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What's more harmful: early output or letting your reading ability get too far ahead of your listening ability?

January 23, 2023 — Tatsumoto

Both are undoubtedly dangerous, but why are you worrying about this? If you're aware that reading dominates your immersion, cut it out and listen more. Immerse the right way, and everything will be fine.

People who start outputting early end up speaking with grammar mistakes and a foreign accent. Bad grammar comes from trying to form sentences without having acquired an intuitive knowledge of sentence structures. Bad pronunciation comes from trying to pronounce new and unfamiliar sounds without having heard them enough times.

Most grammar and phonetics can only be acquired through immersion. Practice speaking incorrectly, and you'll develop muscle memory that will stand in your way of mastering a foreign language.

People who delayed outputting until after they have learned their target language, but didn't listen enough and learned mainly through reading, end up having decent grammar but still have a foreign accent. Here bad pronunciation comes from the phenomenon known as subvocalization. The act of reading activates muscles in the throat. Hence, in this scenario the learner also develops bad speaking habits.

This makes early output more harmful.

Tags: faq