Stages of Acquiring Information
Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Have you ever been in a situation when someone corrects your mistake and you hit your head realizing that you actually knew it? Have you ever failed to find the word you knew was in your mental vocabulary? Have you ever complained about how you understand the language but cannot speak it? I am here to help you understand this process so you do not feel discouraged.
Whenever we learn something new we go through four stages. To make it more practical, let us use the example of the third person singular (He likes ghapama).
Stage 0. Nihilation
We know nothing and, hopefully, know that we don't know. We have no concept that after he/she/it, we should add an "s" to a verb.
Stage 1. Knowledge
At this stage, our teacher/google/self-study app/ tells us that an "s" is used after he/she/it. We now have the concept but we still fail to use it. We keep making mistakes and our teacher keeps reminding us how thing are done around here.
Stage 2. Usage
Now that we have the concept we start using it. Unfortunately, we are not consistent. We might use it right one moment and forget about it the other. We are juggling with several tasks: we have to think what we are trying to say, find the right the words and use the correct structure. Inevitably, one of the balls drops.
Stage 3. Automation
This is where we want to be eventually. When you reach automation, you are able to use the structure without hesitation. You have done it so many times that your brain does it on autopilot.
You will probably ask: "Well, how do I jump to Stage 3?". And here is when I have to shower you with maxims:
"There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs."
"Practice makes perfect."
The only way to get for Stage 1 to Stage 3 is practice. The more you do it, the faster you progress.
Passive vs Active Vocabulary
The same applies to our vocabulary. If we listen and read more than we speak and write, our vocabulary is passive. We understand the words when we see or hear them but we are unable to use them. Once you start practicing, your brain gradually moves the vocabulary from the passive storage to the active one.