Some people may think there is a special gene that allows you to learn several foreign languages during your life. In fact, knowing several foreign languages is not a special gift and does not require many years of hard work. Everyone can do it following 10 rules stated below.
1. Learn New Words in the Right Way
Learning a new language requires learning a lot of new words. Some people assume they have a bad memory for words. Finally, they can surrender and stop learning. But the point is that you must not learn all the words of the new language. For example, in English, about 70% of the writings include about 300 words only. They are used very often and such a scheme works for all languages.
There are special applications for PCs and smartphones to help study other languages. The cards method is used in it, when one word is written on one side and the translation is on the other one. You can use paper cards made by yourself.
2. Related Words
You are already familiar with many words of another language. For example, there are many words in Romance languages related to English ones. “Action”, “nation”, “solution”, “communication” and hundreds other words with the ending “-tion” sound the similar way in French, and you can immediately start using them when you are accustomed to the pronunciation.
To find common words, you can search for borrowed or related words. This method is suitable for all European languages, but what is about other languages, for example, Japanese? It turns out that even in the “remote” language you can find fairly familiar words. Many languages borrowed words from English and adapted them.
3. Do Not Waste Money
The best Internet resources to learn a language are free. While the assistance of native teachers is expensive, the language courses are generally not. The Duolingo website offers excellent free courses in different languages. A number of free courses are provided by FSI and Omniglot. BBC Languages helps to learn the basic phrases of more than 40 languages. The About.com website gives information about some aspects of different languages. In addition, you may also use Google Translate. So, there are enough opportunities for free education.
4. It Is Not Necessary to Travel
To study a foreign language, you don’t need to buy an air ticket to go abroad – you can easily do it via the Internet. Listen to conversations and lyrics in a foreign language on thousands of radio stations from other countries.
Use Internet resources and download your favorite movies in a foreign language. You can also use the news online services of different countries; for example, France24, Deutsche Welle, CNN Español and many others. In addition to the news, you can read blogs and various popular websites.
5. Use Skype and Other Similar Apps
So, you already have what to listen to, what to watch and even what to read at home. The next stage is a conversation with native speakers. If your goal of learning a language includes speaking, this point is important. After learning basic words, immediately get in touch with native speakers and start speaking. It is not as difficult as it may seem. You can find interlocutors or professional teachers on the Internet. For example, you can find Japanese or Spanish courses on Skype for about $5 per hour.
6. Adults Learn Foreign Languages Better than Children
The scientists from Haifa University, Israel, proved that adults are better able to learn foreign languages than children. Adults can intuitively understand grammar rules. With age, we do not acquire any special hindrances to study foreign languages, except, of course, surrounding factors. Adult people spend lots of time at work and they cannot devote many hours to study. So, to quickly learn a language, you do not need to spend money, travel, or return to childhood.
7. How to Better Memorize Foreign Words?
To remember foreign words, the simple mechanical repetition is not sufficient. You can use mnemonics, the art of remembering. Invent a short funny story about the right word to remember and such an association will help. Use special web resources, for example, memrise.com. On this website, users come up with different stories for easier learning of languages and sciences. Use ready-made stories or invent your own.
8. Love Your Mistakes
The traditional system of studying foreign languages is the same as for other academic subjects. You simply need to memorize grammatical rules and words. At the beginning, it is important to start speaking right away, while with an accent and rather lean vocabulary that you have managed to acquire. Of course, you cannot talk perfectly. Love your mistakes. You practice, improve your knowledge and go forward.
9. Create Smart Goals
Another mistake while learning foreign languages is the absence of specific and reasonable goals. To make your goal achievable, lower your requests. For instance, if you work with French, aim to the advanced level (C2) and learn, for instance, German and Spanish only up to the intermediate level (B2), which is enough for speaking, reading, and watching films in these languages.
If you focus on the conversation while learning the language, you are able to fluently master the language in a few months. This is enough to get to the higher level. To schedule your learning process, it is better to mark the point of an event that comes, such as summer vacation, your birthday, the arrival of guests, etc. Check your level by special online tests.
10. Improving Your Knowledge
To constantly improve your level of spoken language and learn to speak fluently in just three months, you need to train constantly. You should speak a foreign language at least an hour a day, and it is advisable to choose different topics to learn more and more new words that are used in the conversation.
After regular training in colloquial speech, you will begin to understand grammar rules better. However, this approach does not work for everyone – some people prefer to learn grammar from the very beginning.
When your knowledge is very good, you can still have an accent. To make your speech similar to native speakers, pay attention to all features of their behavior and their ways to speak. Try to copy them and foreigners will begin to talk with you with pleasure.