IWTYAL 108: Coping with unknown words when speaking

Andy asks: “I’m trying to ignore difficult words when I’m speaking Korean…but it’s hard. Any tips?”

In this episode:

  • Dealing with unknown vocabulary is a vital skill
  • You can have a full conversation without understanding everything
  • Different languages present different challenges
  • Try always waiting till the end of the sentence before panicking about difficult words
  • Devote pure “speaking time” to every session, where you’re not allowed to speak English or ask for a translation

Start speaking today

I’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. iTalki is the best place online to connect with affordable and effective native speakers teachers and tutors.

To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, simply visit:http://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/italkishownotes

Do you have a question?

Ask me your language learning questions by clicking here, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the show!

Also, please subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.


Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the podcast!

If you’ve got any comments about the show then please leave them in the “comments” section below!

If you’d like to help me out, then I’d love it if you could…

  • Share the episode using the social media buttons around you
  • Leave an honest review and rating of the podcast on iTunes (click here to do that)

iTunes reviews in particular really help the rankings of the podcast and help me to reach other aspiring language learners out there!

See you in the next episode of the I Will Teach You A Language podcast!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This article was written by Olly Richards.

Got a question? I'll answer it on the podcast! Just click here!

Also connect with Olly on Facebook, Twitter and Google+
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Olly's Top Resources For Learning:
  • andyjeffries

    Thanks for taking the time answer this Olly. The tips aside (which should be really useful), even just the confirmation that this is normal and I’m not just an idiot is helpful. I’ll work on these things in my next few lessons (and between with the vocabulary increase). I appreciate your tips.

    • You’re welcome Andy – thanks for a cool question!

  • dcv

    Great topic, Olly. I’m also learning Korean and have of course run into this as well. And I definitely have had those moments where I knew exactly what they said and for whatever reason doubted myself and asked them to translate anyway. BTW, you are correct in terms of the word order.

    I actually found meditation was very helpful for much of this. I know people might instantly think hippies and robes and crystals and all that, but it’s really just very useful mind training to focus and when you get distracted by something like not knowing a word, to regain that focus without starting the inner dialogue of “Oh, I don’t know that word. I’m a terrible language learner” and next thing you know, you’ve missed the rest of the sentence (if not the next several). It’s something I just do for 10-15 minutes a day and even though my mind is still all over the place, I definitely notice a big improvement over where I started from. It also has lots of other great benefits. If anyone is interested in learning about it but wants more of a mainstream approach, I’d recommend Dan Harris’ (ABC news anchor) book 10% Happier.

  • dandiprat

    This is a very good topic. It’s one of the main things that holds me back.