up, going potty, getting dressed, coming to eat breakfast and so on for the rest of the day. That is why what this writer has been asking you to do is exactly to follow that pattern, that routine. That’s the logical thing to do. What do you need to be able to understand, to express, to ask, step by step throughout the day? That’s what you did when you learned your mother tongue.
Unless you have someone constantly handy who is fluent or somewhat fluent in the foreign language that you are studying while you’re going through this process, your only recourse is a dictionary. Approach all this learning in a systematic and organized way and you will have some degree of success.
Always be asking yourself: what words to I need to know to be involved with this or that activity? Once you get in the habit of constantly consulting a dictionary to check a word you will be getting a lot of language learning done. Always ask yourself which definition of the word do you mean? If you look up the word, ‘run’, for example, you will find over sixty definitions. Often each different definition requires a different word in the foreign language that you are studying. Clarify your thinking. The verb ‘feel’ can be used transitively or intransitively. ‘I feel ill’ doesn’t take an object so it is used intransitively. ‘
‘I felt the texture of the shirt’ the verb ‘feel’ takes and object, and so on. A different language could use two different words to express those thoughts!