Language Hacks: 7 Ways to Learn a Language Fast
Decoding the intricacies of a language can be particularly challenging. Even after months of studying endless lists of vocabulary, you can still find yourself at a loss when wanting to express yourself.
Luckily, there are many language hacks that have been successfully applied by polyglots around the world; primarily because they’re easy, simple, and, most importantly of all, fast. So in the spirit of keeping things fast, let’s get started!
The Study Hack
The first question you should ask yourself when studying a new language, or studying anything for that matter, is, “what kind of learner am I?” Because the truth is, when it comes to learning, one size does not fit all.
If visual imagery has helped you study in the past, make sure to include it in your personal study: ask your tutor to include visual material during your classes, explore language apps that focus on visual-based learning, or test yourself using picture-based language-learning cards. Alternatively, you can explore sites such as Meetup or Conversation Exchange that facilitate communication with native speakers – if learning by ear is more your thing.
You can take the learner test here, to find out what kind of learner you are.
The Emotional Hack
Just relax. Constantly worrying about what to say and how you come across in a second language can be exhausting. Don’t sweat the small stuff though, like the time it takes for you to respond or how your accent sounds. This is all part of the process and, naturally, the speed at which you speak will improve as your accent dissipates. Chances are the locals find your accent quite charming anyway.
Secondly, it’s important to focus on communication more than perfection (people will forgive you for directness – you’re obviously not native). Fear of making mistakes or being misunderstood however will rob you of golden opportunities to practice speaking. Study is a necessity, but fruitless if you never speak.
The Romance hack
Admittedly, this may not be everybody, but dating someone from your country of interest is a great way to improve your speaking level. Primarily because you will spend a lot of time with this person, and the more time you spend together, the more opportunities you have to hone your language skills.
Try exploring cultural events, local bars (if you’re lucky enough to live abroad) or dating applications (How I Became Fluent in Spanish Using Tinder). Even if you find it easier to speak in English to start with, you will have a reliable (not to mention economical) study partner, and he/she may introduce you to friends and family who will give you no choice but to practice what you have learnt.
Making friends with people from your target language is, of course, an effective alternative too.
The Brainwash Hack
Similarly to the “Fun Hack”, the goal here is to incorporate your target language into as many parts of your life as possible. Read the newspapers and write your daily schedule in your second language; change the language on all your devices too. Applying this language hack is unlikely to obstruct your daily routine and, if you do not have the time to study during the day, translating these habitual facets will help leave with you with a guilt-free conscience.
The Time Hack
Use your time spent studying wisely. For example, try to structure your language exchanges with predetermined learning objectives. This could be remembering to utilising more expressive phrases, or noting how others use subjunctives.
Set yourself strict deadlines and stick to them. Once you discern the learning techniques that work best for you, push yourself to do as much as possible within a set amount of time (e.g. learn 25 verbs in a month). The added pressure will motivate you to get the best results within a short space of time.
The “Walk the Walk” Hack
With English being the most commonly used language among foreign language speakers, many locals, particularly in cities, may assume that you have little or no possession over the native tongue, and so converse with you in English. Although this can be frustrating at times, there are some tricks that can make even the most foreign looking expat look like a native.
Start by trying to mimic the accent and intonations. This can take some practice, but the more you expose yourself to the language, the more control you will acquire over these sounds. Copying the dress sense, facial expressions and gestures are also effective techniques. Even if you are a tall-blonde visiting Asia, embodying these cultural nuances will, at the very least, give the illusion that you have lived there for some time.
The Lucky 7
So there you have it! 7 hacks to help you crack any language in record time. Undeniably, working hard will help you progress in whichever language you are studying. Working smart however, by applying the right study techniques, will significantly advance your language skills.
Speaking is of course an integral part of language learning so, even if you do not live abroad, find people to practice with, either via the apps suggested in the “Study Hack” or here on Language Trainers. You could soon be learning any language in record time.
Have you discovered any other language hacks in your language venture? Please share them in the comments below!