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3 Simple Steps to Learn a New Language in 90 Days

3 Simple Steps to Learn a New Language in 90 Days
Learning a language needs not take long. With the right process and strategy, you can learn a new language faster than most people in the world.Just like anything in life, we have to be aware of our current strengths and weaknesses, and use those strengths to our advantage.

1. Transfer what you already know

Let’s take start-up companies for instance. There are certain skill requisites (i.e. marketing skills for customers, coding skills to build the product), resources (i.e. talent, technology), and so on, that determine how successful you can be, and how quickly you can get there.

It’s the same for languages.

Think about what knowledge you already possess. What can be transferred to your target language? This makes learning languages easier, and this explains why Koreans for example find Japanese easier than Arabic.

2. Know the shortcuts

We should always be on the lookout for more effective, and therefore faster ways of learning. Here’s some of these methods:

Cognates

Knowing how to use cognates is a powerful strategy to shorten your learning curve because the words based from your native language can mean the same thing in another language.

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For instance, languages from the Latin root such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and others have many words in common with English.

Take words such as “action”, “distraction”, “termination”, and thousands of other “-tion” words are spelled exactly the same in French and Spanish. You can quickly get used to the different pronunciation. Change that “-tion” to a “-ció” and “-ción” respectively.

Another example is the similarities of German to English.

“water” becomes “Wasser” (t → s after a vowel)
“chin” becomes “Kinn” (ch → k)
“father” becomes “Vater” (th → t)

Modal verbs

One of the most difficult things you can learn in any language is the conjugations, and knowing how to convert them.

Why not focus on learning how to conjugate the most common modal verbs, that will apply to 80–90% of your sentences during conversations?

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To give you a simple example, here’s the 7 most common modal verbs in German.

  • können (can)
  • wollen (want)
  • sollen (should)
  • dürfen (may/be allowed to)
  • müssen (must)
  • möchten (would like)
  • mögen (like)

In Spanish, instead of needing to conjugate “ir” — to go by saying:

  • Yo voy a tomar [something from the restaurant]

You could easily use the modal verb — “gustaria” — would like:

  • Me gustaria [something from the restaurant]

8 sentence structures: I give John the apple

This is a framework used by Tim Ferriss used to deconstruct the most common sentence structures from English to Spanish.

* Keep in mind you can apply this same framework to other languages.

 
1*BObwE56jfMqAPOokV2IBsA

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

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    • 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

    If you want to read this in further detail, we recommend checking out this article.

    3. Speak it

    It’s one thing to learn the basics of a language, and another to master it.

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    There are many of us who may have “studied” a language for years without getting much results. But language cannot be studied. Language is alive. It is used for social interactions and building personal relationships. So speak more. Practice more. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. You would then find yourself improving very quickly.

    Now it’s your turn.

    How will you be using the resources we shared to reach fluency in your desired language?

    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 October 22, 2019

    How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

    How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

    When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

    With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

    Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

    By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

    So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

    From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

    “Attitude is Tattoo”

    Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

    If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.

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    Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

    Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

    It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

    When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

    Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

    Believe You Can Do It

    Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

    It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

    Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.

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    Embrace Failure

    Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

    Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

    Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

    Start Making the Change

    But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

    Why is that?

    Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

    It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.

    So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

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    Write down What You Want to Change

    Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

    Tell a Friend and Talk About It

    Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

    When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

    Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

    Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

    Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

    Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

    You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

    As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.

    Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

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    Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

    When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

    Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

    Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

    Final Thoughts

    You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

    The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

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    Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

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