The hardest part of starting, however, can be deciding which language you want to learn. Take this quiz now and...
- Learn a language fast by focusing on the…
- Mnemonics is another way to learn a new language
- Immersion is one of the best ways to learn a language fast
- Identify your learning style and use it to…
- Train your ears and muscles for the new language
- Another secret for learning a language fast is talking to…
- Enjoy books, television series, films and…
If your name is not Harry Potter, chances are you didn’t enter this world already mastering Parseltongue. Or any other language for that matter. Although at some point in our lives we feel like we were born knowing our mother tongue, the situation is far from being so. But guess what! This is actually GREAT news! This means that you have real chances at mastering a second or a third language. All you need are some tactics on how to learn a language fast.
And I have them. Yes. I was just like you. Always trying to learn a new language, but never succeeding. Until I discovered that learning a new language fast is the same as losing weight: it takes ambition to make it happen. There’s no cheating. Just some tips and tricks.
So, if you hoped that you could steal Dexter’s tactic to learn French, I have news for you: it’s possible! Didn’t see that coming, did you? Yes, scientists have discovered that stimulus in our sleep helps consolidate memories. But I for one wouldn’t risk getting stuck with just three words for the rest of my omelette du fromage.
1. Learn a language fast by focusing on the basics
Don’t expect to become conversational from the first day. The secret is to approach your goal step by step. Start with the first 100 most common words and create sentences until you feel comfortable with all of them. Then move to the next 1000. You will be surprised at how fluently you can speak after just 1000 mastered basic words.
The reason behind this “trick” is that the most common 1000 words account for 80% of all spoken communication, while the most common 3000 words account for 99% of it. If this doesn’t feel real, just ask yourself if you know and use all the words in your mother tongue. You will soon realize that the answer is “no”.
2. Mnemonics is another great way to learn a new language
I know this sounds complicated, but I assure you that you actually used this learning tactic before when repetition simply wasn’t enough.
A mnemonic device is any learning technique that helps glue stubborn words or expressions to your memory. There are many types of mnemonics you can create: music, name, expression/word, model, rhyme, note organization, image, connection or spelling mnemonics. The secret is to come up with it yourself, so you’ll be more likely to remember it.
For example, when I was in college and I had to memorize a long list of words, I always tried to come up with funny sentences or songs using them. I strongly recommend trying this or other types of mnemonics to improve your learning rhythm.
3. Immersion is one of the best ways to learn a language fast
Yes, indeed. But you don’t always have the time and money to travel to a certain place and experience immersion and practice. Yet modern technology made it possible for the mountain to come to Muhammad.
I’m not giving nonsense advice. Immersion is made possible by Mondly – the language learning app that helps you learn languages in virtual and augmented reality. While Mondly VR is super cool and immersive, the AR module (also) from Mondly might save the day if you don’t have a headset. This is not just me. People tend to remember faster when life-sized animals and other objects magically appear in their environment (yeah, tech is pure sci-fi these days).
Moreover, both Mondly experiences allow the user to practice real conversations with characters powered by chatbot technology. Basically, Mondly offers something for almost every learning style.
4. Identify your learning style and use it to become conversational
Discovering your dominant learning style can help you speed up the learning process. School made you think that you can’t learn fast and, but that happened only because teachers used the same teaching tactic for the whole class forgetting that we are all different people with different learning styles. How do you prefer to learn? Here are the main individualized learning styles:
- Visual (spatial): you learn using pictures, images, and spatial understanding;
- Aural (auditory-musical): you learn using sound and music;
- Verbal (linguistic): you learn using words, both in speech and writing;
- Physical (kinesthetic): you learn using your body, hands and sense of touch;
- Logical (mathematical): you learn using logic, reasoning and systems;
- Social (interpersonal): you learn better in groups or with other people;
- Solitary (intrapersonal): you prefer to work alone and use self-study.
Use this information in your own best interest and learning a new language can happen a lot faster than you think.
5. Train your ears and muscles for the new language
When one of my friends moved to Denmark to study computer science, her biggest problem was learning Danish. Classes didn’t help much. Four months later and she still didn’t have a clue about the Danish language and its mysterious ways. So, she started learning by herself using language learning apps – like Mondly – and other learning strategies that I have shared with her.
The first step was to train her speech muscles in order to master pronunciation. You won’t believe it, but that was exactly like going to the gym. My friend’s mother tongue is Romanian. Naturally, the Danish language uses different speech muscles that begin to hurt when you first start practicing. In other words, we call this muscle soreness, but who would have thought that you can get it from speaking another language? Funny, but also true story for my Romanian friend!
Therefore, it’s always necessary to train your speech muscles and your ears. Any foreign language may sound weird in the beginning. The secret is to hold on to it and exercise with common sounds from the target language.
6. Another secret for learning a language fast is talking to yourself
As weird as this advice might be… get wild and talk to yourself! Not by yourself, but to yourself. This means that you can practice by expressing your inner thoughts in the language you want to learn.
People often claim that speaking in another language changes your personality. The process resembles the idea of having an alter ego. If this works the same for you, let your Spanish/Italian/French (or any other language) alter ego speak. It may be frustrating in the beginning, but it’s super-efficient.
7. Enjoy books, television series, films and music in the target language
Help your brain understand that this is not something you do because you have to, but because it’s fun. Find something you enjoy doing – like reading a book or watching a film – and try to associate this action with the language you want to learn.
As a cinephile, I really enjoy watching films and television series and last year I made some research to find the best ones from Germany. Today, my brain associates German lessons with something that I enjoy doing and information retention is much easier. Our brain opens just like a flower when we like what we are learning.
Bonus tip: Stay positive! Learning a new language is easy if YOU want it to be!
There are a lot of language learning apps and strategies that can help you learn a language fast. In this article, I shared with you top 7 of them that worked for me. All you have to do is to be positive and never give up. Think about it. Do you ever give up when you find a really cool video game that you can’t master from the first few minutes? No. My brother who is 12 and lazy mastered and even finished Watch Dogs in one week. It’s all about being dedicated to a goal.