Perhaps you should learn a new language in order to communicate with people during a future trip. Or to take on additional responsibilities at work, or in order to read your favorite literary works in the original language.
Whatever the reason for learning a new language, you’ll probably agree that you almost always want to learn a foreign language faster.
On the other hand, learning a language is not a quick thing, especially if you start from scratch. You will have to tighten up your grammar, remember the vocabulary, and talk more with native speakers.
On the other hand, learning a new language does not have to be a difficult and time-consuming process. Although nothing can replace hard work and the necessary effort, you can quickly learn a new foreign language if you use the right approach and techniques. Devote yourself completely to the process.
Today let’s break down the easiest way to learn a new language into ten simple steps.
Step 1: Determine your language learning objectives
Setting goals that you want to achieve is the first step to learning a new language quickly. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. If you don’t set goals, how will you know what you want to achieve and when you will achieve it?
The thought of learning a new language scares most of us. There are a lot of new words to memorize and a lot of techniques to learn. Setting goals allows you to focus your attention, so you can stop thinking about trivial things and get to work productively.
According to research, people who set the right goals are more likely to succeed.
Follow these tips to get the most out of your goals:
- Focus on achieving accurate, quantifiable results.
- Set specific goals and focus on what you want to learn, not how much time you want to devote to learning. For example, “This week I will learn 30 vocabulary phrases in German related to shopping” is a good goal.
- Make a list of your short-term goals. It’s helpful to have a long-term goal in mind — something you want to achieve in the future. On the other hand, long-term goals are too scary to motivate you every day. Defining weekly or monthly goals after you’ve decomposed your overall goal into smaller goals is a good idea. Decomposing helps keep you motivated to learn a new language.
- Test your abilities (but not too much). The most successful goals are those that motivate you to improve yourself. However, they can hinder you if they are too threatening. Setting goals with a wide range of outcomes is a great way around this problem. You can say, “This week I want to learn 30–50 new vocabulary phrases.”. The lower the number, the more likely the goal is achievable. However, the higher the number, the more likely you are to push yourself.
- Make a list of your goals. Making a list of goals can help you stay on track. Post your goals in a prominent place, such as on your bathroom mirror or on your smartphone’s home screen.
Step 2: Select your study subjects with care
You can learn a language faster if you use the most effective teaching methods.
For example, flashcards are a great way to learn vocabulary phrases. Flashcards allow you to focus on certain terms as well as test yourself, which helps you remember new vocabulary.
Electronic flashcards are a great choice. While paper flashcards are still important, electronic flashcard systems like Langavia Personal Dictionary offer many advantages. On your computers, smartphones or tablets, you can easily carry around large stacks of electronic flashcards you’ve created yourself. In addition, such apps offer a more advanced approach to the process of memorizing words than simply flipping a card. For example, Langavia offers innovative learning technology that allows you to learn new words faster without forgetting old ones.
In addition to flashcards, here are some other great methods for learning new vocabulary:
- Visualize what you want to say and say it out loud. Visualize the new word you are learning and the picture it denotes and say it out loud. This helps you connect with your thoughts and can help with memorization.
- Your brain learns better if you exercise while you study. Pointing with your finger can take advantage of this. For example, if you study German, say the word “Der Stuhl” (“a chair”) while pointing to a nearby chair with your finger.
- Use the words you are learning to express yourself. Because you do not yet have enough vocabulary to build complex sentences, you may find it difficult to practice words in context when learning a new language. To get around this problem, simply use the word in your native language. If you are learning the Spanish phrase “casa” (“a house”), you might say, “I’m on my way to my casa now.
- Compose statements that include the new word, its description, and a similar-sounding phrase from your native language. For example, if you want to learn the Spanish word mesa (“a table”), think of an equivalent English phrase and make a sentence like “My kitchen mesa is always a mess!” You may find it easier to remember the new name since “mess” and “mesa” sound so similar.
Step 3: Get the “right” vocabulary
The number of words in the language is staggering. In English, for example, there are 600,000 to 1 million words.
You don’t need to learn that many words to master the language. Considering this: the top 100 words make up about half of all English-language texts, and the top 1,000 words make up almost all of the rest!
By focusing on learning these phrases first, you can save time and increase the amount of knowledge you will quickly acquire.
Step 4: Begin using the phrase throughout the day on a daily basis
Trying to use language throughout the day may seem daunting to a beginner, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds. There are many simple, even enjoyable, ways to incorporate language into your daily life.
For beginners, take advantage of any opportunity to learn new terminology. Take the flashcards app with you and study new vocabulary while waiting for a friend, on the train, or bus.
When active learning becomes too difficult for you, switch to passive learning by doing things in the language you are learning that you normally do in your native language. Try watching a movie or Youtube show in the target language or listening to a radio show.
You can find intriguing audio and video clips on various websites. For instance, you can go to YouTube, search for radio stations on the Internet.
You may ask, “How can I watch a movie or listen to the radio if I only know a few words?”
When you’re just starting out, the goal is to become familiar with the sounds of the language, not to understand everything you hear. Even if you don’t understand much of what you hear, simple listening has a number of benefits, including:
- the flow of language becomes more familiar;
- your recognizing and understanding commonly used terms get better;
- you automatically start to grasp the meanings of words by getting the main context of phrases.
Step 5: Retain your motivation
Look for opportunities to get real-life experience.
Real-life situations, especially when you have no choice but to use a foreign language, are some of the best motivators.
The most effective way to get real-life experience is to travel or study abroad. Traveling abroad allows you to be surrounded by people who speak the language you want to learn, many of whom don’t even understand your native language.
