How to Learn a New Language Fast
Want to find out how you can learn a new language quickly, without the need for expensive classes or language learning software? There are really no secrets or shortcuts -- you just need to commit to your new language, be willing to work hard and not be afraid to make mistakes. Start with Step 1 below to find out more.
Immersing Yourself in the Language
Connect with a native speaker.Hands down, the best way to learn a new language is to speak it. Too often, people spend all of their time studying grammar and memorizing lists of words instead of actually going out there and putting what they've learned into practice. Speaking with a real, live person will help you to feel much more motivated about learning the language than staring at a book or computer screen.
- Try to find a friend or colleague who speaks the language you wish to learn and who'd be willing to sit down with you and help you practice. Alternatively, you could try putting ads in local online forums or newspapers to find someone to tutor you or participate in a language exchange.
- If you can't find anyone who speaks your language nearby, try to connect with someone on Skype. People in foreign countries are often willing to exchange half an hour of speaking in their native tongue for half an hour of speaking in English. A Hellotalk account is another option.
Study the language every day.People often claim to have studied a language "for five years" and still not be fluent. But when they say five years, they probably mean that they studied the language for only a couple of hours a week over that entire time period. Let's get one thing clear -- if you want to learn a new languagequickly-- that is, in the space of a few weeks or months -- you're going to have to commit to studying the language for a couple of hoursper day.
- Language learning is based on repetition -- hammering something into your brain over and over again until you remember it. If you break too long between study sessions, you are much more prone to forget what you learned last time and you will waste valuable study time going back over what you've already learned.
- You can cut down on this wasted time by studyingevery day. There are no miraculous short cuts when it comes to language learning -- you just need to commit.
Carry a dictionary at all times.Carrying a dictionary with you will save you a lot of time and frustration, so invest in one as soon as possible!
- It can be an actual, physical dictionary, or a dictionary app on your phone -- you just need to be able to consult it quickly whenever you need a word.
- Carrying a dictionary will allow you to find the necessary word at a moments notice. This is especially important when you are having a conversation with a native speaker and don't wish to disrupt the flow of conversation by not being able to remember a word. In addition, looking up the word and using it immediately in a sentence will help you to commit the word to memory.
- You can also peruse the dictionary at random moments throughout the day -- when you're waiting in line at the grocery store, when you're on a coffee break at work, or sitting in traffic. You could learn an extra 20 or 30 words a day this way!
Watch, listen, read and write in your chosen language.Immersing yourself in a language means doing all of the activities you would normally do in your native tongue, through your new language -- whether that's reading, writing or listening.
- Possibly the easiest thing you can do is watch television shows or movies in the language you are trying to learn. Try to avoid subtitles, as you will tend to rely on them. To make things easier, try to watch shows or movies whose plots you are already familiar with -- like kids' cartoons or dubbed versions of English movies -- knowing the context will help you to decipher the meanings of words and phrases.
- You should also attempt to read and write in your new language. Get a newspaper or magazine and attempt to read one article a day -- looking up any words you don't understand in your dictionary. You should also try to write a few simple things in your new language --whether it's a pretend postcard or a shopping list.
- Download podcasts or tune in to radio stations in your new language. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the language while you're on the go. Not only does this help with your listening comprehension, it also allows you to hear the correct pronunciation of common words and phrases.
- Change your language settings on all your electronic devices so that you can pick up words you know already in English but not in the new language.
- Listen to songs in that language. Try to learn the lyrics, then check what they mean. That way, if you hear it again, you can tell what the conversation is about at that point.
Visit a country where your chosen language is spoken.Obviously, it would be a great boost to your language learning skills if you could visit and spend some time in a country where your new language is spoken.
- Force yourself to interact with the locals -- whether you're asking for directions, completing a transaction in a store, or simply saying hello -- and you will gain a new appreciation of the language and its speakers.
