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How to Learn a Language in 3 Months

How to Learn a Language in 3 Months

We all know that learning a language is one of the things that makes us human but did you know that learning a language is one of the most complex things that we do? Some chimps have been able to successfully use a limited amount of picture cards in showing their understanding of language. Some dolphins have been able to make sounds in a kind of communication with humans but their level of speech does not even match my 2 year old grandson. Language is definitely a human domain.

We are wired to learn a language from birth and it is not only the words but also the complexities of the pronunciation where, depending on your country of birth, you will learn the intricacies of rolling your “r’s” of clicking your tongue or using guttural sounds created in the throat. These are the kind of things that make learning another language more challenging.  Learning a second language is, at first, a process of comparing what we already know to what we hear in the new language. We hear new sounds and new words and we try to compare and connect them to the existing language we already know.

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“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.  If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Each week Rocco and George teach me one new phrase in Italian – Buongiorno, arrivederci, uno momento,  parli Italiano?  This is about as far as it goes, so far. It is great for perfecting the pronunciation but a bit slow going. It probably fits in with my attitude on life which is to learn what you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can. I am a lifelong learner full of all matter of interesting trivia. There is no urgency to my study just a vague idea that one day wouldn’t it be nice if when I went to Italy, I could speak a little Italian.

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“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” ‒ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

My daughter is learning one French phrase per day. She is very busy and has many other things happening in her life so she just needs to slot one phrase into her day. This suits her needs and she learns it off an app on her phone which is also good for hearing the pronunciation. But to learn a language in 3 months something more is required.

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At age 17 Roshan had the passion and drive to learn a language. His family were from Germany a few generations ago and he felt a strong connection with this that fueled his desire to learn the language. He wanted to learn about where his family had come from and felt it was important to learn to think like one of his ancestors to fully understand his roots. He got on a plane, flew to Germany and stayed there for 3 months and he set himself a challenge – to speak nothing but German for the whole time he was there. The idea was that he would pick up key phrases and words first, and then learn the grammar almost unconsciously as he went along.  By not talking in his native tongue, he is starting to think in the new language. This resulted in quicker learning and better vocabulary retention and a fast transition to fluency. When Roshan returned home after 3 months he could speak fluent German. Roshan believed that

“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” ‒ Rita Mae Brown.

When it comes to learning a language you will be one of these kinds of learners but when it comes to learning a language in 3 months, the immersion technique, that Roshan followed, is considered by language experts to be the best way. They have found that people learn more quickly if they stop reading books and just start speaking the language they are aiming to learn. This intensive exposure reaps great rewards.  So if you love the idea of learning a language in 3 months and you also have the passion for doing so and you are not lucky enough to travel what can you do?

  • Download audio lessons to your computer or mp3 player or ipod.
  • Attend a language school – most language schools use some version of the immersion method.
  • Download a language app.
  • Skype someone in another country and converse.

Online Resources:

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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