Growth Hack

How To Learn A New Language

How To Learn A New Language
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  Speaking a foreign language requires a lot of hard work and practice.  Even if you study every day, it may take years to master some languages.  Meanwhile, you start to feel frustrated at your lack of progress and want to surrender.

  You may not know that, but your brain is really a great vocabulary learning machine.  When you read or listen to something, your brain doesn’t take every word on its face: it constantly takes statistics about the words that appear together regularly on a regular basis so that it can predict what comes next and process speech faster.

  With so much in terms of how best to learn a language, it can be difficult to focus on language learning tactics that will be helpful to you personally.  In order to revive and renew your leadership in learning a foreign language or improve the wonderful skills you have already achieved, here are some new ideas about the best way to learn a new language:

  Set language learning goals

  The first step to learning a new language quickly is to set goals for what you want to achieve.  When you think about it, this has a lot of meaning.  If you don’t set goals, how do you know what you want to achieve and measure whether you’ve achieved that?

    There are many words to learn and many different ways to study.  Setting your goals narrows your focus so you can stop worrying about details and start working.

  Start with the 100 most common words.  Not all vocabulary is the same.  Some give you a better return on investment than others.  For example, when I lived in Buenos Aires, I met someone who had been studying with Rosetta Stone for months (not recommended).  I had been working with a teacher for several weeks, but I was surprised how he couldn’t follow through on the simplest of conversations despite months of studying and living there.

  It turned out that many of the vocabulary he was studying were kitchen utensils, family members, clothes, and rooms in the house.  But if he wants to ask someone what part of town they live in, he has no idea what to say.

  Keep exercising on your head

Another use of your dictionary is that you can practice during your day and not talk to anyone.  Challenge yourself to think about the new language.  We have all the monologues that work in our heads, usually in our native language.  You can continue practicing, building sentences and fake chats in your head in a new language.  In fact, this kind of visualization leads to much easier conversations when you already have it.  For example, you can visualize and have a conversation on a topic you may have before you actually get it.  You can start thinking about how to describe your job and explain why you are in a foreign country in the new language.  Inevitably, you will ask these questions and you will be ready to answer them.

  Listen to foreign language radio or TV

  Part of learning to speak a foreign language correctly is learning the tones and rhythms of words.  In French, for example, you cannot focus on different words in a sentence to change what you mean (like what you can do in English).  It is easy to distinguish between beginner students and semi-native speakers by listening to those who speak French like the English language.

  Try to hear the frequency of words, how they are pronounced in different contexts, and what are the different tones.  What does the language look like when the speaker is excited, angry, or asks an accusatory question?  Even listening to the language in the background will help you capture information about how the language is spoken.

  Watch a movie

  For people who want to take advantage of one of the best ways to learn a language from their own home, put a foreign movie in another language – without translation if you can!  Not only is this one of the best ways to learn a foreign language, but you’ll also get a greater sense of the culture of that language!  If you don’t know enough language to stop a translation, keep a list of new vocabulary words that you hear and what they think they mean. 

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