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Learning how to Learn

March 26, 2010

We must LEARN how to LEARN a language if we are ever to have any success with Navajo.

If you type LEARNING ANOTHER/SECOND LANGUAGE into any internet search engine you will find a number of different sites that provide hints, tips and tricks for learning another language. I liked poking around, a site for people who want to learn practically any language. Other random sites were also useful. If you have learned a second language before you might want to take the same route of learning you used beforehand, however it would be helpful to do the research before proceeding. Some Polyglots (individuals who speak many languages) mentioned that they learned their first few languages the hard way and found an easier way for their remaining languages.

Going through these tips will help you develop your own method of study and help you to use your individual strengths in learning. For example, I like to listen with some visual help in subtitle form. I piece things together better this way.

There is great emphasis on vocabulary. I have a brother that speaks Tagalog, and I asked him one day what advice he could give me for learning Tagalog. “Vocab, vocab, vocab” was his answer. And I couldn’t agree more.

I really enjoyed finding this site (  and one of the cited suggestions to learning a foreign language was to learn the 100 Most Common Words used in any language. They say that 100 words apparently make up about 50% of conversations, back on it stated,

“The 1000 most common words in italian make 85% of normal speech. If you think you know them (a good book will teach you these words first), then you are in intermediate learning…”

That’s a lot of words. But look at the list of words. We do use them very often and don’t realize it.

I have listed them here. They are taken from This will be an ongoing effort for me to learn these words in the beginning. I will cross out what I think I have mastered and will try to review them often and find them in context while listening to Navajo conversations.

1. A/an
2. After
3. Again
4. All
5. Almost
6. Also
7. Always
8. And
9. Because
10. Before
11. Big
12. But
13. (I) can
14. (I) come
15. Either/or
16. (I) find
17. First
18. For
19. Friend
20. From
21. (I) go
22. Good
23. Good-bye
24. Happy
25. (I) have
26. He
27. Hello
28. Here
29. How
30. I
31. (I) am
32. If
33. In
34. (I) know
35. Last
36. (I) like
37. Little
38. (I) love
39. (I) make
40. Many
41. One
42. More
43. Most
44. Much
45. My
46. New
47. No
48. Not
49. Now
50. Of
51. Often
52. On
53. One
54. Only
55. Or
56. Other
57. Our
58. Out
59. Over
60. People
61. Place
62. Please
63. Same
64. (I) see
65. She
66. So
67. Some
68. Sometimes
69. Still
70. Such
71. (I) tell
72. Thank you
73. That
74. The
75. Their
76. Them
77. Then
78. There is
79. They
80. Thing
81. (I) think
82. This
83. Time
84. To
85. Under
86. Up
87. Us
88. (I) use
89. Very
90. We
91. What
92. When
93. Where
94. Which
95. Who
96. Why
97. With
98. Yes
99. You
100. Your

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