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How to Learn a Foreign Language Quickly | With a Level of Fluency Within Just Short Months

How to Learn a Foreign Language Quickly

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Speaking a foreign language is an immensely valuable skill that native English speakers often lack. One reason for this is the commonly held view that learning a language is a task requiring enormous amounts of work over several long, laborious years. Fortunately, this isn’t the case, with a reasonable level of fluency possible within just a few short months.

  When first starting to learn a language, it’s important to focus on the bigger picture and ignore the finer details until you’ve mastered the basics. Take pronunciation for example: if you know the general rules for pronouncing words in your chosen language, you’ll find it much easier to learn vocabulary and you won’t get into bad habits as you learn. The same is true for grammar.

  Leaving specialist, more rarely-used vocabulary for a later date is another good way to make quick progress. Only learn what you actually need to know. If you’re learning French so that you can talk to the locals when you’re on vacation, there’s no point teaching yourself technical terminology unless you expect to meet people who want to discuss quantum physics or anything similarly obscure. At first, just learn the most frequently used words in the language you’ve chosen to study. Research shows that knowing only the thousand most used words in any language will allow you to understand approximately 70% of whatever you read in that language.

  Once you have a basic understanding of the language, try to reinforce your learning from every possible angle. Stop watching films and reading magazines in English, and do it in the foreign language instead. Find a native speaker you can talk to, and even try a bit of writing – there are online forums full of people happy to check over your work to help you improve. Many experts recommend doing this in short doses several times a day, so that it stays fresh in your mind and your concentration doesn’t start to slip. If you keep attacking the language from all sides, doing just a little but as often as possible, you should find yourself improving at an impressive rate.

  Few people are lucky enough to have the time and the lack of commitments to give it a try, but immersion learning should bring the same benefits in even less time. This really is throwing yourself in the deep end, taking an intensive multi-week course or going to live for a few weeks in a country where everyone speaks your chosen language. Your brain will adapt very quickly in this environment, so it’s definitely an option worth considering.

  But perhaps the most important thing is to stop worrying about making mistakes. If you do get something wrong, you’re more likely to get it right next time, and native speakers will still be delighted that you’re giving it a go in the first place. The key is to just get out there and practice as much as you can, and before long everything else will fall into place.