- It doesn't matter how basic your oral skills are, keep pushing yourself to speak and you will soon notice a vast improvement in your vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.
Focusing on the Most Important Things
Learn a few greeting words in the language before you learn the alphabet.This way when you do learn the languages alphabet you will already know some pretty basic words. For example: Hello, Goodbye, How are you?, I am good, What is your name?, My name is____, and so on.
Learn the alphabet of the language you are learning, if necessary.It will make it significantly easier for you and you will be able to read and pronounce words, which will help you memorize them with greater ease. Plus, it is better for you to be sounding the words out rather than looking at the romanization for the words.
Learn vocabulary.Mastering basic vocabulary is probably one of the most important things you can do when learning a new language. Even if you can't understand whole sentences, the ability to pick out keywords can help you to understand the general meaning of a speech or text.
- Focus on 100 most common words. Picking out the most common 100 words in a given language is a clever way to start. From there, you can work your way up to the most common 1000 words. It is estimated that learning the 1000 most common words in a language will allow you to understand 70% of any text.
- Focus on the vocabulary that is most relevant toyou-- learn business vocabulary if you're learning a language for business, don't waste time learning the words for different species of fish (which you might want to do if you're traveling to go scuba diving!)
- You should also learn words and vocabulary that pertain specifically to you, so you're able to talk about your life and your background to people you meet.
Learn to count in the new language.Start off by learning to count to ten, because it is usually the easiest thing to memorize at first. Each day learn a new set of ten numbers, keep going each day until you are satisfied with how high you can count. If you are up for a challenge, memorize all the numbers up to one hundred in one day.
Don't worry too much about grammar.The reason why most people can't remember most of the language they spent years learning in school is that school curricula tend to focus a huge amount of time on learning grammar and very little time on speech. This is pretty much backwards -- if you want to learn a language quickly, you should learn how to converse first. The specifics of grammar will come later.
- Of course, there's no denying that grammar is important -- you need to learn how to conjugate basic everyday verbs and have some idea of the correct word order in a sentence.
- The point is that you shouldn't spend hours and hours learning verb tables by heart, or worrying about the specific circumstances in which a certain preposition can be used. You'll learn these things as you go along!
Work on pronunciation.Pronunciation is another place where you should focus your energies. There's no point in memorizing hundreds of words and phrases if you pronounce them so oddly that they can't be understood. Therefore, it's important that when you learn a word, you learn the pronunciation simultaneously.
- Pronunciation can be difficult to learn from a book -- so this is where chatting with native speakers (or using interactive software programs and applications) comes in handy. You need to actually say the word out loud in order to learn how to pronounce it correctly.
- If you're practicing with an actual person, make sure that they're not too timid to correct you when you pronounce a word incorrectly, otherwise you may never fully get the hang of it. Remember -- pronunciation can be the difference between speaking a languagewelland speaking a languagefluently.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes.When you're learning a new language you can't be afraid to make mistakes, otherwise you won't get very far.
- You're bound to get yourself in a few embarrassing situations, but what's the big deal? The native speakers might have a good chuckle, but they'll still appreciate the effort you're making and be willing to help you out.
- You are not aiming for perfection here, you are aiming for progress. Making mistakes (and learning from them) will help you to progress.
Using Language Learning Software and Apps
Use Duolingo.Duolingo is a free language learning tool available online and on Android and iOS. Rather than focusing on memorization, it gets users to read and speak their new language by seeing, hearing and internalizing it. Users gain points as they complete lessons, giving Duolingo a fun, game-like feel.
Use Memrise.Memrise is another flashcard-style program that allows users to memorize words and phrases using memory tricks, images and other useful tools. Memrise allows users to compete against other users as you complete language-learning activities, making it a fun, non-formal way to learn.
Use Babbel.Babbel is a fun, interactive language learning tool, available online and as a mobile application. It can help users to improve their vocabulary, grammar skills and pronunciation. It can also identify your problem areas and offer targeted exercises based on your individual needs.
