How I study foreign languages through passive listening, with Easy Languages


Hello everyone, welcome back to the channel, and I’m Israel. And surprise, surprise: this is actually my first video that is mainly in English.

So, today we’re going to have a slightly different kind of video, because I want to do a sort of live demonstration of my own language studying method.

Recently I saw that Easy Polish made a new video about winter in Poland. I love winters, and I love Poland, so I’m really excited to watch this video.

If you don’t know Easy Languages, they are a group of very amazing channels that make videos for people to practise listening to everyday language.

They used to do a lot of street interviews, but of course, because of the pandemic, they can’t do that now, so currently they just mostly film themselves talking about various topics about different areas of vocabulary, and most importantly, they always have bilingual subtitles in the target language and in English.

I absolutely love these channels and I recommend you check them out. They have a large variety of languages.

Throughout this video, you’re going to see how I watch their videos, what I naturally do when I watch them, in order to teach myself efficiently.

It’s not premeditated, it’s actually what I do whenever I watch any videos with subtitles, such as Netflix, which is something I mentioned in the latest episode of the podcast.

So without further ado, let’s hit play! (Below is what’s in my mind as I watch the video.)

  • obudziłyśmy (we woke up) – female plural first person.
  • napadać (fall on) – snow falls on top of ground. Also, falling over the course of the night
  • bohaterem (protagonist) – use the word ending to introduce the subject of the sentence after its role
  • śnieżną zimę (snowy winter) – forming an adjective from ‘snow’; ą goes with ę. What if we wanted to make it plural?
  • zastaje (find) – never heard of this. Does it literally mean find, or something more nuanced? I’ll read the dictionary later
  • zdrapywać (to scrape) – it sounds kind of like the sound of scraping. And the tool is named after the verb
  • miotełka (brush) and omiatanie (sweeping) – I wonder if they are related?
  • odśnieżyłyśmy (we de-snowed) – aha, they made a verb from ‘snow’!
  • ze śniegiem (cope with snow) – ah, so śn is one of those clusters where you need an extra vowel
  • drogowców (roadworkers) – so is it literally just road-man?
  • pługi śnieżne (slow ploughs) – so śnieżny isn’t just snowy but also snow-related. -i goes with -e.
  • sypać (scatter) – I’ve seen this word before!
  • latem (in summer) – use the ending to express the meaning of ‘in’. What about winter?
  • ślizgają się (they slide) – I know this word but it’s tricky to pronounce. What if it’s ‘I slide’ instead?
  • radzą sobie z tym (they cope with it) – tricky grammar. I might as well learn the thing as a phrase.
  • odtąd, dotąd (from there, to there) – thanks for the convenient pair of opposites!
  • z dużą ilością opadów (with heavy snowfall) – so that’s how you say snowfall, the ‘snow’ part is implied
  • zsuwać (shift downwards) – the pesky directional prefixes again; this one isn’t even audible! What about the other form of the verb?
  • śnieżka (snowball) – something related to snow that you can throw…does that mean snowball?
  • ustawiać (put in place) – the u- prefix is a tricky one. How does that relate to setting up bird houses? Maybe like put down or fix in place?
  • pod spodem (underneath) – hold on. Doesn’t spod already mean something like under? Why is this under the under?
  • obsypany śniegiem (covered with snow) – sypać is scatter. Since she’s talking about a park, maybe ob- means like covering a large area?
  • takiego bałwana (such a snowman) – so a snowman is grammatically a living being. Maybe it’s because it’s imitating one? I didn’t see that coming!
  • na dole (below) – this expression is more familiar to me. But she used a different one earlier. What was it? I should remember both together.

So, there you have it—a mostly live, but also a bit abridged version of just me watching and learning from an educational video like Easy Polish.

I really love this channel, which I already mentioned, because of the wide variety of vocabulary that it offers at different levels.

So you might have noticed that there are words that I already know, but maybe passive, which means I know what they mean, but I don’t know how to use them in context.

So I would try to learn them in tandem with the sentence or the collocations (other words that they go with).

Some words I know the meaning of, but I can’t ‘feel’ them. So I don’t feel a connection with the meaning of the word. For example, the myriad of directional verbs in Polish: so there’s lots of motion verbs that can be used with different prefixes to produce different directions.

So what you might notice is that I try to use my hands, use the space in front of me to help me visualise the motion, such that I can feel the word in my head and using my body.

There are completely new words that I would look up on the spot or maybe after watching the video.

But there are words that I know very well, like optimystyczny, but I can’t pronounce very well, because of the different sound system in Polish compared to English.

So I will practise them again and again to make it work better with my mouth. It’s a training of my muscle memory, in a sense.

And there are certain other words that I might try to find synonyms for, whether within the video, or elsewhere.

This helps me create more associations between the different Polish words that already exist in my head, so that whenever I come across one word, or whenever my brain tries to come up with one word, I automatically come up with all the other words that are related in meaning, in usage, etc.

Obviously, this video is just an example of my more casual way of studying with a video, where I just go through it and try to make the most out of it, and enjoy myself, which I absolutely did.

In certain other cases, I might take it more seriously and use notes, flashcards, and so on, just to make sure I retain what I learn from that video, and become able to use the words.

So, different modes of studying, depending on how I feel like it.

So I hope you all got something out of this video! I certainly did, from that video.

Tell me in the comment section, whether you like to study with audio, video, books, or other kinds of media; and how you do it, because I know that everyone has a different brain, obviously, and different ways of learning, retaining, perceiving words and language bits.

So tell me how you do it, and why you think it’s the best way, specifically for you!