Learning a language takes a lot of time. Months, or even years. But there are certain ways you can streamline your progress. Maybe you have an important test coming up, maybe you booked a fight to a foreign country, or maybe you are simply up for a challenge, either way, you need a strategy. Rapid foreign language learning is possible, but only if you take the necessary steps before and during your language program. By following these steps, you’ll learn the quickest way to learn a language and achieve fluency in record time.
Have the Right Mindset for Language Learning
Right from the beginning, you need to prepare your mind for the task of achieving fluency. Understand that becoming fluent in a foreign language takes work. And it can be challenging. You also need to have the right motivations. The more concrete your goal is, the more you’ll need to push towards fluency. But rest assured, anyone can learn a language.
If you have a trip coming up and want to be fluent in your target language by the time you arrive in the country, then try setting your desktop and phone backgrounds to pictures of where you want to visit. These constant reminders will help push away frustration while inspiring you to continue your studies until you achieve your goal.
If your brain is stressed, frustrated, or tired, it will interfere with your learning. Sleep regularly, eat a variety of healthy foods, and stay positive about the learning experience. You’re also going to want to change any negative thoughts you have about studying. Instead of using phrases like, “I have to study” say, “I want to study.”
Pick a Foreign Language Program That Works for You
There are a lot of resources available to help you learn a foreign language. You want to pick the ones that work best for you. If you hate grammar books and classrooms, then find a different program that focuses on content you enjoy so that you maintain interest. FreeLanguage.Org has some great language learning kits to get you started, if you’re looking for a way to jumpstart your resource collection.
Don’t force yourself to do something you don’t like with the hopes that it’ll get better. Learning a language can be stressful, and if you add that to a program you don’t enjoy, you’re more likely to quit before you begin to see signs of success.
Have a Language Learning Plan in Place
You need a clear plan in place for success. Even the quickest way or trick to help you reach fluency can’t work without a strategy. Look at your schedule and see where you can fit in regular practice. If you want to be fluent, you’ll need consistency and exposure. Set your schedule to provide time for daily immersion into your target language. Even if you can only study for 20-30 minutes a day, you can achieve great results.
Immerse Yourself in Your Target Language
It’s a significant advantage if you already live in the country of your target language, but be careful, that doesn’t guarantee success. Often, people move to a new area with the hopes of learning a new language, but quickly surround themselves with a language bubble that prevents them from becoming fluent.
If you are living in a foreign country with a language you want to learn, then here’s a pro-tip: ditch the native language. Forcing yourself to rely on your target language is the quickest way to learn a language and reach fluency. Even if locals attempt to speak English with you, try to continue using their native language to help build up your skills.
You can still immerse yourself even if you don’t live in a foreign country. To do this, take steps to use the target language in your everyday life. Change the settings on your phone, computer, and social media to your target language. Try labeling items around your house in the target language. And when you watch YouTube videos, movies or listen to music, do so in the target language.
Changing your average day into an immersion experience can build up more and more exposure. The quickest way to learn a language is to reach fluency through immersion.
Use Comprehensible Input
You need to choose material in your target language that is challenging and interesting. You may be eager to jump into college-level podcasts, but if you’re only starting out with your target language, then you need more approachable content. You should be using material that is challenging enough to keep you interested, but not too challenging that you don’t understand it.
You also need to focus on interesting content. You’ll learn more when you choose materials that reflect your interests
Use Spaced Repetition System to Learn a Second Language
Spaced Repetition System (SRS) involves creating time between when you study something and when you review it. You may have tried endless drills and experienced no success. SRS works because by creating time away from the material, you force the material further into your long-term memory. It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes you need to forget so that you can remember.
Don’t Stress about Foreign Language Grammar
We learn a language by speaking it. And if your goal is fluency, then listening and speaking need to be your focus. Grammar will fall into place without endless drilling and testing. Don’t stress over it. You can keep a grammar book nearby if you have questions, but your best option is to listen and speak as much as possible.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Seek out opportunities to speak in your target language. This is particularly easy if you’re living in your target language, but it can be more difficult if you’re living here at home. Try to find areas in your city that speak the target language and immerse yourself in them. Whether it’s ordering at a restaurant and picking up your dry cleaning, there are plenty of places where you can practice.
And if you’re still struggling to find people to interact with, you can always visit a local cafe or hotel and pull out your cell phone and pretend to have a conversation. As strange as it may sound, it is better than not practicing the language at all. Remember your goal is fluency, and to achieve that you need opportunities to speak, so seek them out or create them yourself. This also works well if you’re shy.
Enjoy the Language Learning Journey
Think back to when you sat bored in school, staring at the clock instead of listening to the content in the class. How much did you learn in those classes? If you focus too hard on reaching fluency, you will miss out on the journey. It can also make the experience less enjoyable.
Trust that by doing the work and regularly enjoying your daily exposure and immersion, you’ll see success. Rather than counting down the days until you’re fluent, you’ll slowly discover you already are. And with that realization, you’ll push deeper and deeper into your target language. You may even look for other languages to learn. If you have fun, you won’t even be searching for the quickest way to learn a language. You’ll just enjoy yourself.
Foreign Language Fluency Awaits
It’s possible to become fluent in a foreign language without years and years of study and training. Learn what works and focus on that; ignore the methods that don’t. They will only waste your time. By being consistent and remaining positive during the experience, you can become one of the many people who’ve successfully to adopted a multilingual lifestyle.