How many languages can you speak? Is it 3? Maybe 4?
Imagine, in one year you can speak one more.
Learn any language with 3 steps:
In this order.
The reason why it's so difficult for many people to learn a language is because they do it in reverse order: first faceless, cold and boring grammar, then the vocabulary that is getting forgot very soon and finally they try to correct the strong accent or just feel good with it. They say:
"You don't have to work on your accent as long as you are understood"
Yes, but are you sure people really understand you? Or they just dare not tell you that they didn't get anything?
In case of Asian culture, people will always nod on whatever you say and then don't you be surprised to know they didn't understand a damn of what you told them.
People won't even bother thinking what you've said if your accent is too strong. It means you've missed one very important part: pronunciation.
"Why learning new words if I can express them using the words I know?"
Don't learn too much words you will never use in your life (a nice requirement to forget them). But also keep in mind that the proper utilization of complicated words will impress the native speaker you are talking to. And that's always motivating.
- Because it makes a good impression.
- Because you are a lot easier to understand.
- Because once you've mastered it, you don't have to work on it any more.
First of all, work on your accent. It is harder that everything else, but it's achievable. Listen to native speakers and try to repeat their words in the same manner they do it. It's important to polish your pronunciation before you start to learn language, because later it's going to be impossible to change it.
Why it's so important? Because people don't pay so much attention to what you say, but to how you say it. That is your tone, tempo, accent, gesticulation and mimic. The one that is language-dependent is accent, and you can improve it.
Many people don't even start training their accent assuming then can't physically pronounce foreign sounds. But that's an another excuse.
Practice your pronunciation until you have it close to undistinguishable. And then pass to the fun part of learning a language.
It's showtime !!!
Now when you know how to pronunciate all the new words on your way, it's a lot easier to learn the vocabs.
Make it fun.
Find some music of your favourite style in target language, select the best songs and then memorize the songtext. It will not only give you a lot of new vocabs, but also you will be happy to be able to sing it.
Watching TV series is another great idea. What is your favorite one? Do you know nearly every dialogue of it? It's important that you know before watching an episode what the actors are talking about to concentrate on language aspects.
Still another good point to start is to play computer games. I learned a lot of Spanish language structures and words just by playing 'Gothic III' and 'The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim' with a lot of dialogues and subtitles.
Your favorite book, localized to the target language, will provide you vocabulary that is both interesting and relevant for you.
I boosted up my Spanish in a first few months by learning vocabulary that is used in every day situation with Rosetta Stone. I highly recommend this tool to everyone - great software to start with.
In order to not to forget all the new words you learn every day, use Spaced Repetition Technique. This is the most effective technique so far and I use it every day. I actually programmed an iPhone and iPad App on that purpose. You may find useful this post I wrote earlier about the topic.
It's extremely helpful to use an electronic dictionary that would explain to you the meaning of words in a simple matter. I have one installed on my smartphone and it saves me a lot of time.
A glue to stick everything together
After you've build a basement by practising the pronunciation and brought some bricks by learning vocabs, you are ready to cement them and build a big language wall by getting fit in grammar.
Go from easy to difficult and start with easy as soon as you have enough vocabs there.
The most effective way to do it is to learn basic grammar on your own using grammar overviews (mostly 3-4 pages). If you feel that grammar is getting more and more complicated, it's a good point to take part in Advanced (C1) language course. As you already tried to understand the difficult parts, you will have some questions prepared - ask them straight away to dissolve the confusion.
Put a destination point
To learn a language in a record time two things have to be very clear in your mind:
- Level you want to reach
- Time you need to do it
A few months ago I set a goal to learn Spanish to the level C1 until the end of the year 2014. It seemed impossible back then: C1 is pretty advanced. But I've reached it.
It's possible to learn any language in a year. But to reach your destination you have to move step-by-step everyday.
If your goal is fluency, it is mostly sufficient to know the translation of 1000 words in a target language. Out of them you can build whatever language structure you want. Remember, fluency is being able to describe the word you need say, and not being able to say the word itself.
Imagine, in one year you will speak fluently one more language. It's not that hard after all, right?
Tell me about your experiences learning a language! Also, if you liked this post, subscribe and stay tuned!