Learning a foreign language can be a daunting task, but one that can reap huge rewards especially if you travel frequently. As travelers, we all know that learning the local language can be the difference between being charged a fair price or getting royally ripped off. Even a few basic phrases can be extremely valuable in helping you navigate a foreign country.
Now, if you’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language but have never been willing or able to commit to a long learning process, you’ve come to the right place.
Our list of 7 tips to learn any foreign language quickly will help you to grasp the phrases you need in a short time frame. This means that not only will you finally be learning the foreign language you’ve always wanted to, you’ll be able to do it quickly – it’s a win-win
1. Learn the right words
If you’re serious about learning a language quickly, one of the best things you can do is identify the right words to learn. Think about the words and phrases that will be most helpful. These are typically things that are used most commonly in conversation and that will be most useful during your travels.
After all, you don’t need to know every word in a language to be able to speak it fluently. We don’t even know every word in our native tongue!
Focus on the basics and put your time and energy into getting a good grasp of these words. That way, you’ll be able to communicate in the language more quickly and efficiently than if you were learning irrelevant or less used phrases.
Think about ordering food or asking for directions to the bus station or to a luggage storage facility like Bounce. These are the types of words and phrases that should be a priority.
2. Create goals
As with any new endeavor, one of the best ways to make and track progress is to set goals. This is especially true when it comes to learning a language quickly as it will help to keep you motivated.
The best goals use the S.M.A.R.T framework: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-specific. For instance, a good short-term SMART goal for learning a foreign language would be to learn 10 new, travel-related phrases within a week.
3. Intensity is the key to success
To truly learn a foreign language quickly, you’ll need to utilize all the tools and resources available. This might be in the form of a language course or even an app.
Regardless of the learning method you choose, intensity is key when it comes to quick learning. For example, an intensive course that requires 3 hours of study per day for a week is going to result in quicker progress than 1 hour of study a week over 15 weeks. Try committing to an intensive period of learning to really build a foundation in your foreign language.
4. Technology is your friend
Apps are a great way to speed up the learning process when it comes to language and there are a range of valuable ones on the market. Babbel and Duolingo are popular choices and will definitely help you to learn a foreign language quickly. They offer a number of languages and make learning easy and accessible, all available from your handheld device.
Alternatively, there are many free language learning apps if you are happy to do some research. Most of the free apps focus on one particular language so you will need to search for the one you are hoping to learn.
Apps are a great way to improve your language skills as you can literally learn anywhere. On the train, waiting for a friend, sitting in the park - the choice is yours!
5. Find a partner
Learning is much more fun with a buddy! Try to find a partner who is also wanting to learn a foreign language quickly as it will make the process much more enjoyable. It will also help you to both learn more quickly as you can help each other with practicing.
This brings us to our next point...
6. Practice regularly
Regular practice is critical to learning fast. Even if you decide to enroll in an intensive course, it’s important that you continue to practice on your own time.
Spend a little time each day learning new words and cementing your existing knowledge. This will help you to take more information in when you do attend your classes, thus helping you to learn the language faster.
7. Speak out loud
Memorizing words from paper is helpful, but you also need to practice pronunciation. Make sure that your study time includes speaking the words out loud so you can get used to the way they feel in your mouth.
The fastest way to learn a new language is by using a combination of rote learning and verbal practice, with these two different techniques helping you to retain the information.
8. Learn from locals
For those of you who are serious about learning a foreign language quickly and also have the luxury of time, it’s always worth trying the sink or swim approach and see where you end up!
Immerse yourself in local life where people primarily speak the language you’re trying to learn. This will allow you no choice to revert back to your native tongue — and you’ll be surprised by how quickly you can learn through conversation.
It may not always be comfortable, but it’s hands down the quickest way to learn a language. Pair this strategy with continued formal learning and you’ll be sure to have mastered the new language in no time.