How can I learn a language fast? Five tips from our staff

There are many reasons to learn a language fast. Whether you need to learn a language quickly for business or for personal reasons, there are some tried-and-tested techniques that will help you in the process. We asked some of our team for their tips for learning a language quickly; their advice covers everything from self-study to the finding the right kind of language course.

Below are our tips for learning a language quickly. You can share your own experiences in the comments.

1. Commit

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If you want to learn another language, you need to dedicate time and effort to it, and the first steps are the toughest. But once you reach a certain level of a language – if you are really committed, this can come in days, not months – not only does learning get easier but you can actually use your language skills in real life. Commit some effort now and you will be rewarded for the rest of your life.

2. Lose “the fear”

If you worry about being judged for your attempts to speak in a foreign language, and this stress is holding you back, ask yourself this:

“How do I feel when someone who is imperfect in my mother tongue speaks to me? Do I judge them negatively or am I pleased that they are making the effort?”

3. Use the language from day one

The best way to blast through those difficult first steps is to use as much of the language as you can, as soon as you can. This is more pressing if you are learning in immersion in a country where the language is spoken because you will not be understood otherwise.

If you are learning the language at home, find ways to use it or be exposed to it. It is very important to speak as much as possible – get your mouth used to forming the words. Consume media in the language you are learning, ideally with subtitles. Sing along with songs in the language. You don’t have to understand all of it, but the sounds will become familiar.

4. Use your memory effectively

There are two things you need to know about your memory that can dramatically help you with learning a language. First, you remember better when you learn something in context. When learning vocabulary, this means finding ways to make a word memorable.

The second thing you need to know is the importance of repetition. If you spend an hour staring at a grammar table, you are less likely to remember its contents than if you are exposed to the same content in short bursts over time.

Flash cards and language-learning apps can help you memorise things, especially if you are studying at home. However, learning words and phrases in isolation will not make you fluent in a language…

5. REAL Immersion – there’s nothing better

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When you learn a language formally, you learn an ideal form of that language. Of course that’s the way to get your grammar in order, and grammar is the spine of a language. But wouldn’t you rather speak a more authentic form of the language? Studying abroad is the best way to achieve both the essential structures and the real-world elements.

Real people do not speak like people in textbooks or newspapers. Even on television, you rarely hear a language as it is used on the streets.

If you already have a basic grasp of a language, nothing will improve your level faster than quality tuition while in language immersion. And immersion is the key word; simply being in another place may help you absorb the language faster, but to get the full benefit, you need to surround yourself in the language.

Learning a language with ESL, you will live in the language you are learning and engage with it all day. A standard course includes teaching in the mornings, leaving you free in the afternoons. If you want to learn faster, you can add one-to-one or small group lessons after lunch (this is known as an intensive course).

Staying with a host family ensures that you are exposed to the language outside of class hours too. Take advantage of this opportunity; the more you get involved with local life, the faster your language skills will develop.

Courses in your teacher’s home

One course option stands out if you want to make fast progress with your language skills. Offering authentic language immersion from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, our courses “in your teacher’s home” involve living and learning with a local language teacher. That’s right, your own, personal teacher there to help you all day long!

Apart from dating a local, there’s nothing like private courses at the teacher’s home if you need to learn fast.

We believe these courses are the most efficient way to learn a foreign language. The content is tailored to your personal needs, so you will not waste time on topics that are irrelevant to you.

Learning a language in immersion abroad is the fastest way to become fluent, and we’d love to talk to you about it!

Images: Alex Hammond
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