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Is it best to make the monolingual transition as soon as possible?

April 03, 2024 — Tatsumoto Ren


There's a sweet spot for making the monolingual transition, and doing it either too early or too late can reduce your efficiency. In theory, you could attempt to go monolingual very early in your learning journey. You might learn just the most common 50 words, the bare minimum of grammar, and dive into using only the target language for definitions. It would be very challenging, but it's not impossible. I've seen people who went monolingual much sooner than I advise. It was tough for them. Although they struggled and were often lost, barely understanding anything for a long time, they eventually found their way.

So yes, an early transition is possible. However, going monolingual too soon is not the most effective approach. The difficulty is so high that you might end up spending an excessive amount of time doing recursive lookups and deciphering complex explanations in the monolingual dictionary, which is not the best use of your time.

If the process is too difficult, you'll likely spend more time lost in the dictionary than actually learning. A more balanced approach is to expand your vocabulary with the help of bilingual dictionaries first. Then, transition to monolingual dictionaries when you're more prepared. This strategy allows for a smoother shift and sets you up for success.

Tags: faq