Learn a language right away
If you want to learn a language quickly, you don’t want to spend years doing it. You probably would like to start speaking right away.
Well, have I got some good news for you.
You can learn a language quickly. In just a few weeks, you can learn enough to hold simple conversations. Don’t buy into the hype of becoming fluent in 30 days or some other ridiculously short period.
Fluency does take years, but you don’t have to be fluent to speak.
Focus on the right things to learn a language quickly
You can learn to speak a new language and even be proficient in 3 to 4 months. You just have to make sure you are focusing and working on the right things.
I’ve learned several languages, from easier-to-learn Spanish to impossible-to-learn Thai. I learned them well enough to speak – and if I can do it, you can too.
So, let me share my top three tips to help you learn a language quickly.
1. Only learn the words you need to learn
Remember the 80/20 rule?
It states that for most things in life roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts.
For example, in business, 80% of productivity comes from 20% of the workers. 80% of profits come from 20% of the customers.
The 80/20 rule is true in most of life and certainly true when it comes to learning a language. With this rule in mind, you only need to learn about 20% of the language to be able to speak 80% of the language.
However, that’s still a lot of words. Well, I have more good news for you.
You can get by in most languages with only a few hundred words.
This is a simple concept and based on these three assumptions:
- There are many words you will seldom use, so don’t lean them
- The words you’ll use all the time are the ones you should learn
- There are a lot of ways to say the same thing, so just learn one way
For example, in Italian, you can buy, purchase, procure, or get – a coat (comprare, acquistare, procurare, ottenere).
You don’t need to learn all of those words when telling someone you want to buy a coat.
2. Speak simply and speak incorrectly
Saying to the taxi driver, “Go train station” works just as well as, “I need to go to the train station. Can you take me there?”
Forget about grammar (at least, at first) and stop trying to be a perfect speaker.
Your goal should be to just be understood.
Once you start speaking and listening the grammar will come. When I was learning Italian I started speaking incorrectly but people understood me.
I went from
- “We meet nine” to
- “We meet at nine” to
- “Let’s meet at nine” to
- “Ok, I can meet you at nine.”
Forget the grammar – speak it and it will come.
3. Speak – and then speak some more
The ONLY way you will learn to speak a new language quickly is to actually speak it.
In language, speaking incorrectly is better than not speaking at all. Actually, you learn a language by making mistakes.
You won’t learn a new language from an app or a book (you can learn why apps fail you, here), you have to talk to real people and make a lot of mistakes.
Overcoming fear to learn a language quickly
Overcoming the fear of speaking was probably my biggest challenge, and I’m guessing it might be yours, too.
The reality is you must overcome the fear and shyness of speaking incorrectly to strangers. People appreciate the attempt to speak their language and are always sympathetic to new language learners.
You have to start somewhere so find a program that teaches keywords and phrases and that does NOT teach grammar. Of course, Easy Travel Speak can help you with that.
But even if you choose another program focus on the parts of the language you will use and forget about speaking perfectly. You’ll be surprised how quickly you are able to communicate and how quickly you start to pick up the grammar