The Most Useless Language Learning Method I’ve Ever Tried, And Why It Fails

Jayson Frascatore
5 min readDec 31, 2021
A photo of my Spanish notes from December 24th, 2020

If you’re anything like me or the millions of other people in this world trying to learn a language, you’re most likely looking for the most effective, quickest, and easiest way to become fluent. For over a year, it has been my goal to find the best ways to learn languages. These methods range from spaced repetition, flashcards, and taking notes in a notebook. While it’s not an easy process, it takes some trial and error over long periods of time to find what works and what doesn't. Learning the basic material is where everyone seems to start off, but don’t get steered in the wrong direction and make the biggest mistake of your language journey. It’s situations like these that may make or break your motivation for good. Everyone’s journey is different. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after plenty of mistakes, it’s sentence structure, grammar, and immersion that matter most.

The Biggest Mistake Ever
On Christmas Eve of 2020, my language learning process was still very much in the early stages of finding more and more material in Spanish. I scoured the internet for as much information as possible. YouTube videos turned into added bursts of motivation. There was this sense of urgency of wanting to become a human sponge to absorb the language as much as possible. I came across a method that I thought would be a game-changing shortcut. I was wrong. The method came from a video I had seen by YouTuber Nathaniel Drew. The video is titled “I Learned Italian in 7 Days — Part 1” and has over 3 million views. In the video, which is, unfortunately, clickbait, he talks about learning Italian by writing down the top 1,000 most used words on a day-to-day basis.

Not only did this video catch my attention because of his cinematography skills, but it also ended up inspiring me to open up the notebook I had been using to take Spanish notes, look up a list of 1,000 most common words in Spanish, and I began writing them down along with the translation while listening to Spanish Christmas Music on a radio…

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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