How to learn a language faster

7 key ways to help you learn a new language

Getting to grips with a new language can be challenging and time-consuming, but if you commit and are fully focused on learning it, you may be surprised how quickly you pick things up.

There are many reasons why you may want to learn a new language, whether it’s for a holiday, to impress your friends, or simply to gain a new skill.

Of course, the best and fastest way to learn a language is to live in the country where it is spoken. Then, you have no choice but to understand and speak it! As this unfortunately isn’t possible for everyone, the second-best method is to immerse yourself in the language and force yourself to learn it.

There are 7 main things you can start doing to help you learn a language faster:

1.      Change your phone and laptop settings

Simply changing the language on your phone can help familiarise yourself with the language you’re trying to learn. It may be confusing at first as you try to find something and end up somewhere completely different, but you will soon learn what everything means!

Think of how long you spend staring at your screens. That’s a lot of time you can use to see and learn even a few words. Regularly seeing the new language can help you spot patterns and learn some basics and, importantly, it keeps your mind constantly focused on learning it!

 2.      Concentrate on the most-used words

There are thousands of words in every language, but realistically we don’t use all of them on a regular basis.

So, by learning the most-used words in a language (lists are readily available online), you will be surprised how much you will soon understand! For example, if you remember 800 of the most frequently used words, you are likely to understand around 75% of regular spoken language. This may sound a lot, but it’s simply about memory and taking it step-by-step to get those words imprinted on your brain!

3.      Listen to music

Hearing music sung in the language you’re trying to learn familiarises yourself with its words and pronunciations.

Even though you are unlikely to understand it all (let’s be honest we frequently mishear lyrics in our own language!), this is another channel to help you learn a language faster and get used to the sound of it.

 4.      Listen to podcasts

For the same reason as above, podcasts are valuable resources for language learners. They can help you get used to hearing different words and phrases and some podcasts are specifically designed for those trying to learn a language.

For example, Duolingo offers podcasts that narrates a section of a story in your native language and then in the new language, which can aid your overall understanding and comprehension.

 5.      Watch TV

Many TV programmes and films give you the option to choose the language, so why not watch a well-loved show in the language you’re learning! As this would often be dubbed, it may feel strange as the voices will sound different and the words won’t match the movements you’ll see on screen but it is still an enjoyable way to learn!

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try looking for programmes and films made in that specific language, so you actually see the words being spoken and get a greater feel for the rhythm of the language. For example, the widely popular Deutschland 83 series would be a useful and entertaining way to learn German!

 6.      Write in the language

It’s not just enough to hear, writing is also key to learning a new language. So why not challenge yourself to write down anything you need to in the new language you’re trying to learn.

Shopping lists, reminders, and anything else can be written in the new language. And if you don’t know the word for toothbrush for example, just look it up! Doing this can highlight some gaps in your knowledge, particularly for words that may be fairly common.

 7.      Make friends

If you’re lucky enough to know someone who speaks the language you’re learning, make use of them! Talking and writing to them can help you learn effectively, as they can correct you and offer advice on how to improve.

And if you don’t know someone, ask around. People may be able to put you in touch with someone that can help, and making it known that you’re trying to learn a new language will make you accountable and help you stick to the task!

 Fluency won’t happen overnight, but fully immersing yourself in the language as much as possible is a sure way to get you more confident with reading, hearing and speaking it, and so help you to learn the language faster.

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