A new language can be an asset in a number of ways. You can enjoy smoother vacations to more countries, explore a larger babe pool around the world and try out an abundant list of new job opportunities (to name a few). Regardless of your incentive, you probably want to learn your new language as quickly as possible, right? Well, if you want to pick it up in a snap, here are 8 foreign language learning hacks to do it right.
1. Learn Common Words & Phrases
Picking up the most commonly used words and phrases will get you past much of the hump in learning a new language. Think about what you say most often in your native tongue and start there.
It’s also super helpful to know, “How do I say (fill in the blank)?” This sweet little phrase will help you when you’re stuck, and will go a long way in building your vocabulary.
2. Read in the Language
Think back to when you were learning your native language. Reading helped you pick up new words, right? Well, it will work the same in your new language. Start off with easy material like children’s literature, keep your pocket dictionary close by and be prepared for frustration (and then progress!).
3. Immerse Yourself in the Language
Traveling to a country that speaks your language is a great way to learn it quickly and authentically. There will be plenty of people to listen to and converse with. Plus, signage and most other written materials will be in the language, challenging you to read more foreign words.
4. Converse Often
Simply traveling to a place that speaks the language won’t be enough. You really have to try to use the language and converse, converse, converse with the locals. Ask them questions about words you don’t know and use them as resources for your learning.
Even if you can’t travel, conversing is so important that you should seek out ways to do it from home. There are a number of language exchange groups online, allowing you to chat with a companion through your computer.
5. Forget Your Dignity
As you begin to converse (as much as possible) in your new language, you will feel stupid. Often. That’s all part of the experience. There will be phrases you don’t know, you will trip over words and you may even accidently slip something inappropriate into your conversation. Leave your dignity behind and proceed on the rocky path to success.
6. Download a Translator App
Almost everyone keeps a phone in hand at all times nowadays, right? So downloading a translator app is both helpful and convenient. You can, of course, opt for an old-fashioned pocket dictionary if you so desire. Regardless, having a vocabulary assistant right on your person will come in handy as you crutch your way through conversation after conversation.
7. Don’t Trust the Classroom
If you really want to learn a foreign language fast, don’t trust a class to make you fluent. Time in a classroom doesn’t allow for much authentic language learning. You need conversation and listening, not testing and memorizing lists. So don’t shell out money for a class. Instead, take to the streets or connect with a native speaker online.
8. Listen to the Language Incessantly
As you’re falling asleep at night, during your commute or during any other downtime, you should listen to the language as much as possible. Music, television programs and audio books are all excellent resources to listen your way to better vocabulary, grammar and overall fluency.
You can see that none of these tricks will be effortless; learning a new language takes work. However, these tips will help you to pick up the language faster and more efficiently, and will have you on the road to fluency in a flash.