There are multiple approaches that can work when learning a new language from scratch. The method that works best for you may not be the same as the method that works best for your siblings, your best friend or your partner. The key is to keep trying until you find the method you enjoy the most that provides the best and fastest results.
In this post, learn the top recommended approaches for learning any language fast.
There is something to be said for the full immersion method – when you really need to locate the restroom and no one speaks your language, you are more likely to learn the word for “bathroom” on your first attempt. But full immersion may not work well in a language with a structure very unlike your native tongue.
For example, the class of languages known as the “Romance” languages all share a similar structure and even some similar word spellings – this is because they all share Latin as their root language. If your native language is a Romance language, then you will be better positioned to learn Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Romanian quickly using a full immersion approach.
Apply the Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle, better known simply as the 80-20 rule, can be easily applied to learning a new language when you understand that 20 percent of your effort will represent approximately 80 percent of your results.
For instance, did you know that even in the English language – considered one of the most complex languages in the world for non-speakers to learn – uses just 300 words for an estimated 65 percent of all writing? So once you learn those 300 words, you are a good two-thirds of the way to being able to speak (and write) conversational English.
Find a Practice Partner
There are so many online resources today to help language learners practice. So as an example, if you are rushing to learn Spanish in advance of a big trip you have planned to visit Spain, you can benefit from practicing each day before you depart.
Simply Googling “how to find a language buddy” will bring up dozens of options for finding a practice partner to help you prepare. Some are free and some come with a nominal fee.
Study Your Language Daily and Assign Yourself “Homework”
The type of homework you select for yourself may depend on what kind of learning style you prefer. When you match your homework to your learning style, you can expect to experience faster and more permanent results.
For visual learners, watching television or movies with subtitles in the destination language can be a great approach. For aural learners, listening to music sung in the new language can really help it sink in. Physical learners will benefit by writing out conjugations of verbs, sentences and phrases over and over again to help them sink in. Verbal learners may prefer using a practice CD and repeating phrases after a native instructor. And social learners will, of course, prefer homework that involves speaking with a partner.
Set a Goal and Break Your Learning Into Manageable Chunks
This method uses an overarching goal as a driver to structure your language learning. For instance, let’s say you have that trip to Spain coming up in a few weeks. You will want to focus first on conversational Spanish of the type that asks for directions, orders off the menu, exchanges local pleasantries and makes hotel reservations.
But let’s say your trip is six months away. Here, you can dig in a little more deeply because you have more time to prepare. You might want to start with learning the alphabet, then progress on to Pareto-style vocabulary-building, then to basic counting and so forth. And of course you will have some time as well to work on refining your pronunciation – a luxury quick-trippers will not have.
By identifying your learning style, setting goals that reflect your reasons for learning a new language, ensuring your effort is maximized and finding immersion opportunities where they are available, you will enjoy accelerated progress towards learning your new language.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Bureau Translations a leading company that provide translation services for businesses.
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