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Learning languages through stories

Learning languages through stories has proven to be one of the most effective, fun, and engaging ways to discover and conquer a new language. It allows students to experience a full immersion into a story and learn grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation through the story's context rather than dry, boring textbook explanations. As a result, students make impressive progress and don't even feel they are studying!


In your efforts to learn a new language, have you ever felt bored, frustrated, or overwhelmed? Have you dreaded looking at yet another grammar book? Did you think that the materials you were studying were far removed from the language you'd need in everyday life? If so, you are not alone - many language learners go through the same thing and waste a lot of time working with tools and resources that are not adapted to their needs, level, or study preferences.

That's where learning through stories can offer an excellent alternative to the traditional classroom methods. How does it work? Well, instead of looking at yet another rule or word list, you read fun and engaging stories in a language you study, adapted to your level. And then, you look at the words, sentence structures, connections between phrases, and colloquialisms in the context of that story. You'll be reading and listening to a comprehensive story, simultaneously developing what's called "natural grammar" - where you feel the proper way to say things in a language rather than sifting through your memory for a rule or a conjugation.

Using this learning method, most students notice impressive progress - usually much faster than when they follow a textbook or a traditional language class. Granted, your brain needs to work harder (after all, you'll work with a complete text where you may only understand 20% of the words and phrases at first), but this "sink or swim" method actually helps you engage all your senses to grasp what's happening in the story, and you learn organically - all while enjoying a good tale.

There are several well-designed courses that focus on learning through stories, but the most

comprehensive and well-structured of the ones I came across are the Uncovered courses from the polyglot Olly Richards. You can get them in nine languages - French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, and Mandarin Chinese (a new course in Latin is coming out in September 2022). Each course has a unique story split into several chapters that, as it unveils, teaches you listening comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and culture of the country (or countries) the language of which you are studying.

It may feel very intimidating for a beginner learner to be exposed in each chapter to a 5-minute story excerpt presented entirely in a foreign language, but the idea behind the courses is not to have you understand everything from the start but rather to highlight specific parts of the story and use them as an example for particular vocabulary and grammar rules. The courses encourage learners to listen to the story in each chapter several times, focusing on the flow of the language. Amazingly, the students grasp a lot more than one would expect. This method really is like the “sink or swim” strategy, as your brain has to work extra hard to grasp the lesson's content and figure out what’s going on. If you are a beginner, you will likely understand only about 10% of what’s happening in Chapter 1 of the course, but it’s meant to be this way. The instructors will pick sections of the story to illustrate a particular grammar concept, draw your attention to cognates and useful vocabulary, and help you practice the pronunciation of a particular sound. In the following chapter of the course, you’ll hear a bit more of the story and gradually start to understand more and more of it.

Each chapter zooms in on a particular grammar concept, such as forming the negation, using a specific verb tense, placing the adjectives before or after the noun, and so forth, and demonstrates its use in the story's text, thus transforming an abstract grammar rule into an illustrative example that you are much more likely to understand and remember. Even if you may not understand much of the text the first time you hear it, it’s pretty remarkable how many gaps in comprehension our brains can fill in by simply analyzing the sentence as a whole and how quickly we learn to grasp the meaning of what we are hearing or reading when we pay attention to the rest of the sentence.

The Uncovered courses may seem quite pricey (the regular price for a course is US$ 297), but they are worth every penny, as they do wonders to your ability to immerse into the language you are learning and make dramatically fast progress in it. And sometimes, there are great promotional offers on these courses, allowing you to get them at a fraction of the price and benefit from many additional bonus materials. Sign up for updates to make sure you hear about these deals when they come out!

This week, Olly Richards is launching the new Uncovered (Intermediate) courses in French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Japanese, and his team is offering a sweet deal for learners who buy the courses before 29 July 2022.

The offer: When you buy the Uncovered (Intermediate/Level 3) course in either Spanish, French, Italian, German or Japanese for $297, you can get the next level (Uncovered (Upper Intermediate/Level 4) for $100 off ($197 instead of $297).

You also get spectacular bonuses (worth over US$ 1,200):

  • Another Uncovered course in a language and level of your choice for FREE (excluding new Upper Intermediate courses)

  • 10-Week "Community & Coaching" Live Cohort, which will give you live teacher support and a community of learners to keep you motivated.

This LIVE Cohort (+ the other top secret bonuses) will only be available to founding members who enroll this week. Are you interested to see more? Check these offers out:

And if you are still a beginner and are not quite ready yet for the intermediate classes, check out the Uncovered beginner courses and get a 7-day free trial before you commit:

Enjoy your journey towards becoming fluent with these excellent courses!

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