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How to Learn a New Language 10 Times Faster

How to Learn a New Language 10 Times Faster
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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.[1]

    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?

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    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.[2] 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:

    1. 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![3]
    2. 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.
    3. 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!
    4. 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.[4]

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    1. The Mnemonic should be memorable. The more outrageous or unexpected, the better.
    2. Make it Visual. Abstract concepts are much easier to comprehend through visual images.
    3. 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.

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      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.

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          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.

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              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

              Reference

              More by this author

              Dr. Jamie Schwandt

              Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

              10 Hacks to Increase Your Brain IQ, Focus, and Creativity How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Smart Choices The Ultimate Exercises to Improve Posture (Simple and Effective) How Cognitive Learning Benefits Your Brain and Grows Knowledge 9 Game Changing Tips on How to Write Goals (and Reach Them!)

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              Last Updated on July 21, 2021

              The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

              The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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              No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

              Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

              Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

              A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

              Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

              In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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              From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

              A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

              For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

              This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

              The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

              That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

              Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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              The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

              Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

              But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

              The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

              The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

              A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

              For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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              But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

              If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

              For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

              These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

              For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

              How to Make a Reminder Works for You

              Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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              Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

              Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

              My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

              Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

              I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

              More on Building Habits

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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              Reference

              [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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