Learning a foreign language can be a difficult task sometimes. But when we break it down, it becomes a game of numbers. How much time you are putting into learning and how many words do you know now?
In most cases, you will require hundreds of hours of study time and about 2,000-3,000 words to be conversational and have any hope of being fluent.
Once you are able to learn it to that point, it becomes self-sustaining, if you maintain it and continue to use it.
This sounds too difficult a task for someone who casually says, “Hey, I’d like to learn spanish!” But the reality is you can learn to speak a language, at a daily conversational level, faster if you apply a few additional techniques to supplement your learning process. You can be functional with fewer words and you can efficiently reduce the number of hours needed to learn the basics of the language. The ideas below should help you.
ALSO READ; 10 Tips for Achieving English Fluency
1. Flashcards Pound For Pound
The best and most efficient use of your time when learning a language. Ten seconds of free time becomes a quick quiz—yank card number one out of your pocket. “What is the spanish word for food? Comida? Flip the card over. Correct!”
Two minutes is a major review session. If you spent ten seconds on one word, for two minutes, that’s a total of twelve words in two minutes. Twelve words a day for five days a week is 3,000 words in a year! All the words you need to be conversational in just two minutes a day. Though this doesn’t account for grammar and pronunciation, but you still have one year to learn all the vocabulary you need. Time is not a barrier to learning a new language. Always remember this.
2. Read Materials
When you have a good basic understanding of the desired language, get an interesting reading material. If you’re into gardening then get a magazine or print out an online article on gardening. This way, you’ll learn vocabulary and phrases that interest you and help you learn faster.
If your learning method doesn’t have an audio component, you can obtain one. Still get one even if it does. Hearing the language is an important aspect of learning if you intend to speak it. It helps you know how to correctly pronounce the words you have learnt. You can use this tip when you’re relaxing or driving even.
4. Internet Radio
Following the above advice, find ways by which you can listen to your new language. Listening to the radio can also expose you to new vocabulary and fresh content daily. Mix up your audio with other sources, and constantly changing ones like music and internet news broadcasts from other countries.
You need to expose yourself to the language as much as possible. Studying ten minutes a day is better than merely skimming through for an hour once or twice a week. Frequent review, no matter how little, is essential. This will help you retain what you have learnt better.
Take advantage of the internet and connect with other people around the world who speak or are learning the same language as you. They can be of immeasurable help to you. You can even help them learn English while they also help you learn your desired language.
7. Study With Others
Studying and practising with other people can help you rate yourself more effectively, since you will be conversing with them. It is also fun to practice what you’ve learnt with other speakers. Matter of fact, this is the ultimate purpose of learning a foreign language—to communicate with other people.
You will probably find that you can add a few techniques without requiring any more time from your already overtaxed schedule. You may also find that you can actually use less time in studying as you streamline your learning process.