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7 Timeless Tips to Learn Any Language in Days, Not Years

7 Timeless Tips to Learn Any Language in Days, Not Years

Learning a new language comes with incredible side benefits, including enhanced brain performance, cultural knowledge, and career opportunities. People often mistake the shortcomings of language learning with massive time consumption. But language learning doesn’t need to take years.

In fact, with the right methodology and strategies, learning a language can take less than 90 days.

1. Transfer what you already know

There are certain knowledges that you already possess, which will make it much easier for you to learn certain languages.

For example, if you know how to speak French, it’s a lot easier to transfer your knowledge to speak Spanish faster. This is because the grammar rules and vocabularies are very similar to one another.

However, if you tried to learn Japanese as a sole English speaker, it will take you significantly longer to pick up the language.

 
Japanese

    2. Know the shortcuts

    We can take strategic shortcuts in certain languages to learn faster. A powerful one is a framework introduced by Tim Ferriss to deconstruct the most common sentence structures from English to Spanish.

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    *Keep in mind you can use this framework for other languages as well*

    8 sentence structures: I give John the apple

     
    1*BObwE56jfMqAPOokV2IBsA

      Translating these 8 sentences into the language you want to learn will expose everything from:

      • how sentences are structured
      • how indirect and direct objects are used (the most painful)
      • how to differentiate feminine and masculine words
      • how verbs are conjugated into sentences

      For example, in English,

      The word order is: He/She + verb + (DOP)+ to (IOP).
      He gives (verb) the apple (DOP) to her (IOP)

      But in Spanish,

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      The word order is: Él/Ella + (IOP) + (DOP)+ conjugated verb +clarifier.

      *IOP=indirect object pronoun
      *DOP=direct object pronoun

      3. Memorize the most common words

      As stated in this article, in the Russian language:

      the 75 most common words make up 40% of occurrences
      the 200 most common words make up 50% of occurrences
      the 524 most common words make up 60% of occurrences
      the 1257 most common words make up 70% of occurrences
      the 2925 most common words make up 80% of occurrences
      the 7444 most common words make up 90% of occurrences
      the 13374 most common words make up 95% of occurrences
      the 25508 most common words make up 99% of occurrences

      This means that you can memorize roughly 500 of the most common words in most languages, and understand 60% of the language! In fact, 60% is sufficient enough to fill the missing pieces in order to comprehend what most native speakers are saying.

      You can use memorization techniques such as mnemonics to speed up the memorization process.

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      4. Immersion

      We become what we focus on. If we’re learning a language, the goal should be then to immerse ourselves in the new language as much as possible.This means watching TV and movies in the foreign language you are learning, reading books, listening to podcasts, and even attempting to think in the new language all propel you forward in your learning.

      The key is to make sure that you’re not forcing yourself to do an activity you normally don’t do. Learning a language is hard enough, and we shouldn’t make it harder by doing something we don’t like.

      If you enjoy watching movies rather than reading, then change the subtitles to your foreign language, and continue watching movies. This will help you immerse language learning into your daily routines.

      5. Schedule it

      The best productive tip out there is scheduling.

      With a simple tool like Google Calendar, you can set organize your day around your learning schedule.

      0*7OsiJhjft5mjyEXt

        We recommend scheduling as little as 30-minute chunks to either study, review, or practice versus spending several hours once a week. This daily repetition will help you easily form a habit and keep you accountable. Google Calendar will also set reminders for you, and you can have this integrated into your phone.

        6. Speak it

        The common fallacy for most language learners is that although we understand what we hear and read, speaking with native people remains a challenge. Much like riding a bike or any skill you’ve developed in the past, the fastest way to learn any language is to learn by doing.

        Find every opportunity to practice with native speakers, whether it’s your friends or family, conversation exchange groups, or through a platform like Rype, where they match you with a native-speaking teacher. Meeting people that speak the language you want to learn can teach you a lot.

        7. Have a Language Coach

        The top-performers across any field from business, sports, health, and beyond, have coaches to guide them along the way. The benefits of having a coach are limitless, but the core benefits include increased productivity, motivation and accountability to achieve your goals faster. A coach is like having a teacher on your side that is fully-invested in seeing you success.

        Language learning is no different. Working with a language coach to help you speak fluently, provide immediate feedback, and assign the right follow-up exercises will bring maximum results to acquire any language faster. More importantly, since the most common mistake we make once we learn a language is the lack of maintenance, having a coach will not only help you improve your skills, but will guarantee that you’ll never forget any language you learn.

        Now it is up to you…

        Which language learning tips have you tried to learn faster?
        Share them below, we’d love to hear them!

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        Featured photo credit: Unsplash.com via dujk9xa5fr1wz.cloudfront.net

        More by this author

        Sean Kim

        Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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        Last Updated on September 18, 2020

        13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        “We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

        “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

        Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

        You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

        Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

        1. Take a step back and evaluate

        When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

        1. What is the problem?
        2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
        3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
        4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
        5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

        Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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        2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

        If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

        At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

        Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

        3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

        Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

        4. Process your thoughts/emotions

        Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

        1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
        2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
        3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
        4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

        5. Acknowledge your thoughts

        Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

        By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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        Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

        6. Give yourself a break

        If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

        7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

        A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

        Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

        After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

        8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

        As Helen Keller once said,

        “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

        Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

        9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

        In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

        1. What’s the situation?
        2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
        3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
        4. Take action on your next steps!

        After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

        10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

        A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

        Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

        For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

        11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

        No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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        12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

        No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

        13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

        There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

        After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

        Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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