Have At Least One Hobby Related To Each Language
Granted, that might add up to a lot of hobbies if you speak six or seven languages! However, a hobby related to your target language provides a crucial part of your emotional connection to the language. They are also a potent reminder that learning a language isnt always an end in and of itself, it is a means of connecting with another culture and communicating with people.
Whats a language-related hobby? Lets say you practice tai chi and speak Chinese. The fact that you speak Chinese opens up new opportunities for studying tai chi. The reverse is also trueattending a tai chi course in China will give you more opportunities for studying Chinese, since studying tai chi with Chinese classmates opens up otherwise inaccessible opportunities for friendship.
Here are some examples of hobbies that can be enhanced by language learning:
- Cooking. Perhaps I think of it because I love to cook, but a love of cuisine is the perfect match for polyglots, because it can be synergistic with all of your languages. Watch cooking shows in French, study cooking in Chinese, read Russian cookbooks. All languages have a matching cuisine, and if you know the language youll have a lot more resources available to you when it comes to learning about the cuisine.
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Carry A Pocket Dictionary
This made a much bigger difference than I expected.
I carry an English-Spanish dictionary app on my phone and I used it all the time when I lived in Spanish-speaking countries. My first two weeks in Brazil, I was lazy and kept forgetting to download an English-Portuguese application. I struggled in my conversations A LOT during those two weeks, despite knowing basic Portuguese.
Once I downloaded the dictionary, there was an immediate difference. Having it on your phone is great, because it takes two seconds to look something up in the middle of conversation. And because youre using it in conversation, youre that much more likely to recall it later.
Even something that simple affected my conversations and ability to interact with locals a great deal.
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Find Your Saturation Point Through Immersion
Another excellent method for making fast progress is intensive immersion. And yes, you can achieve this wherever you are!
With intensive immersion, you dont ease up one bit on the target language. Make every area of your life part of your language program. That means you should listen to the news and music in the language, speak only the languagejust make every option available in only the target language!
Create a period of relentless study and so much language it feels like on-site immersion. And when you think you cant stand one more bit of the language? Thats the time to intensify your study.
Force your brain to begin thinking and responding in the target language.
Consider every minute of the day prime time for language study, and that includes your nighttime hours, too. I know a number of language learners who adhere to the technique of listening to languages while theyre sleeping. Play music, turn on some lessons or let the foreign-language films play while you rest.
Start Using The Language All Day Every Day
As a beginner, it can seem overwhelming to try to use the language all day, but its not as difficult as it seems. There are many easy and even fun ways to make the language a part of your regular life.
First, make use of every moment you have to learn new words. Take flashcards with you, and study them during your train or bus commute or when youre waiting to meet a friend.
When you start to feel tired, switch from active learning to passive learning by doing what you would normally do in your native language in your target language. Try watching a video or TV show, or streaming radio broadcasts in your target language.
There are many online resources to access entertaining audio and video clips. You can go to , search for radio stations and discover more native language content on the internet.
You may be asking, How can I possibly watch a video or listen to the radio when I only know a handful of words?
Thats where a program like FluentU comes in handy. With the FluentU program, you can watch content in your target language and understand everything thanks to accurate, interactive subtitles. This includes TV show clips, news segments, funny commercials and other native language media.
Besides having subtitles in English and your target language, the FluentU video player also lets you see the definition of any word at a click.
So dont neglect your listening skills, because listening to your target language can have many positive effects, including:
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Do Or Do Choose Languages From The Same Language Family
Here’s another debate from the internet: Should you learn languages that are closely related? Or is that confusing?
Or should you choose two completely different languages?
Either way, we found no evidence that you would be likely to “do it wrong”. Building confidence and working at different levels in different languages is beneficial, and you can definitely mix an “easy language” with a “hard language”.
But ultimately, language choice should not be about easy vs. hard. It should be about which language you WANT TO learn right now, what you will enjoy the most.
And when it comes to confusing and forgetting the vocabulary, our experience says that this will happen no matter what you do.
Either way you do it, it’s definitely a DO. Just give this a go, consider what you are most interested in, and trust that good planning, consistent tracking, and regular reviews will guide you through.
