How one junior doctor finds time for languages


Meet wonder learner, Ali Abdaal. Ali is a junior doctor who spends a lot of his time cramming for medical studies as well as pursuing hobbies such as music learning, vlogging and language learning.

Such an ambitious schedule requires an interest in the process of learning. Ali vlogs regularly about his study techniques and in this update he talks about why he chooses to learn Japanese with Rosetta Stone:

  1. Gamification
  2. Immerses you in the language
  3. Makes you speak from the start
  4. Learn better with spaced repetition

1. The gamification of language learning

The first reason he identifies is the game-like nature of the Rosetta Stone study system: “It feels like a game. There are rings that you have to fill and I found that I was really determined to get 100% and therefore I was doing the lessons again and again until I got it right.”

2. Immerses you in the language from early on

Ali also likes that Rosetta Stone makes you work out meanings and language structures for yourself: “Other language learning courses start off with the basic building blocks, telling you what a noun and a verb is etc, and then piecing them slowly together.”

“Rosetta Stone gives you some basic words and then quickly takes you to a sentence with those words in it. You just have to work out what it means for yourself. This way you start to build the rules of grammar in your own head without explicitly being told them.”

3. Makes you speak the language

“Rosetta Stone has a speech recognition tool that corrects you as you say the words out loud. It is really satisfying when you pronounce a word well; you get a bright cheerful sound, the circle goes green and you get that endorphin release.”

Why learn Japanese with Rosetta Stone

The no-translation approach works especially well when the language is so different. With Japanese you can learn the sounds of the language and what they mean, before you have to tackle the alphabet and directly translate meanings.

Try it for yourself

4. Spaced repetition

Ali has become a master at the memorisation technique called spaced repetition. Spaced repetition is the theory on which Rosetta Stone is built. It encourages your brain to work and actively learn, then prompts you to recall information to an intelligent (spaced) schedule. In this video, Ali gives a very eloquent description of how he uses this technique to improve his medical knowledge.

About the Author Rosetta Stone Team

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