The Language Combo Everyone Should Know | Prediction, Reaction, and Commitment

Jayson Frascatore
7 min readNov 19, 2022
Brett Sayles via Unsplash

Imagine you’re learning a language. Maybe that language is Mandarin Chinese. You just opened the Duolingo app on your phone and completed your 500 day streak. However, you’re still learning useless sentences such as “Zhang Ming does not eat fish” (张明不吃鱼)(Zhāng míng bù chī yú). Realistically, unless you know someone named Zhang Ming to begin with, you won’t be using this sentence at all. If you do, it’s once. While it still may help in some ways to build sentence structure familiarity, there has to be another specific focus. That focus is split up into three sections: Prediction, reaction, and commitment. It also doesn’t specifically pertain to just Mandarin Chinese. It’s the same for any language you’re learning. Spanish, French, Portuguese, Zulu, the list goes on and on. Whether you’re a beginner or have advanced knowledge, this combination of language learning will benefit everyone in the long run.

The Race to the Beginning
We have to understand the combinations of words that we’re likely to come across to start our thought process and sentence formation. A lot of the time, the first word of a sentence in our native language will act as an automatic trigger word that creates meaning. That idea is rapidly already formed in our brain before we can even say it. We can think of it as a set of dominos falling over or a starting pistol at the beginning of a track race at the Olympics. Once the first word is said, the rest of the thought process attached to the word forms a sentence that naturally flows out of your mouth. This is the same goal we have to achieve in our target language.

If you’re starting off with studying how to order food, don’t just sit down and look at characters or words that you’ll forget how to say in an hour. There needs to be frequency involved which contains not only spaced repetition but real life sentences. It’s important to form a real sentence, recognize the sentence structure, and predict the response. Walk through the situation in your native language first while including how one might react that you know the language. It’s not a given that everyone will be surprised by your language knowledge, but it’s something to certainly prepare for.

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Jayson Frascatore

I write about languages, politics, current events, and climate change | Curated 25x | Buy me coffee beans https://ko-fi.com/jaysonfras