Learning languages might have been a gift to Alexander Arguelles, an American scholar of foreign languages, who learned over three dozen languages and speaks most of them fluently including Swedish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Brazilian, Russian, Korean, Arabic and more. But, what about an average man wanting to learn a foreign language? Foreign language acquisition is a very complex phenomenon. Learning foreign language requires successful use of a range of tools such as morphology, phonology, semantics, syntax and a huge lot of extensive vocabulary. Speaking foreign language is tougher as compared to writing. An individual from a specific country or region has complexities in adapting to the vocal mechanism involved in pronunciation of words. First language or mother tongue is quintessential and it’s always needed to comprehending the second language. It sounds pretty tough, but people actually do successfully learn foreign languages. If you too would like to give it a try, here are some effective tips to learn a foreign language quickly.
This technique comes from the world’s most famous polygot, Alexander Arguelles. Shadowing involves listening to a recorded language and repeating it out loud while walking briskly outdoors. When asked about the secret behind language proficiency, Arguelles told the Guardian “I’m often asked what the secret is, and whether some people have an aptitude for absorbing words and phrases. The truth is, predictably, it’s down to endless hours of concentration – reading, studying and practicing grammar.”
9. Back-up Listening with reading:
At a level where you have got a decent vocabulary and familiarity with grammar, start watching TV shows, reading books. Don’t let the reading boar you. Rather, try to watch and read something that’s enjoyable to you. Quantity matters more than anything. Another fun way is to download foreign language subtitles for your favorite movies, which are originally made in your native language. You can spend a whole day that way. Also, there are study programs which include listening and reading the same text at the same time. It’s one of the most effective practices suggested by most language trainers.
8. Join Courses:
Learning a language inside a classroom, works better than anything else for many people. In a classroom, you get an environment to focus, you actually meet other people, and a trained teacher to teach you and support you. You can access a local college, night classes, and summer classes. Online courses are also getting a huge response nowadays. Moreover, your mistakes are acceptable and justified in a place where everyone is a learner.
7. Listening enough:
Listening is an integral part of learning a language. There is no doubt about it. According to a school of linguistics, language learning starts with a ‘silent period’. Same as babies learn a language by hearing and repeating sounds. You need to be a ferocious listener to whatever language you chose. It reinforces the vocabulary you learn each day, and helps learners observe the patterns. Before speaking you must listen as much as you can.
6. Be psychologically prepared:
Psychological aspects could frustrate and discourage you. If it’s not a compulsion, try to find out a language that resembles your native language. Too much contrast in dialects, phonology and grammar rules definitely ask for more practice. Lack of curiosity and attitude are among the two key factors that decide how fast a learner progresses. According to a study on attitude in language learning in the 1970s, it was observed that a learner, who is intrinsically interested in the culture associated with a language, learned it quickly. Linguists also found students with a low tolerance of ambiguity bad with language learning. Reaching dictionary every time they come across a new word put stress on them and discourages them.
5. Be clear about your target:
Studies suggest that the ability to learn a particular language varies from person to person, that further depends on their native language and culture. Therefore, before you commit to practice a language, be specific about your need and the suitability of a language with your attitude. Students, who have the option to choose, form one or more languages are prone to distractions. Therefore, be clear about what you opt for. To learn a language fast, avoid hopping from one language to another.
4. Learn to use resources:
It’s easy to collect sources of acquiring skills in new language. Internet and computer has revolutionized access to huge pile of online and offline learning tools. Use computer software particularly developed for the purpose. Rosetta stone is one of the examples of popular language learning software. Advance speaker or people looking to learn business terminology can use software such as While Rosetta Stone, TellMeMore. In addition to software, new mobile operating systems allow you to carry compatible language learning applications with you e.g. Anki, a flashcard app for the iPhone. Video chatting or conference through Skype or similar services also makes great resources to practice spoken skills while talking to a native speaker of that language. You can also take language classes through such services.
3. Combine multiple methods:
Language learning could be a hobby or a personal or professional need. You can stick to a single method if you have got enough time. For a quick grip, it’s strongly advised to use a combination of different learning methods or popular techniques. The most commonly used method to learn a language is listen-and-repeat drill. Some rely on a grammar textbook in order to sequence the foreign tongue. Give priority to what you are comfortable with, but don’t stick completely to a single method. Four language skills are reading, writing, listening and speaking. You need to combine audio lessons, textbooks, practical speaking, and every other language learning resources available.
2. Make relationships and friends:
You are more likely to enjoy a conversation in a foreign language if the person you are talking to is in a friendly relation with you. You apply every possible mean to communicate with them. You observe and use gestures, associate the expression and body language to make sense of what you wish to say. Comfort boosts learning. It’s the quickest way when the speaker is physically present with you, but making friends on social networking websites also works well. Drag these foreign friends from social media chatting to Skype after some warm up.
Without any doubt, immersion is the best way to get hold on a foreign language. To become functionally proficient in the foreign language and to acquire an understanding of and appreciation for other cultures, immersion programs are the most effective. It’s usually continuous sequential, cumulative, and proficiency-oriented. Immersion programs are a part of an integrated grade school sequence in some countries. One of the best practice is language travel in which a learner temporarily relocates to the places where the chosen language is predominant. For instance, Irish anglophones prefer to go to Gaeltacht, while Canadian anglophones relocates to Quebec. It involves traveling to a particular part of a country and a renting a home-stay with a family proficient with the use of a given language. Moreover, this method connects you directly to the literature and culture of a place arising more curiosity to learn the language. Therefore, plan a travel to the country to which your chosen language actually belongs to. Nothing would work better to help grasp the vocabulary and accent of that language as quickly.