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Speaking with mistakes quickly is better than speaking “perfectly” slowly


Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. ?

Rather than write a long post about a topic that I have covered in various forms before, I'll make this short.

Above you will see a video showing me talking Hungarian with Bálint Kőrösi, who translated the Language Hacking Guide to Hungarian for me. My level in the language is the result of my two months living in Budapest (and what I'd estimate as what would have been 5 or so hours of studying before arrival – so this mission was a two-month one, rather than a three-month one).

The result of my short time here? I can have conversations in Hungarian as I had initially aimed for, I speak only Hungarian with most of my friends here and have gotten to know many people and an interesting side of the city entirely through the language.

Mission complete.

I'll write in more details about my full Budapest experience in the Thursday post.

However, you will notice that I'm not speaking fluently, and anyone who speaks Hungarian would be quick to point out a few mistakes I made as I spoke. I also hesitated a lot and used quite basic vocabulary. I don't expect or even want to impress anyone with my current level of Hungarian. Impressing people is not what I'm doing this for. Reaching perfection quickly will never be my goal. Efficient communication however, is always what I aim for.

My current level is not an ideal situation to be in permanently, but it is a good place to be after a few weeks. The only way to reach this stage quickly is to speak often and make lots of mistakes. If you avoid making mistakes and wait until you're ready you will never be able to have a conversation in the target language in a short time. I'm still making mistakes, and that's OK. I'll continue to work on my Hungarian and it will improve.

“Practice makes perfect” – waiting until you're perfect produces nothing. Speak now or forever hold your peace.


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Benny Lewis

Founder, Fluent in 3 Months

Fun-loving Irish guy, full-time globe trotter and international bestselling author. Benny believes the best approach to language learning is to speak from day one.

Speaks: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Esperanto, Mandarin Chinese, American Sign Language, Dutch, Irish

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