In an increasingly connected world, knowing how to learn a language can be a big benefit.
There are many reasons you might be ready to take on the challenge of how to learn a language. Maybe you want to get an international job. Or perhaps you just want to speak to friends or family in their native language. But whatever your reason, those who have successfully learned languages say a few key tips will help.
Beware of promises that make how to learn a language seem too easy. It doesn't have to be intimidating, though. Experts know there are more than a few tricks to make languages easier to learn. If you follow the simple and time tested guide below, you might find yourself speaking fluently sooner than you thought.
What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial
There are countless paths to bring you to the same ultimate goal. But you'll want to select the route that speaks to you the most. Even though the details could vary widely, there are a few thoughts to keep in mind as you set on course.
You can certainly choose any number of technological options teaching how to learn a language. But even the best program is only as good as your commitment to stick to it. So focus on motivation even before you make the decision on which program you want to pursue. Below are a few factors we recommend considering as you move forward.
- A Plan. This is where it all starts. You need to know not only what language you're learning, but why. Setting out your goal is the clearest way to make it a reality.
- A Purpose. What do you want to do with your new knowledge? Is it for fun, business, family? Make sure you know to tailor your lessons to those needs.
- A Program. Now figure out how you learn best. There are many different paths and programs available. Each fits a different type of learner, and yours is out there.
How to Learn a Language Quickly
In fact, you'll probably be best served if you try to make the process as enjoyable as fun. Embrace the fact that you don't know it all yet. Have fun making mistakes. Laugh along with the process and pick up what you can. Even if you've got a deadline, it doesn't have to feel like one. Search through some of the programs available either at a local school or online. These days, there are some easy to follow and innovative solutions. No matter what your lesson plan looks like, make sure your eyes stay on the prize. Take a look at the steps below for a simple guide to making the most of your new mission.
1. Make the Commitment
Maybe you've heard the adage that the longest journey starts with a first step. Well, that's especially true when it comes to linguistics. You might want to shoot for the quickest results possible. But that's not really how to learn a language.
We don't mean to imply that you won't see progress in the early stages. In fact, the motivation of learning new things is a great reason to keep moving forward. But if you expect to be fluent in a few lessons, you're probably going to be disappointed. Instead, set a clear goal and enjoy path that gets you there.
Don't try to bite off more than you can chew. Dissecting your ultimate goal into smaller segments can make the whole thing seem more manageable. And it's not just a placebo. Not only will tackling small tasks keep you engaged, it will add up to results you can actually measure.
2. Start Using It Right Away
It's true, you won't be a master after your first class. But you will have something new to start putting to use. If you have supportive native speakers, they'll probably enjoy seeing your progress. In any case, you can find ways to practice the skills you're learning.
Talk to friends in your new language. Listen to recordings of others -- and record your own progress if it helps. Sit in front of a mirror and talk to yourself. Play your new language during your morning commute. Want some more support?
Even if you're teaching yourself, repetition is critical. Learning parts of speech, pronunciation and spelling are all important parts of the process. So when you're figuring out how to learn a language, leave plenty of room for speaking it. Sure, you'll be speaking it poorly at first. When you set a foundation of practicing what you learn, though, you'll build the necessary skills. You'll start gaining confidence and accuracy with every conversation in your new language.
3. Involve Others in the Process
Beyond merely sharing your progress, communicating in your new language can make things easier. Maybe you have a mentor or a close friend holding you accountable. Or perhaps you can find a community online to offer some support and feedback.
Whatever source you choose can be an inspiration and motivation. You probably know how you learn best, so try to find someone who supports you in that way. It certainly doesn't have to be someone trying to learn the same language. Even if it's a family member who's always been there for you, the encouragement can go a long way.
4. Embrace Failure
Failing is a big part of trying. And you'll have to try persistently in order to master another language. As adults, we sometimes want perfection. But think about how most children learn to speak. They will mutter any words they know and exercise their vocabulary even when it makes no sense.
But in the end, they have a firm grasp on all the idiosyncrasies of the language. And you can have the same deep understanding if you approach it in the same way. Even if the reason you're figuring out how to learn a language is serious, you can still have fun. If you approach the process with a child's curiosity and willingness to try and fail, it will likely benefit you.
5. Set Real World Goals
Maybe you're figuring out how to learn a language based solely on a thirst for knowledge. And if that's sufficient motivation to keep you on the path, then we wish you great success. But for many of us, it takes a bit more to prompt us toward such a serious undertaking.
It could be a desire to travel around the world. Sure, luxury vacations in exotic locations are great in any language. But if you can speak to your hosts in their native language, the experience could be much deeper. Or perhaps you are interested how to learn a language for your profession. Maybe you're thinking about working abroad or as a translator. Many nations are multilingual. So it could be that you just want to be able to communicate with everyone around you.
Whatever it is that has you searching how to learn a language, make sure to keep it in your vision. You're working toward something, no matter how abstract it might be. And a big part of visualizing success if picturing what it will look like. How do you want to use your new language? Is there one specific reason or will it reshape the rest of your life? You probably already know your motivation. Now just keep that dream nearby as you start digging into the next chapter of your journey.
6. Pay Attention to Native Speakers
Folks who natively speak the language you're learning can be a big source of subtle knowledge. These are the people who know all of the distinct phrases and pronunciation differences between dialects. We even recommend watching the mouth movements of native speakers to help with your diction.
That can actually help you remember how to form your words in the language you're learning. Hearing those pronunciations can be a big assistance. And watching those individuals as they speak might just be another layer contributing to your success.
Don't know any personally? You can probably find plenty of videos in the language you're hoping to learn. The point is to continue immersing yourself in the language and culture. It'll be a while before you're speaking it perfectly. But each new trick gets you closer to your goal. And few people can help you identify those subtleties than the people who speak the language every day.
There are many methods of becoming fluent in a new language.
If you enjoyed our article, share it with those in your life who might appreciate the expert advice. And leave us a comment below if you have any final thoughts or questions.