This post was most recently updated on February 2nd, 2022
[ A collaboration post with Day Translations – all thoughts are my own.]
Learning a new language is a dream for many. If your name is not Harry Potter, chances are you didn’t enter this world already mastering Parseltongue. Hell yeah, I want to be able to speak with animals. Or any other language for that matter. Although at some point we feel like we were born knowing our mother tongue, the situation is far from being so.
This is actually great news! This means that we have real chances of mastering a second or a third language. All we need are some tactics on how to learn a language fast.
After all, with every language you choose to study, there’ll always be new things you can learn. Honestly, there’s no ‘finish line’ when it comes to learning a language. You can learn and practice more languages for the rest of your life.
Identify your learning style
Before learning a new language, you need to discover the dominant learning style that can help you speed up the learning process. How do you prefer to learn? Here are the main individualized learning styles:
- Visual (spatial): you learn using pictures, images, and spatial understanding
- Aural (auditory-musical): you learn using sound and music
- Verbal (linguistic): you learn using words, both in speech and writing
- Physical (kinesthetic): you learn using your body, hands and sense of touch
- Logical (mathematical): you learn using logic, reasoning and systems
- Social (interpersonal): you learn better in groups or with other people
- Solitary (intrapersonal): you prefer to work alone and use self-study
I prefer to study alone by watching Youtube (visual). This helps me to stay focused on learning a new language. Some people that I knew like to learn something using logic, in groups, or using images. Find your learning style and use it to become conversational.
Enjoy books, tv series, films and music in the target language
Find something you enjoy doing – like reading a book or watching a film – and try to associate this action with the language you want to learn. Help your brain understand that this is not something you do because you have to, but because it’s fun.
Plan your way to the end goal
Learning a new language in the quickest and easiest way possible is just like driving: if you don’t know exactly where you want to go, you’ll never be able to power full speed ahead and get there.
Build a learning schedule that works backward from your ‘deadline’ date, helping you to jump from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ in the time you’ve got. If your deadline to master French is by the end of 2022, you have to set a regular schedule. You may set an hour per day to learn French and practice your speaking with your French buddy.
If you find yourself using a phrase or question frequently in your own language, find out how to say it in your target language. It can be very interesting to see how it translates into another language. It’s also another way to pick up language buddies.
Post a question on Twitter “How do you say…. in French” for example and you will get some amazing answers. People are very generous and you will get some excellent suggestions. I like to do this when I have a question about phrases in English I don’t understand. For example, when I asked whether to use Fall or Autumn in my blog post. Many kind people will expand the answer and you will learn much more than just the phrase you were asking about.
Get a language buddy
You can use Facebook or Twitter to find a language buddy very easily, and you can chat with them in your target language using a free messenger service or a dating app like Tinder. Even better, if you can arrange a coffee meeting with your language buddy, although that might not necessarily be possible.
If practicing with one native speaker gives you a leg up, when you’re pressed for time, meeting, befriending, and spending time chatting to lots of native speakers will give you a huge advantage.
If you can do this, it has the advantage of you being able to hear a native speaker speak and you can copy their pronunciation, from their accent to their intonation. If it is not possible, free services such as Skype can be just as good. Just make sure you set up a regular time with your language buddy and stick with it.
Not only will you continue to boost your confidence, but you’ll develop even more motivation to power through your learning.
Learning a language used to be hard. You had to find the right textbooks and great motivation. Today, it can be very easy. If you have an Internet connection, you have all the resources you need to become fluent in your target language very quickly.
But, language learning still needs you to adopt the principles of P.A.C.T (patience, action, consistency, and time). You need to be patient, take action consistently every day over a period of time. With time and a purpose, you will quickly learn a new language and begin making new friends, discovering a new culture, and adding a new skill to your repertoire. Good luck!