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.
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.
*Keep in mind you can use this framework for other languages as well*
8 sentence structures: I give John the apple
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,
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.
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.
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!
Featured photo credit: Unsplash.com via dujk9xa5fr1wz.cloudfront.net