Learning languages very quickly — with the help of some very basic Data Science
Tomi Mester

I guess I learned Swedish the old-fashioned way: memorization, studying grammar books and talking to the people. That was over 50 years ago. Today, I am translating a book from Swedish to English. And I can read every word on that IKEA sign. I live in the states. I haven’t been back to Sweden, but I have kept up with the language via the Internet.

I have a method that works similar to yours, but doesn’t involve any more technology than a paper and pad. (And I am a tech guy.) When you are out and about town (You have to be in the country where the language is spoken.) I write down every word a see or hear that I don’t understand. This is easy because the country is geared to walking and public transportation.

This is a way to find the most common words, based on natural selection. But, you are right; if you learn the most common words, it will take you far. I got my list from real life. Kids and newspapers are a great source. Language and grammar books have already made this selection for you. A first year high school language course has already come up with the 1000–1200 most common words and will teach them to you.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.