The Fastest Way To Learn A New Language
Growing up, we’ve been able to learn English as our second language and became perfect at speaking, writing, reading, and listening to it, and learning it seems inevitable because it is the official language for many of our countries.
When I grew up and started doing social research, I was sent to far-deep rural areas in my country and had to deal with the diverse cultures and languages in order to communicate with those people effectively. This meant I had to learn enough words in those languages to keep up a conversation.
In this article, I’ll share with you a few tips that I used to learn more than 5 languages fast and be sure to follow through to the end of the article.
Step 1; Prepare yourself for a new ride
Learning a new language is a lot like embarking on a new journey, but you very well know that you can’t get to your destination if you have not prepared adequately. These are the most important things that you have to consider in the preparation process.
- Know and establish your why‘s
To be honest, you should have a reason why you have decided to learn whatever language you’re embarking on, and this doesn’t just have to be something like “I wanna have fun” or “I just wanna be multilingual”. Nope, it doesn’t work that way.
Reasons that are related to your future travel plans, work, and getting a life partner are things quite strong and motivating enough for you to get on the treadmill and start on this journey.
- Set your end goal
Now that you know why you’re about to flip your tongue in new ways, you’ve gotta know what your end goal is. You might have end goals like writing a novel in that language, becoming a translator, or anything at the back of your mind. Once this is established, you are now sure about your destination.
- List your short and long term goals
Preferably, I think you need a diary dedicated to monitoring the status of your progress in learning this new language. This is because you have to break this huge goal into small manageable short term and long term goals, for example;
- Learn 30 words in 1 month, that’s one every day
- Learn 120 words in 3 months.
These are just examples. You have got to set goals that are not too small or you won’t be motivated, but also not too big or you’ll be hard on yourself and eventually lose morale.
- Schedule time to learn the language everyday
Now, the next steps in this article will not be important to you if you take this step for granted, because discipline is the only wall between you and your goals, and discipline means showing up every day.
Preferably, start with a few minutes, say 30 every day, and increase gradually depending on your progress and how much time you have.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Look, your mind is everything, and here, you don’t need that perfectionist mentality, or at least not yet. You have to be okay with making mistakes and forgetting a few words along the way because that’s gonna happen quite often. It’ll be even better if you can laugh along the way.
Step 2; Start with the basics
- Start with salutations
Salutations are a very vital part of every language, and I believe these should be the first. For example, learning, “good morning”, “how are you”, “good night” and their responses in any language would be a good start. That’s how you might even be able to start a conversation with the natives anyways.
- Vulgar words (optional)
Okay, this is not as bad as it sounds, because, in every language that you can speak, you know the vulgar words, and we even have them in the dictionary, and besides, you wouldn’t wanna smile if a native insulted or swore at you. So go ahead, learn those words and phrases and have something to laugh at.
- Essentials (things you see and/ or touch everyday)
Here, start looking around your room, apartment, office, and compound, and learn words for everything you can see around you. This will help you learn to communicate faster in this language. You’ll be amazed at how fast you’ll learn your new language.
- Learn the alphabet
This is important if you ever want to learn the sounds, the pronunciations, and also if you ever want to learn how to read and write in that language.
Step 3; Start practicing
Practice makes perfect, right? You’ll need this in order to learn the language as fast as your brain can grasp. This means you don’t just have to stop at the 30 minutes after work. These are the ways that you can practice your new language effectively.
- Make friends with native speakers.
If you look around you, do you see some native speakers of the language you want to learn? Get out of your shell and start to befriend some new people, because those will be the free tutors you’ll ever get.
If that’s not the case, get on Facebook or any other social network. There are lots of people like you that have created groups, where they network and help each other in the learning process. Also, it’s some kind of relief when you know you ain’t alone.
- Use the language everyday.
Hey, am I the only one that talks to myself? I guess not, but you’re the perfect person you can practice with.
All you have to do is try and think in the language you want to learn, by translating phrases that you hear, into the language you want to learn.
Step 4; Venture deeper.
Now that you’ve started out well with the basics, it’s time you started to test the deeper waters with both feet.
- Study the culture and etymology.
Learning languages is really fun when you know the roots of the words you use, and the culture of the native speakers. This will help you blend in more than you were at the beginning, and will give you a deeper understanding of the words in the language.
- Read literature of that language
Remember when I told you to read the alphabet of that language? Now is the time you started to look out for novels written in that language, and make sure you read every day.
It’s not going to be easy, I promise, because you’ll want to check every word out in the dictionary, but you’ll get to that point when you can contextualize and understand the phrases used in your new language.
- Read the dictionary
I guess at this point you’ve already bought a dictionary. The best way to use it is when you write a couple of words down from the novel you’re reading and make sure to check them out, learn them and incorporate them into your vocabulary.
- Watch movies, news and listen to songs in that language.
Reading, writing, listening, and speaking are the four parts you want to get, because if not all of them, you haven’t learned this language yet. All you have to do is first pay for the cable channels that show programs in your language and make sure you watch every day.
This will help you learn and normalize the flow of conversations in that language.
- Learn to write in that language.
At this point, you have learned a couple of words and you can put a couple of sentences together. This tip is actually effective because writing is thinking, and the language in which you write is the one in which you think.
- Visit the country where the language is spoken.
It’s time to elevate things up a little bit, especially if you have the money and time for this. It will help you get more inspired to learn this language, and also expose you to more native speakers, so you don’t feel out of space anymore.
Step 5; Studying smart.
Now, I know all the tips above are good, but you need a little something with shortcuts so that you can get to turn things around a little bit. Here’s how to do it;
- Record yourself speaking the words you want to learn and play it as music in your ears. This is really effective, and I have tried it myself. It really works, and the words will stick in your head like song lyrics.
- Visualize and vocalize.
This is also one part that I love most. If you decide to learn a few words every day, you’ll have w=enough time to get the visuals of the words you are learning. The best way to do this is to get to Google and search each word, go to the “images” section and see what your word looks like in real life.
- Language apps.
This is the era that we can carry whole loads of data in our handsets, and thanks to smartphones, we have access to almost all famous language apps on the app stores. Popular examples of language apps are Anki, Duolingo, and Babbel.
- Test yourself.
If we were never tested at school, there’d be no way for the teachers to know whether we had learned or not. This is time for you to test yourself, or get a friend to hide all the answers and ask you question by question or word by word.
Language is really easy to learn when you’re enthusiastic about it, and you can never be enthusiastic when you see no fun in it. Therefore, find ways of making it fun, not as a daily mundane activity, because our brains are wired to love fun things.