Who Has The Time?

Many people have told me, "I want to learn a new language, but I don't have the time." I completely understand.  If you do a quick internet search about the time it takes to learn a language, you might get discouraged before you even begin!  According to Language Testing International (2016), it can take up to 720 hours to become fluent in Spanish or French.  Research also states that getting to this advanced level of proficiency in a new language requires about 4 hours of practice each day for 6 months (LTI, 2016). Wow. With stats like that, who does have the time?!

My goal is to stop this discouraging thinking. You can learn another language....and still have a life.  Please read below for some helpful hints for learning a new language quickly.

1. Repetition, repetition, repetition!

To feel confident in your new language skills, you should focus on repeating key words and phrases that will actually be useful in your everyday life.  For example, if you live in a busy city, studying farm vocabulary might be a waste of time.  Take note of words or phrases you use in your everyday life and then repeat them as much as possible in your desired second language.  Do you ever notice how people who are not bilingual still know how to say "thank you," "please," and "goodbye" in other languages?  That is because these common phrases are repeated often.  When learning to communicate fluently in another language, repetition makes perfect!

2. Immerse yourself

Although I have studied Spanish for 20 years, I was not truly confident with my skills until I forced myself to communicate in the language everyday when I began teaching bilingual first grade 5 years ago.  This just goes to show you that until you immerse yourself into an environment in which the foreign language is spoken, you will not achieve an advanced level of proficiency.  Don't worry....you don't have to move to Paris to become fluent in French (although that sounds pretty great to me).  Immersing yourself in a language can be as simple as finding a friend with whom you can practice your skills, or watching a television program in another language.  If you are consistent and push yourself out of your comfort zone to practice the new language, you WILL see results!

3. Pick up a pen!

I have a secret weapon for learning a language quickly that is often overlooked....writing!  When thinking of learning a new language, the focus primarily lands on speaking it and reading it.  Those are important, but do not underestimate the power of writing in a foreign language!  When you write out words and phrases in your desired second or third language, you ignite a different part of the brain that helps commit the new vocabulary to memory.  I am a visual learner, so writing in the languages that I want to learn helps me immensely.  Writing also helps you to notice differences in spelling, and noting the nuances in the phonetic make-up of the word will help you with pronunciation.  Also, writing out "scripts" for different situations will give you the confidence to try speaking in the new language in real life!

I hope that you continue your quest to learning a new language without getting discouraged.  Remember that although no one becomes perfectly fluent in a language overnight, you can make significant progress by believing in yourself and following my helpful hints.

If you would like extra help, I offer one-on-one specialized classes through Skype.  Learn more here.