Do What Makes You Comfortable
Theres no right or wrong way to go about learning multiple languages at a time. If you prefer learning one at a time, go for it. If youd rather put your time and energy into learning all your target languages at once, just as long as you know your progress will be slower, thats fine too. Heres a blog post that summarizes everything on making time for languages in a busy day/life.
And heres a helpful video on fitting languages in a busy day!
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Break Down Your Big Goals Into Mini
Research shows that people who break down big tasks into little chunks get more done in the long run.
One study used maths problems to prove this point by creating two groups of people. One group was given six pages of maths problems per session over seven sessions. The participants in the other group got the 42 pages from the start.
The first group completed the pages faster and more accurately than the second one.
Breaking down the task is essential in something like language learning, where the outcome feels big and scary.
Instead of trying to speak German, aim for something smaller and more concrete, like having a 15-minute conversation in German. Come up with a plan to get there, like studying 30 minutes a day with your apps and resources you picked out .
Tips To Learn A Language Fast
Looking to expand your horizons by learning a new language? Well, theres no better way to learn how to do something than to get advice from somebody who has done so successfully themselves. To that end, here are 10 language learning tips from Olly Richards, who has done it not once, not twice, but eight times.
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Reminders On Why You Should Learn A Second Language Now
We have broken down the benefits of learning a second language and becoming bilingual in a highly globalized world.
The truth is, learning new skills every day enhances all aspects of your life. By learning new skills, you can increase your career opportunities, find out more about the world around you, and be a better person overall.
We highly encourage you to start learning a new language as early in your life as possible. However, you are never too old to learn! The world moves fast, and we must keep up with the changes – by developing new skills, learning more about ourselves, and also, learning a new language!
Preface By Tim Ferriss
Ive written about how I learned to speak, read, and write Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish. Ive also covered my experiments with German, Indonesian, Arabic, Norwegian, Turkish, and perhaps a dozen others.
There are only few language learners who dazzle me, and Benny Lewis is one of them.
This definitive guest post by Benny will teach you:
- How to speak your target language today.
- How to reach fluency and exceed it within a few months.
- How to pass yourself off as a native speaker.
- And finally, how to tackle multiple languages to become a polyglotall within a few years, perhaps as little as 1-2.
It contains TONS of amazing resources I never even knew existed, including the best free apps and websites for becoming fluent in record time. Want to find a native speaker to help you for $5 per hour? Free resources and memory tricks? Its all here.
This is a post you all requested, so I hope you enjoy it!
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Learn About The Culture
Understanding a language is about more than understanding words on a page. Its important to learn about the culture and history associated with these words.
Knowing something about a country or cultures history, current events, religious beliefs and common customs can help you understand a lot about what people say and do.
Researchers have found that children learn to read in a second language better when they understand the culture and context behind the pieces they read.
As you begin to study a new language, take some time to learn about the culture of the people who speak that language. Dont feel this is a waste of time, even if it involves reading and watching videos in your native language. It will help you enormously and can even prevent you from making embarrassing and potentially offensive mistakes.
Build A Multilingual Family
Aside from work, though, we tend to spend a lot of time with our families. Ideally, polyglots will be able to use family time as language time, too. If you happen to marry someone who speaks one of your target languages , good for you. It will make it a little easier to practice that language. But its certainly not a requirement for multilingualism.
However, spouses are an important part of your family, and ideally polyglots are going to want a spouse that at least appreciates multilingualism. Even if your spouse speaks the same native language as you, its great if he or she speaks at least one other language.
Children also represent both challenges and opportunities for polyglots, and using your children to help advance your language goals doesnt require restricting who you can marry. To take advantage of the language potential of raising children, make teaching them your target languages a priority. Here are a couple ways to do so:
- Hire nannies who speak one of your target languages, and instruct him or her to use that language with your child.
- Read childrens books in your target languages with your kids.
- Enroll your kids in an immersion programthey will probably be teaching you new words within a couple of years and parent-teacher conferences will suddenly become language practice opportunities.
