How Much To Learn Before Practicing A Language?

I find two things to be most effective: getting introduced to the language and then practicing it. Some people could say it’s just practice all the way but I think that knowing some things before you dive into speaking can save you a lot of time. Here are some of those things I think you should learn beforehand:

  1. Main things in grammar, such as tenses and cases. I am not saying you should learn all the case endings or tense endings or know exactly when each of those tenses are used but you should have an idea about how many cases and tenses there are and when each is used. It really helps to know beforehand.
  2. Most used pronouns and question words. Pronouns are words like I, you, he, she, it, we, they, us, them, us and so on. Question words I call words like what, where, when, how, why. I think you most definitely need to know those to begin speaking.
  3. Vocabulary for everyday words. There are lists like the most commonly used words one and I think you should learn some of these. I’d say you’d need to know words such as time, money, day, weather, toilet. and then verbs like speak, understand, know, say, eat, want, have, hear, can, be, go. These words you are going to be using a lot and it makes sense to learn them.
  4. A couple of preset phrases. I think “I don’t understand” is one, then “I do not know” is very useful and  “How do you say something in some language?”. Also “Where are you from?” and “What do you do?” helps you interact with people.

I think that’s the minimum. Now, I am not a professional linguist nor am I pretending to be one and I haven’t done research of this. However, I have been trying to learn Portuguese just by practicing it and I found out the hard way that it is very useful to know these things before anything. I probably forgot some things, though. 

What do you think about this? Do you have other suggestions from your experience? If so, tell me.

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