As the world grows more interconnected, knowing another language becomes more vital. While it’s an important skill, that doesn’t mean acquiring it will be straightforward. Learning anything takes time, dedication, and an intelligent approach that ranges from using the best online tutoring platform to meeting with study buddies in real life. Let’s take a look at five ways to speed up the learning curve.
1. Use the language as much as possible
One of the biggest obstacles for beginner language learners is a lack of confidence. You fear that you’ll either say the wrong word or mispronounce the right word. The only way to overcome that is by overcoming the fear of making mistakes.
Luckily, all that takes is using the language a lot. The first few mistakes might be uncomfortable, but you’ll quickly get over them. Plus, as you fix mispronunciations, you won’t mispronounce them anymore!
2. Learn the most common words
Not all words are made equal, so you don’t have to know all the words in a language to be “fluent.” For example, most native-born English speakers don’t know the meaning of “deliquescent” and “tintinnabulation,” yet they speak the language perfectly well. The same principle applies to Spanish, Russian, German, Mandarin, and many more.
Instead of trying to learn all the words, learn the most common words. Focus on mastering the top 100 words, then expand that to the 500 or 1,000 most common words. With that down, you’ll be able to handle conversations with most people.
3. Watch media in your target language
One of the many reasons English is so popular worldwide is that Hollywood movies are so popular worldwide. As a result, the fun catchphrases of action movies have been heard (and mimicked) by kids and teens in China, Colombia, Croatia, and elsewhere.
If you want to master a new language fast, consider watching movies in your target language. First, watch a small scene with subtitles. Then, look up any words you don’t know and try to pronounce them correctly. Finally, rewatch the scene without subtitles.
4. Find a language buddy
Although you can make a lot of progress by studying alone, words are meant to be shared with others, so it’s helpful to practice with people who know your target language. Luckily, the internet provides ample opportunity for this through language exchange apps.
If you’d prefer to practice your new language in real life, visit local places where people speak your target language. If it’s Spanish, cruise down to a Mexican restaurant and try to chat. If it’s Mandarin, then an Asian grocery store may be helpful.
5. Read a book
Some people are great at listening to a new language and repeating it back. Others enjoy seeing it written down so they can better understand what it looks like. If that’s you, pick up a book in your target language and read a bit.
Select something you’re genuinely interested in reading. For example, if you like comic books, try out a comic in your target language. Alternatively, try reading a translation of a book you already love. Once you’ve chosen the right book, start small by reading one chapter or section without stopping. Then, go back and reread. When you come across unknown words, stop to look them up. Move on to the next section, and follow the same process.
Although you’re not going to master a new language overnight, with the five tips above, you’ll pick it up much faster – and have fun along the way!