8. Teaching Sparky a New

How to learn a new language?


how to learn a new language fast“I studied Spanish for seven years in school, but all I can remember is hola and adios.”

Sound familiar?

Learning a new language is one of the most enriching and rewarding skills we can acquire over a lifetime, but why is it so difficult? If you studied a language in school, why are you still unable to carry out a basic conversation?

You don’t want to spend another seven years re-learning a language the wrong way again, so here are five ways to learn a language fast!

1. Put Yourself in a Situation Where Growth Is Inevitable

If you give yourself an option of using your language skills, chances are you will choose to not use them. Our brain will instinctively choose the decision that is simple and requires less thought. Like acquiring any new skill, learning a new language is going to require strong will. You must consciously lock yourself outside your comfort zone and not allow yourself to step back inside it for a while. It’s not an easy decision, and may require some creative thought, but the results are well worth the effort.

Many people say the best way to learn a new language is by living in the country—this is not true! More often than not, when you are in that country, the natives will want to practice their English skills when they see you. We live in a world where English is a desirable and lucrative skill to have, so most foreign countries will have an English-speaking population, especially around the larger cities. In this situation, growth is not inevitable; it is still optional.

But is it truly possible to keep ourselves in a situation where we have no choice but to use our language skills? Yes!

When I moved to China, I was assigned to work at a school in a less industrialized part of the Shenzhen. Although it was a city of over 12 million people, it was rare to find any Chinese people fluent in English. Most of the time, I was the only foreigner within a given 5-mile radius. This was insanely frustrating at first, but it forced me to start learning the language. If I wanted to order food at a restaurant or find my way around the city, I had to start communicating with the locals. Within a few weeks, I acquired dozens of new, useful phrases that may have taken me months to learn otherwise.

2Not living abroad? No problem! There are still plenty of ways to make learning unavoidable. Some of these might include switching your cell phone or social media to the language you are studying, committing yourself to a language group or finding a conversation partner. You can even try visual cues by taping a list of new words to your bathroom and kitchen walls.

By forcing yourself into such situations where you must use your target language, you’re guaranteed to learn faster.

2. Value Fluency over Accuracy

Another way to learn at a more rapid pace is to value fluency over accuracy, which is one of the most difficult, yet powerful concepts to comprehend. First, let’s clarify what I mean by “fluency” and “accuracy.”

Fluency is the ability to express oneself easily and articulately. It means using the language smoothly in real time.

Accuracy, on the other hand, is the ability to be correct and precise. It means communicating without any grammatical, vocabulary, tonal and other errors.

Yes, these two are distinct entities. You can be fluent in a language without having 100% accuracy. Alternatively, you can have language accuracy while still not being anywhere near fluent. The ultimate goal when learning a new language is to use it fluently, not accurately.

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