Our brain possesses phenomenal abilities and can do some amazing things. Take the example below. If you can read this, you just might have a strong mind.
However, when we attempt to learn a new language after the age of three, it seems too difficult and takes way too long. If you have tried to learn a new language, how many hours did you spend each day on this task? Now ask yourself, how many devoted hours did you spend on this same task? Probably not nearly as much. Doing this, you will see that “five years” could net maybe 15 days of actual genuine work towards learning a new language.
What would you say if you could learn a method where learning a new language is as easy as breathing? If you follow the methods discussed here and have an extreme devotion to learning a new language, then it can be as easy as breathing. So, how can we do this? How to make learning a new language as easy as breathing?
Focused Attention and Deliberate Practice
Famous professional golfer Ben Hogan was known for deliberate practice. Some people credit him for inventing practice. He entered every practice session with a purpose, which resulted in one of the most finely tuned swings in the history of golf. So what exactly is deliberate practice? Let’s take a look.
Regular practice includes mindless repetitions. Deliberate practice requires focused attention. Deliberate practice can be used in learning any new skill or becoming an expert in the skill. Magnus Carlsen is a chess grandmaster and used deliberate practice to become one of the greatest chess players in history. He created a strategy of learning chess by playing it on a computer, which allowed him to play multiple games at once. This allowed him to accelerate the pace at which he could identify different chunks (arrangements of pieces on the board).
Some useful tips for you when you’re trying to practice:
- Burn the Boats! Using the advice of Tony Robbins, “If you want to take the island, then burn your boats. With absolute commitment come the insights that create real victory.” The best way to learn a new language is to live abroad. For example, if you want to learn Chinese… then move to China. However, I know this might not be realistic, so try these tactics: Schedule time for language study before anything else; listen to podcasts in the language you are learning; write in that language at every opportunity; and even think in that new language!
- Find Language Partners. Join online communities (such as Facebook) and find physical events allowing you to communicate with others learning this new language. Immerse yourself into the language as much as possible.
- Choose Fluency, Not Accuracy. Fluency can be described as the ability to express yourself articulately (using language smoothly in real time). Accuracy is the ability to be correct and precise (communicating without error). Think of it this way… You can be fluent in a language without being 100% accurate. Essentially, we are going to make errors, but that is the fun part of learning (and where learning actually occurs). So stop worrying about being accurate and start learning!
- Mistakes are Good! You are going to make lots of mistakes when learning a new language, but who cares. In fact, start congratulating yourself when you make a mistake as you have now provided yourself a learning opportunity.
Use Mnemonic Devices to Memorize New Words
Are you looking for an outside-the-box approach to learning a new language? If so, then pay attention to this technique. Using Mnemonics, we can learn a new language using the same technique designed for improving memory. Let’s take a look at this 3-Step approach.
- The Mnemonic should be memorable. The more outrageous or unexpected, the better.
- Make it Visual. Abstract concepts are much easier to comprehend through visual images.
- The Mnemonic device should easily tie back to the meaning of the word.
Let’s take a look at a couple examples of this concept in practice (learning Spanish).
Comer (combed hair). Comer means to eat. We can visualize eating from a plate of combed hair!
Here is another.
Gracias (grassy arse). Gracias means Thank You. We can visualize giving someone a grassy arse as a gift.
Use Spaced Repetition to Learn at Lightning Speed
Stop cramming and use spaced repetition software to help you learn a new language. Through spaced repetition, learning a new language becomes faster (ironically) through increasing the intervals of time between subsequent review of previously learned information. Furthermore, technology can assist us with this.
Some recommended spaced repetition software:
FluentU. If you are looking for a program that takes real-world videos and turns them into language learning experiences… then you should use this software. Try it for free at Fluentu.com.
Duolingo. If you are looking for gamification poured into every lesson, where you earn rewards (such as streak counts or hearts) then try learning a language for free with Duolingo. Find more information about it at Duolingo.com.
By immersing yourself into learning through deliberate practice and focused attention, combined with powerful strategies and technologies, you can easily learn a new language. Use these tactics and make learning a new language as easy as breathing!
Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io