While we all certainly wish that languages could be automatically downloaded into our brains so we could be fluent instantly, unfortunately we haven’t quite got that far with technology. Learning a language still takes a good amount of elbow grease. But it can still be a really fun process!
As a person who’s now working on learning a third foreign language (Spanish in school and university, German in a language school after moving to Germany, and now Turkish for my partner’s family), I can definitely say that after you get the first one down, it gets much easier. You start to understand what and how you as an individual learn best.
As a native English speaker and English teacher myself, I will admit that there is no one recipe. Everyone learns a little bit differently. The huge factor, though, is time. The more time you invest into learning a language, the faster you can learn it. So, here are a few tips for becoming fluent in English in 3 months. I feel your struggle, but it is possible!
1. Define what “fluent” means for you
To start off, let’s first define the word “fluent”. According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, a person is fluent in a language when they are “capable of using a language easily and accurately”. That definition is pretty vague and can mean different things for different people.
As a result, my first advice is to make your own definition of fluent. Does it mean that you can sit at a table full of English native speakers and keep up with the conversation? Does it mean you can speak with clients over the phone in business English easily and comfortably? Or maybe you need a certain level of English for a particular test?
Whatever your purpose is for learning English, rather than saying “I need to become fluent”, ask yourself questions like the examples above and set your goals based on this. By setting your own goals for fluency, it’s easier to track how close you are to achieving them and you also feel more accomplished once you get there.
2. Learn grammar basics
Every language has its tricky points, and English is absolutely no exception. Maybe you’ve considered learning particular phrases and vocabulary in app. While that can get you started, many apps don’t explain grammar in depth enough for you to begin creating sentences of your own, which is essential for language fluency.
Here is where a platform like the Lingoda Language Sprint propels you forward. You have a chance to ask teachers the particular ins and outs of grammar with real life examples. You can also choose from particular grammar topics that are the most relevant for you. By no means do you need to become a grammar master (I actually advise against this), but focusing on the grammar basics from the beginning will help you develop your own thought processes in that language versus memorizing a bunch of long phrases.
3. Get a tandem partner
- Search for someone who is an English native speaker and wants to learn a language you are already fluent in (there are many Facebook groups for this).
- Meet once a week for a minimum of 60 minutes.
- Within this time, speak 30 minutes of English and then 30 minutes of your tandem partner’s required language.
Speaking with a tandem partner once a week gives you the opportunity to speak outside of a regulated class setting and learn how English native speakers communicate in real life. When done in addition to Lingoda’s Language Sprint, it’s a surefire way to get you closer to achieving your English fluency goals within 3 months.
4. Learn something new every day
I know, I know everyone’s advice for learning a language is to practice a lot. But I will still repeat it and add one small tidbit. Not only should you review what you’ve been learning in classes or other methods on a daily basis, you should strive to incorporate new things as well. If your goal is to become fluent in English in 3 months, you definitely need to do this every day. My favourite example is to add 10 new vocabulary words I’ve written down from a Netflix show, something I’ve read, or something I’ve heard a native speaker say, and then add these into a growing list that I review on a regular basis. On an important note, if your list has gotten too big and you feel overwhelmed, you may want to try “chunking” to help keep everything straight.
5. Write everything down
This point connects to the previous one, because you can’t keep track of what you’ve learned and what you still need to learn if you don’t write it down. When I was teaching English, it was often the case that the students would come empty-handed to class – not even a notebook and pen! I advised everyone during our first lesson to write down as much as possible, including what I wrote on the board, new vocabulary, grammar instructions, etc. and to continually review them. It was always clear that the students who took the best notes learned more quickly. When you write something down, it reminds your brain a second time and also makes it easy to review later on.