Language learning can feel like a marathon. When most of us first start learning anything new, it’s easy to feel confused with where to get started, what methods we should use, and how much time we should commit to it.
But with the right language hacks, you can reach the finish line faster: learn Spanish, French, Mandarin, or any language you want to learn.
Today, we’re going to share 7 language hacks to help you learn any language faster.
1. Have a Word of the Day.
A study was done on language learning revealed that:
“Studying the first 1000 most frequently used words in the language will familiarize you with 76.0% of all vocabulary in non-fiction literature, 79.6% of all vocabulary in fiction literature, and 87.8% of vocabulary in oral speech.
Studying the 2000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 84% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 86.1% of vocabulary in fictional literature, and 92.7% of vocabulary in oral speech.
And studying the 3000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 88.2% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 89.6% of vocabulary in fiction, and 94.0% of vocabulary in oral speech.”
This means that learning the most common 1,000 words in any language will be the best use of your time, since learning an additional 1,000 words will only give you a 5% boost (from 88% to 93%) in oral speech.
2. Pick the right languages.
One way to speed up your language learning journey is to focus on learning the right language in the first place. This will be different for each person, but learning Spanish if you already know English is a lot easier than if you were to try to learn Mandarin.
Learning a language is a lot like learning a new sport. If you know how to play water polo, learning a similar sport, such as handball is going to be a lot easier for you than trying to learn a sport involving different coordination, such as golf.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t attempt to learn a language that sprouts from a different language family. At the end of the day, your passion for learning a language will triumph the difficulties that you’ll face along the way.
“This is a popular framework introduced by Tim Ferriss, originally to analyze how fast you would be able to learn the language you want.
However, it also serves as a powerful framework to learn how the grammar rules are applied in your desired language by breaking down each part of the sentence.
According to Ferriss, these 8 “golden” sentences are just about all you need to know in order to understand how the language works because it shows verbs are conjugated between speaker and subject, they show gender, number, direct and indirect objects, negations and tense.”
4. Speak the language as much as you can.
Just like the way we learned how to ride a bicycle for the first time, speaking a new language can only come from doing it.
It means we need to be in front of native speakers, making as many mistakes as we can, and getting immediate feedback along the way.
There is no shortcut or hack around this because speaking the language is the hack itself.
You can try going to the following resources to gain more speaking practice:
Conversation/Language Exchanges like conversationexchange.comor mylanguageexchange.com
Local city language meetups like meetup.com or couchsurfing.com
Asking a friend who speaks your target language
Private language teacher platforms
5. Carry around a notebook and write down new words you learn.
This tip is particularly recommended for intermediate or advanced learners since it’s going to be hard to keep track of every single word you learn when you’re just starting out.
But when you’re further along your journey, you can start to write down the new vocabulary that you learn from your private teacher or friends.
Studies show that writing things down can help us retain more information in the brain, and it also allows us to refer to the list of new words we wrote down in the future.
To make it easier on yourself, we recommend using the Notes application on your smartphone, because that will allow you to keep everything in the cloud, without requiring you to carry a bulky notebook wherever you go.
6. Schedule it in.
Research shows that scheduling our priorities is more effective than simply keeping a to-do list of our upcoming tasks. This is because scheduling forces us to have a realistic deadline, and has a timeline to complete the task.
If you want to find more time in your schedule to learn a language, we recommend making it a priority by scheduling it into your daily calendar and sticking to it.
Here are some additional tips to find more time as provided:
Shortening your work tasks — This means that if you think a work task will take 2 hours, give yourself a deadline of 1 hour. It’s likely you’ll find a way to focus to get it done in time.
Cut out unimportant free times — are there spare times in your day, where you simply do nothing or time-wasting tasks? Perhaps you find yourself going on social media in the late afternoon everyday, or checking email more than 5 times per day.
Bundle your free times together — While I don’t recommend multi-tasking when you’re doing important work, it can be effective in saving you time when you’re slacking. For example, rather than giving up social media or email time, you can perform these tasks together.
You can also check out these recommended websites to learn a language if you’re too busy.
7. Get a private teacher.
What do most of the top performers in the world have in common? They have a personal coach, whether it’s a fitness coach, business coach, or life coach.
Having someone accountable to your success not only allows them to see the blind spots that you’re missing, but they’re also able to get you through the rough moments you’ll inevitably face.
Psychologists have studied what’s known as the transition cycle.
It’s the cycle of progress we go through whenever we’re experiencing change or a novel event, such as a tragic event or even learning something new.
If you’re serious about learning a new language, and you want to see faster results, getting yourself a private teacher that can give you the support and help you need is one of the best personal investments you can make.
Check out these best language websites and apps to get started.