Classes Suck And Are An Inefficient Use Of Time And Money
All things considered, you get a really poor return for your time and effort in group classes.
There are two problems. The first is that the class moves at the pace of its slowest student. The second is that learning a foreign language is a fairly personal processeveryone naturally learns some words or topics easier than others, therefore a class is not going to be able to address each students personal needs as well or in a timely fashion.
For instance, when I took Russian classes I found verb conjugations to be simple because I had already learned Spanish. But an English classmate struggled quite a bit with them. As a result, I spent a lot of my class time waiting around for him to catch up.
I also had a German classmate who had already been exposed to cases, whereas I had no clue what they were. Im sure he ended up waiting around for me to figure it out as well. The larger the classroom, the less efficient its going to be. Anyone who had to take a foreign language in school and retained absolutely none of it can tell you this.
How Many Hours A Day Do You Have To Study The Language
The total amount of hours needed to learn a language is very handy when you try to estimate how much time your task will really take.
But, hey, there are 24 hours in a day does it mean that you can learn Spanish in 25 days?
Well, if you dont need to sleep
When publishing this study, FSI gave not only the total of hours but also the total of weeks needed to make you a fully bilingual servant of US Foreign Affairs system.
The main assumption of their Schoold of Language Studies was that you would study your target language for 25 hours a week. This comes to approximately 3,5 hours every day or to 5 hours from Monday to Friday.
These are pretty severe conditions, nest-ce pas?
However, take into account our tendecy to forget 60% of words youve just learned after just one hour unless you use special strategies to memorize new vocabulary. Take into account our tendency to shift to our first language as we have hard time accessing information or explaning something serious. Take into account our natural tendency to procrastinate, after all!
You will come to the conclusion that you really need to make an effort and fully immerse yourself in a new language on regular basis.
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Focus On Real Concentrated Study Not Cheap Hacks
Just like anything that requires hard work, theres no shortage of myths and shortcuts floating around in the public discourse on learning a language quickly. But the truth is that with language learning, you wont get results by putting in the minimum amount of effort.
So, can you learn a language while sleeping or is it a waste of time? Richards doesnt hesitate to answer: A waste of time.
Got it lets move on.
Keep Practicing The New Language In Your Head
The other use for your dictionary is that you can practice while going about your day and not talking to anyone.
Challenge yourself to think in the new language. We all have monologues running in our head, and typically they run in our native tongue. You can continue to practice and construct sentences and fake conversations in your head in a new language.
In fact, this sort of visualization leads to much easier conversations when you actually have them.
For instance, you can envision and practice a conversation about a topic youre likely to have before you actually have it. You can begin to think about how you would describe your job and explain why youre in the foreign country in the new language.
Inevitably, those questions will come up and youll be ready to answer them.
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The Best Way To Learn A Language
Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. ?
What’s the best way to learn a language?
What’s the quickest way to learn new words?
How can I sound like a native speaker?
Do I really have to study grammar?
Language hackers ask themselves these kinds of questions all the time.
We all want to use effective study methods so we can learn a language fast and speak it well.
But many language teachers and programs are giving conflicting advice. How can we know if we’re spending our time on the right things?
Fortunately, language learners aren’t the only ones who’ve been puzzling over these questions.
Linguists, the people who study the science of language, have spent decades observing how people learn languages. And while they don’t have all the answers yet, they have discovered a lot about what works and what doesn’t.
So let’s take a look at some of the most common questions in language learning and what science has to say about them. We’ll also look at the scientifically proven best way to learn a language so we can become better language learners.
Figure Out Pronunciation Patterns
All Latin-based languages will have similar pronunciation patterns based on Latin words.
For instance, any word that ends in -tion in English will almost always end in -ción in Spanish and -ção in Portuguese.
English speakers are notorious for simply adding -o -e or -a to the end of English words to say Spanish words they dont know. But stereotypes aside, its surprising how often its correct. Destiny is destino, motive is motivo, part is parte and so on.
In Russian, case endings always rhyme with one another, so if you are talking about a feminine noun , then you know that the adjectives and adverbs will usually rhyme with its ending .
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