QuestionI know French, but I want to learn Danish. I'm afraid that if I learn Danish, I'll forget French. What should I do?Top AnswererYou'll probably find that you won't forget French, especially if you review it periodically. There are many people who speak several languages.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I learn any language deeply?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerLearn new words everyday and focus. Complete language courses. Read books, magazines and newspapers to improve vocabulary. Write on your own and ask professionals or teachers to analyze and correct your mistakes. Learning the history of the language and meeting native speakers is also important.Thanks!
QuestionIs the Nemo app a good source to use to learn a language?Merrifly14Community AnswerThe Nemo app is a very reliable language learning resource, I strongly encourage you to use it.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are some ways I can stay focused and have fun with my new language?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGet involved with everything in your new language. Always bear in mind that most language learners do not have the chance to have a partner whose mother tongue is the language they are learning. Therefore, it is important to have an imaginary person with you with whom you can practice every day. This imaginary person will always be with you and can act as a good partner.Thanks!
QuestionHow accurate is Google Translate?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNot very accurate.Thanks!
QuestionHow long will it take to get good?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere are so many factors involved in formulating an answer to that question, including your personal aptitude for language learning and the amount of time you're able to put toward learning the language every day/week. The short answer is that the more time you're able to invest in study and practice, the faster you'll achieve fluency.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I learn Russian without going to Russia or talking to a native Russian?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerStudy and practice the words, download apps to help and watch movies in Russian, paying close attention to the sounds and pacing of the speakers.Thanks!
QuestionShould I learn two languages at the same time?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, I would focus on one language at a time.Thanks!
QuestionMany websites have spoken languages, which is fine, but where do I go to learn ASL?Colin CulverCommunity AnswerWebsites/apps like Memrise have user-created courses that teach ASL, which instead of showing written questions show pictures with the questions. There will not be any sound questions. Of course, the best way is to find someone that also "speaks" ASL and interact with them for practice.Thanks!
QuestionAre there any apps that work for written languages only?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe app Duolingo has an option to turn off sounds and your microphone, which will remove any questions that involve them. This only leaves written questions left.Thanks!
- Use sticky labels for vocabulary. Stick these up around the house. This allows you to learn the word with a visual association, which helps you to learn it faster.
- Don't over-stress about speaking quickly or accurately at first. You won't be able to manage at first, so be patient.
- Aim for a certain amount of exposure (television, radio, online newspaper, or face to face) per day and be consistent.
- Write down words in the new language and their meaning, and always keep them around you so you can memorize them easily.
- The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it, but often you can't just drop everything and move to a new country where the language is spoken. But there are plenty of websites that allow you to talk to people who speak that language, for practice.
- Google Translate is a good source to help you with your pronunciation. On the other hand its word translations aren't always 100% accurate.
- Start by learning ten words (verbs or adjectives) every day for three months. It may seem hard but it is quite simple, because you are studying a small amount of words each day, which will improve your vocabulary. The more vocabulary words you know, the more sentences you will be able to form.
- As soon as you understand the basics, it's best to watch a movie you like and have already seen, in that language. The subtitles will be in that language too. If that's too difficult, start by changing either one of them in your own language.
- Start reading funny books in that language, preferably with jokes and pictures. Like anime, comic books, magazines, joke-books or something that you find particularly interesting. This'll motivate you to keep reading/searching until you understand what's written, especially with the jokes. You could also read children's books, since you usually know the story already and the words are easy to learn.
- Same goes for music. Try finding songs you like and listen to them over and over again. At some point, you'll understand what they are singing, and you can try to understand the interview afterwards.
- Many people find that music is helpful when learning, so try listening to some song in the language and trying to identify the words.
- Avoid Google Translate unless translating single words or phrases, because it does not use the correct grammar.
- Duolingo is a good app to use - it helps you pronounce words.
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