This method is used by many organizations, which often place employees with little or no knowledge of the language in a fully immersive environment. While these conditions can be frustrating, they can also be a great way to learn quickly.
Even if you don’t have the opportunity to travel abroad, you can immerse yourself in real-life situations that will give you valuable language practice. Consider the following opportunities:
- Meetings with native speakers on a monthly or bi-weekly basis are welcome. You can pay a native speaker or offer to exchange one hour of practice in the language you want to learn for one hour of practice in your native language.
- Participation in discussion groups. Many cities and schools have conversation clubs where foreign language students can regularly practice informal conversations in the language they are learning.
- Taking advantage of an online tutor.
- Volunteering with local immigrants is a great way to help your community. Contact organizations that help immigrants who speak the language you want to learn.
- Visiting neighborhoods where your language is spoken by the majority of the population. Perhaps there is an Italian restaurant nearby where you can enjoy great food while practicing Italian with the waiters or owners, or a grocery store where you can practice Chinese with the local Chinese community.
Step 6: Research the culture
To master a language, you need to do more than just read the words on the page. It is very important to understand the culture and history of these phrases. For example, this approach is especially welcome when learning Japanese, because Japanese characters are based on ideograms. In other words, the hieroglyphs describe some idea of the object they represent, which is closely related to Japanese history.
Understanding the history of a country or culture, current events, religious beliefs and customs can help you understand a lot of what people say and do.
According to research, children learn to read better in a second language if they understand the culture and context of the materials they are reading.
As you begin to learn a language, take the time to learn about the culture of the people who speak it. Don’t consider it a waste of time if it requires reading and watching movies in your native language. It will be very beneficial for you and may even keep you from making embarrassing and possibly offensive mistakes.
Step 7: Begin practicing proper pronunciation as soon as possible
If you put it off, you will acquire bad habits that will make the process of learning correct pronunciation much more difficult than it needs to be. Watch YouTube videos of native speakers demonstrating how unique sounds are pronounced until you can distinguish and pronounce each one. If you come across a complete overview of the phonology of the language, be sure to read it carefully.
It may seem like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. A few hours spent seriously studying pronunciation can have a significant impact. As a beginner, you may not be able to pronounce every sound perfectly, but you will notice significant progress.
In our application, all flashcards (for the most common languages) are accompanied by an audio file with the pronunciation of the phrase you are learning.
You can listen to the pronunciation of words right in the Langavia language cards
Step 8: Put your knowledge to the test
Knowing that you have a test to take is a great way to motivate yourself to prepare more thoroughly.
Try testing yourself regularly in small ways. If you’re studying from a textbook, take practice exams or complete the assignments at the end of each chapter. You can also use the Internet to take exams and tests. Practice exams online are available for virtually every language, including French, Spanish, Japanese, and German.
Taking a standardized test a few months or a year after you start learning a new language can help keep you motivated, and the results can help you “prove” your level of language to potential employers, educational institutions, or even yourself.
The ACTFL OPI is well known and respected in the language learning community. It assesses your speaking ability and gives you a score from novice to superior.
You can also use standardized language exams, among which you can find, for example, the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) and the HSK (Chinese Language Proficiency Test). Ask about the tests offered by teachers or language specialists.
Step 9: Have some fun
We learn best when we have fun, so make learning a language enjoyable for yourself.
Games are a great way to learn while also having a good time. Because they tap into our natural excitement, games can help us practice our language skills even when we are tired. By the way, games are a great source to get new vocabulary words.
You can also focus your studies on areas that interest you, such as a favorite hobby.
Learn boxing terminology in the language you are learning, watch boxing instructional videos, and interact with boxers who speak your language if you enjoy getting in the ring.
If you are learning French and are interested in French politics, learn the language used to explain political processes and immerse yourself in articles on political topics, films on political debates, and discussion programs on current events.
Finally, make friends with those who speak your language or are interested in learning it. Of course, languages are meant to be learned only by yourself. But learning a language becomes more interesting and rewarding through communication and real-life social activities.
Try to strike up a conversation with strangers and learn about their lives and culture.
You’ll be surprised at how willingly people share their knowledge with you and how quickly you can form strong bonds.
Step 10: Don’t worry about not being perfect
If you want to learn a language as quickly as possible, forget about perfection. Although perfectionism cannot be called a flaw, it inhibits the progress of many ambitious students. For someone whose idea of success is getting it right the first time, even a small setback can seem overwhelming.
If you are afraid of failing, you will be hesitant to try something new and take risks that can lead to valuable learning opportunities.
One of the keys to faster learning is the ability to accept mistakes. Rather than seeing them as evidence of your ineptitude, see them as a useful source of knowledge.
Of course, it will take perseverance to overcome the various obstacles that arise when learning a foreign language, but don’t get stuck on any one difficulty for too long or try to learn everything in one go. If you want to learn a language as quickly as possible and make the most of your study time, you need to know when to stop and move on to other productive activities.
You don’t have to finish every course you sign up for, read every book you start, or master every deck of flashcards. Everything you take on has a point where the benefits diminish. So if you suspect that what you’re doing now isn’t the most effective way to get to the next level of knowledge, it’s usually a good idea to take a break and reconsider your plan.
Finally, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. We understand how hard it is to overcome your anxiety about embarrassing yourself in front of people. You will have a much better chance of overcoming your anxiety if you at least acknowledge how unfounded it is. Speakers won’t think less of you if you make a few mistakes, and other students will admire your effort and persistence.
FAQ about the fastest way of language learning
By the way, we have a special article dedicated to this topic. You can read it there.