5 Ways to Fluency: How to Learn Any Language
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Strategize and prioritize your learning by focusing on what matters. Mandarin is a language of over 3, characters. This is not just isolated to Mandarin. So why waste time trying to learn more words? While vocabulary is important, it must be considered holistically when learning a new language. Identify what words, phrases and expressions will get you the most bang for your buck, and work from there. It may be tempting to cram loads of information into your head and expect it to stay there. The truth is, acquiring any new skill takes time.
No matter what language learning hack you consider, be aware of how you are spending your time. For those of you wanting to learn a new language fast, the idea of slowing down may seem counterintuitive or abstract. It may be tempting to quickly fill our brains with as much information as we can in the shortest amount of time.
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Be mindful while learning a new language. We become so focused on the end goal of becoming fluent that we lose track of our progress along the journey. Not only will presentness help you absorb new information in the moment, it will also aid your long-term memory. Try more effective and efficient methods, such as a Spaced Repetition Software SRS , and you will be pleasantly surprised with the amount of information your brain holds on to.
Play around with new words and phrases. This simple exercise can help prevent you from going on autopilot while studying by honing in on every step of the learning process. All learning is not created equal. In fact, most of the time we learn in a passive style that lacks any kind of critical thought. Think of that professor you had in the past who conducted lessons by parroting words from the textbook. There is no classroom engagement, dialogue or discussion. Become an active learner. The brain works on a use-it-or-lose-it style, meaning you must apply whatever you learn.
After memorizing a new phrase, say it aloud 30 times. After learning how to write a new Mandarin character , rewrite it 20 times. And then use the new phrase or character in a real situation: with a language partner or writing online to a native speaker, for example.
The key is to implement what you learn until it sticks. To make words and phrases stick quickly, a great tool for some in context active learning is FluentU. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized and engaging language learning lessons. Learning the words and phrases through authentic videos makes them stick easily, making you learn faster. Hobbies are activities we enjoy doing at our own leisure. This mentality may seem trivial, but it can mean the difference between you spending five months and five years when learning a new language.
Make language learning a passion. Merge the fun of language learning with the commitment to follow through. Knowing that you want to learn a new language is not enough to get us to actually take action. Give yourself clarity on what exactly compels you to learn a new language. How will learning a new language open opportunities in your future? Simply answering these questions for yourself will motivate you on much higher level to take action when necessary. These could be related to your work or to your leisure activities.
Use flashcards and spaced repetition. Flashcards are quite possibly the most effective way to memorise language.
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You can also use flashcard apps such as Anki. Use a notebook and take it everywhere. Write down relevant vocabulary you come across whenever you are exposed to the language. Whilst you can use an online dictionary to find translations, I recommend writing the words down in a notebook rather than recording them on a device. Studies have demonstrated that when you write rather than type, your ability to recall information improves significantly.
Researchers believe that this is because writing is slower and involves deeper mental processing. It has never been easier to learn a language without actually travelling to a country where it is spoken. This is because there are now tons of free reading and listening resources that you can access online.
The Ultimate Language Learning Guide: How to Learn Any Language Fast
Use them to immerse yourself in the language every day. If you go to this page of our website, you can find lists of the best free resources for each of the languages Lingoci offers. Ideally, you should use language resources that are just one level above your own. In linguistics, resources at this level are known as comprehensible input. Put simply, this means that you should only just be able to understand whatever you are reading or listening to. You should be outside of your comfort zone, but you should know just enough of the language to enable you to understand and interpret new language.
In terms of format, radio and podcasts are great when you have at least an intermediate level, but TV and films are preferable at the start. This is because the images provide you with context that helps you understand the language. One thing I specifically recommend is watching the international news. News presenters speak very clearly, so you will have a better chance of understanding. Also, due to the international focus you will already know some of the news stories. The images, combined with the clear speech and your background knowledge, will help you follow along and pick up new words — even if your level is very basic.
The good thing about radio and podcasts is that you can listen whilst commuting or doing other things. As explained in the last section, all you need is access to the internet for improving your reading and listening skills. Speaking, on the other hand, is still best practiced with another human being. There are three main options here.
The free option is to find native speakers to converse with. Sites like Meetup. Another option is to go to group classes. These can be nice from a social perspective, but if your goal is to practice speaking, they are not ideal as you will have to take it in turns with other learners. Also, classes often move as slowly as the slowest student. However, the most efficient option is to take 1-on-1 lessons. Educational research has highlighted the importance of feedback in mastering skills. To rapidly improve your speaking skills, you need to push yourself to make mistakes and receive accurate feedback so that you learn to make fewer mistakes.
An exchange partner can provide some feedback, but because they usually only know their language implicitly, they may not be able to provide clear explanations. This is why having a personal tutor is the ideal way to improve your ability to speak a language. This is understandable as it takes confidence to try to speak a new language. But if your goal is to be able to speak at a conversational level, you should start practicing from day one.
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The more mistakes you make, the faster you will gain feedback and improve. Give it a try to boost your confidence and help you improve your pronunciation. Earlier, I highlighted why it usually makes sense to focus on reaching conversational fluency, rather than native level fluency. This is because it is all most people need, and through immersive learning it can be attained within just 12 months.
All too often, people give up learning a language because they study boring textbooks and try to rely on their willpower to keep going. This is why you need to enjoy yourself throughout. I hope you found this guide useful. If you did, put your new knowledge to use by taking action. Start building those daily learning habits. And of course, if you are serious about achieving conversational fluency as quickly as possible, try taking lessons with a native tutor via Lingoci.
You can book a trial session here. Use Scan QR Code to copy link and share it. How To Learn Languages Fast.