Need to learn a new language ASAP? It is possible if you practice often and are committed to improving. So, here are a few tips from an experienced language learner and teacher to help you achieve your language goals in a flash.
8 Ways to Learn a Language Fast
If you want to learn a new language quickly, you need to practice as much as possible. The more you practice, the faster you’ll learn. Practicing the language every single day should become your new habit, because that’s how you’ll begin to add it to your long-term memory. It’s a great idea to take classes every day, so you’re sure to learn something new that has been thoroughly explained. When you take classes with Lingoda, there are classes happening 24/7, meaning that you can even take multiple classes per day if you’d like.
1. Practice daily
You can also do a lot on your own for daily practice such as:
- Reading magazines or books
- Listening to podcasts or YouTube videos
- Watching Netflix in your target language (no subtitles in your native language)
- Creating and studying vocabulary and phrase flashcards
- Speaking with those around you
- Texting in your target language
2. Learn through immersion
As someone who participated in a language exchange programme in university and an expat who now lives abroad, I can 100% assure you that the fastest way to learn a language is through immersion. An immersion environment basically means that you spend 24/7 using your target language over a period of time. It works even better when those around you don’t speak your native language, so you have to focus on the vocabulary you know to convey your point. While this does sound challenging, you will feel quite accomplished once you get through it. Soon enough, you’ll be thinking and even dreaming in your new target language.
3. Understand how you learn best
Different people have different ways of learning. Some people need to watch others explain something and others need to do it themselves. In either case, taking classes from a platform for Lingoda was designed to be flexible for individual learning needs. No matter whether you take individual classes or group classes, classes are based on a particular topic and come with set learning materials. All teachers are native speakers and take the time to explain the topic and any related goals for that lesson. During the lesson, you’ll have a chance to listen to those explanations and take notes, speak directly with the teacher, and also speak with other classmates, giving you a well-rounded opportunity to learn how it suits you best.
4. Create clear goals
In order to understand your progress, you’ll need to give yourself tangible goals. This simultaneously pushes you to keep learning, while also giving you opportunities to celebrate particular milestones. Lingoda classes are based on CEFR levels, making it easy to understand how your language skills have progressed. You’re also not required to take classes at the same CEFR level. So for example, if you’re really great in grammar but struggle with speaking, you might take higher level grammar classes, but lower level speaking classes. This method ensures that all areas of the language are covered and you know which ones need more improvement.
5. Focus on the most important vocabulary
It’s not possible for anyone to know all the words of a language, even native speakers. It’s simply impractical anyways, because you probably won’t need it in daily life. If your goal is to learn quickly, then prioritise the most important vocabulary that you will use most often. If you’re learning business English, for example, then you probably want to focus on vocabulary related to your job. But if you’re learning a language for fun, you likely want to prioritise slang and informal vocabulary.
By the way, that’s the other advantage of learning a new language with Lingoda. All classes are broken down into unique topics: some for grammar, some for business, and even fun topics like philosophy. This makes it easy to learn the aspects of the language that are most relevant for you.
6. Prioritise fluency over perfection
Here’s something else that native speakers can’t manage: completely perfect grammar. Everyone makes mistakes when they speak. So when you’re learning a new language, being perfect shouldn’t be your goal either. It’s much more important to get your point across rather than spend ten times longer completing your sentence, because you want the grammar to be perfect. While you’re in class, yes, the teacher is often going to correct your grammar, and this is a good thing, because it’s how you learn. But in daily life, even at work or at university, the majority of people aren’t going to be listening to your grammar. They’re going to try to understand you so you can have a conversation. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make mistakes. I’ve actually found that the less I worry about making mistakes, the less I end up making them anyways.
7. Speak as often as possible
As a language teacher, I strongly believe that speaking is the key to learning a language properly. I think it’s because when you’re speaking, you really have to push yourself to find the right words quickly and use what you know. When you’re reading or writing, you have time to check a dictionary and think slowly about what you want to say. But when you’re having a real-time conversation, the other person is waiting on you to reply, which pushes you to answer. So the more you speak a language, the faster you’ll truly internalise it.
8. Think in the new language, not your native one
This last piece of advice I learned from my own German language learning experience. One of my German language teachers told us already in A1 to try to think in German. At first, I was shocked: “How can I do that at A1? I’m like a baby who can barely speak”. Later on I realised that she meant it more as a mindset hack. If you focus on learning a language by translating it, you will struggle to fully grasp it, because you’ll always approach the language from your native language. This makes you speak slower and make more mistakes. Now that my German has much improved, I see what she means. Whenever I speak German, I put myself into “German mode”. I think this even changes my personality a bit when I speak German, but that’s OK because it is a different language, meaning that it also comes from a different culture. Accepting the culture is what truly brings you fluency in the end.