Sentence Mining: The Simple Secret to Foreign Language Fluency

What makes it so hard to learn languages?

They have their own logic, but it takes trial and error to figure them out.

What if there was a shortcut?

Here’s a simple tip: Learn example sentences rather than memorizing words individually and out of context. 

In other words, sentence mine.


What is sentence mining?

Sentence mining is learning languages by collecting, saving, and reviewing sentences.

Look up the phrase “sentence mining” and you’ll find a community of hardcore sentence miners who get into passionate debates.

The more traditional approach is to memorize long lists of vocab words individually.

Why does sentence mining work?

Sentence mining works for several reasons.

First, it helps you create mental associations with what you already know. The sentences give you a “place” in your brain where you can attach the new vocabulary.

Second, it exposes you to the vocabulary in different contexts. This accelerates your learning in the same way that you would get to know a person faster if you see them in multiple social settings.

Third, vocabulary is nuanced, like people. Just like you don’t truly “know” someone by knowing their name, you don’t truly “know” a word just by knowing its definition.

Sentence mining lets you master a word more quickly.

How do I start sentence mining?

Here is an effective way to sentence mine:

  • Find a resource that can provide a steady supply of accurate sentences, like FluentU.

    FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

    You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Click here to check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

    FluentU Ad

  • Select simple sentences that demonstrate a word’s meaning.
  • Save those sentences in your notebook or flashcards.
  • Periodically review.


So however you choose to approach it, sentence mining can take you to the next level of your language learning journey very quickly.

Good luck and happy mining!

And One More Thing...

If you dig the idea of learning on your own time from the comfort of your smart device with real-life authentic language content, you'll love using FluentU.

With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:

FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.

Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.

You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.

And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.

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