The biggest secret to learning a new language, according to a CEO who speaks 7 | Business Insider

Soon, I realized why I was wrong about languages.

I used to look at learning a language as most of us are led to believe:

  1. Memorize many words and phrases
  2. Apply grammar to them to make sentences
  3. Practice with others to make your reactions automatic

Needless to say, it’s easy to get tired of this process and lose motivation. It took me quite a while to break free from this mindset.

I came to understand that the secret recipe for mastering a language is the following:

Master every bit of the culture and you can achieve native-like mastery of the language itself.

Mastering English has been an incredible gift in my life. I received a new mindset, a new set of emotions, and a new way of thinking. My personality has been subtly but powerfully impacted. I would say I even took on a secondary identity. Cultural semantics has played a very important role in this process. But what is cultural semantics?

To put it simply, cultural semantics is the study of the meaning of words and phrases and their connection to culture. Many words in a language are unique; they cannot be exactly translated into other languages. Every word has a whole range of connotations, images, and associations that you cannot map to another language.


  1. How far do you agree with these ideas?
  2. To what extent are they applicable to your own learning?
  3. What other tips do you have for language learning?