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5 Tricks to Learn a Foreign Language Way Faster

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/5-tricks-to-learn-a-foreign-language-way-faster.html

inc.com

5 Tricks to Learn a Foreign Language Way Faster
But while the benefits of learning another language are clear (if you're curious which ones offer the biggest payoff, a business school professor actually ranked them), it's also true that gaining proficiency requires a lot of work.

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Learning a foreign language faster

  • Intensity of study trumps length of study;
  • Start with the 100 most common words;
  • Keep practicing in your head. You don't need a teacher or even a conversation partner to practice your language skills. 
  • You're going to say a lot of stupid things. Accept it.
  • One-on-one tutoring is the best and most efficient use of time, if you have the money for that.

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Learning a New Language: Preparation Time

  • Don't wait too long before you start practicing. Most people find it uncomfortable to speak a language poorly and avoid it. Don't think you will wait until you're "ready".
  • Going from zero to 100% will require some preparation. 25 - 50 hours are usually enough for a European language, 100 hours for harder Asian languages.

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Learning a new language: knowing the most used words

Learning a new language: knowing the most used words

In English, just 300 words make up 65% of all written material. We use those words a lot, and that’s the case in every other language as well.

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Learning cognates

Cognates are “true friends” of words you recognize from your native language that mean the same thing in another language.

For instance:

  • Words like Action, nation, precipitation, solution, frustration, and thousands of other -tion words are spelled exactly the same in French, and you can quickly get used to the different pronunciation. Change that -tion to a -ción and you have the same words in Spanish. Italian is -zione and Portuguese is -ção.
  • Many languages also have words that share a common (Greek/Latin or other) root.
  • Even languages as different as Japanese can have heaps of very familiar vocabulary.

Interact in your new language daily

  • To hear the language consistently spoken, you can check out TuneIn.com for a vast selection of live-streamed radio from your country of choice.
  • To watch the language consistently, see what’s trending on Youtube in that country right now.
  • To read the language consistently, you can find cool blogs and other popular sites on Alexa’s ranking of top sites per country.

Listen

The more you expose yourself to the new language, the sooner you will become familiar with its sounds and structures. Familiarity, in turn, will speed understanding.

Copy

Repeating the sounds (out loud or in your head) will give you a feel for the language. Memorize not just words, but sentences and even songs to get the rhythm and intonation of the language.

Read

Read words, sentences, children’s books, newspaper articles. Read as far and near as you can, whether out loud to an audience or quietly to yourself.

Seeing the language in print helps you understand word structures. It also anchors the new sounds, and helps them get imprinted in your mind.