Whether you’re learning in school, with a tutor, or teaching yourself, learning a new language can seem like a daunting task. Language learning is not commonly a quick process. It can take some people years to even become conversational in a new language. It usually depends on how many hours per week you have available for learning and how much effort you’re willing to put in.
These five tips are the most effective ways to quickly learn any language, streamline the process, and get more results from the hours you put in.
1- Practice Daily
Repetition is key. Even if you only have 30 minutes in a day to spare, use it to practice language learning. If you have a teacher or a tutor, it’s still important to keep practicing on the days you don’t see them.
Consistently refreshing your memory with things you’ve learned is the best way to retain the information. That’s why flashcards are so popular. The more times your brain is presented something, the better it absorbs it.
With mobile apps such as Duolingo and Memrise, it’s never been easier to learn daily. Even on a busy day, they allow you to practice when away from home.
2- Record Yourself Speaking And Listen Back
Getting pronunciation perfect is one of the hardest parts of learning a language for many people. Even with good reading and writing skills, being able to speak clearly and be understood can be difficult.
One of the best ways to improve pronunciation is to record yourself, listen back, and pick out the words that don’t sound quite right. You can listen to native speakers pronounce words all day. But unless you can speak them correctly, you’ll never be fluent in that language.
Make a list of problem words, ones you have particular trouble with, and record yourself speaking them over and over until you’ve got them down.
3- Read Books And Listen To Audiobooks
One of the quickest ways to master a foreign language is to read and listen to literature in that language. When you think about it, it’s similar to how you got to grips with your native tongue.
Of course, you should only consume the material that’s at your level. If you’re a beginner in Spanish, for example, it’s probably not a great idea to read Don Quixote. Start with children’s books and slowly work your way up, just like you did growing up.
Print books and audiobooks are both useful. The former improves your reading skills and the latter your listening skills. Audiobooks can also come in handy when working out or commuting.
4- Find A Language Partner
Want to speak fluently, sound more like a native speaker, and learn slang/colloquialisms? The only way to achieve this is to have conversations with people who speak your chosen language on a native level. Ideally, you would do this by moving and living in a country where it’s spoken, but that’s not an option for everybody.
Whether you have a teacher or not, it’s a great idea to find a language partner. Language partners are people who are trying to learn English and also speak the language you’re trying to learn. You can form a relationship and help each other improve. Who knows? Maybe you could even make a friend for life.
Mobile apps have now made finding a language partner simpler than ever before.
5- Think In The Other Language
Thinking in another language is tricky. But, once mastered, it can rapidly reduce the time it takes to learn. The basic idea behind it is to train your inner dialogue to take place in a foreign language.
Start small. When you look at an object, think of the word for it in the language you’re trying to learn. If you catch yourself thinking in your native tongue, stop yourself and say the translation aloud. When you’ve gotten good at this, you can move onto more complex thoughts and concepts.
Doing this works so well because it creates associations in your brain between the word and the actual thing. It also quickly motivates you to expand your vocabulary as you encounter things that you don’t know the translation for yet.