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I am running a website called Languages Are Easy, where I teach how to learn a foreign language and I truly believe that you can learn any language you want. However, I didn’t always think this way.
I remember sitting at high school on English class thinking, ”Thank God I never need to study languages after school. It’s so hard for me. I don’t have a language gene like some other people so I want to concentrate on other things in life.”
Fast forward a few years. From the endless world of opportunities on the Internet, I found the best language learners in the world. There were guys who speak 5, 10, 20 or even 40 different languages. Some of them weren’t able to speak any foreign languages before their adult age.
I realized learning languages doesn’t depend on your genes, age, talent or anything like that. It mostly depends on your attitude, mindset, and techniques. I learned to speak English and Spanish fluently. I speak and read in French, German, Swedish and my native language is Finnish. In addition, nowadays I know I can learn any new language if I want.
Let me share 5 tips that will help YOU to learn languages easily while having fun.
1. Learn from the Best
When you go to school your teacher is usually a person who has received his diploma/certificate at a local university. Sometimes he knows what he’s doing but sometimes he doesn’t.
The great thing is that nowadays you don’t have to rely on your local language teacher anymore. You have the Internet where you can find the best language teachers and learners in the world.
They weren’t able to speak any foreign languages before but after learning the right mindset and effective methods, they mastered several languages. The old wisdom says, “If you do what other successful people do, you’ll eventually get the same results that they do.”
I recommend having a look at Fluent in 3 Months course where the best language learners in the world share their wisdom. Alternatively, you can just go to YouTube or Google and search, ”How to learn languages quickly” ”How to speak 10 languages” or something similar and you’ll find tons of wonderful resources from world-class teachers.
2. Get Rid of Thoughts That Are Holding You Back
Have you ever heard these phrases,
- ”I can’t learn languages because I’m too old.”
- ”I don’t have a language gene / I am not talented with languages.”
- ”Languages are so hard to me.”
- ”If I only would have more time and money I could learn languages.”
- ”Pronunciation is impossible. Also, the grammar is too hard. I think I can never learn.”
Do you know what? I had almost all of these excuses before. During the years when I have talked with hundreds of people about language learning, I realized that these are pretty common excuses.
Most of them are BS. You don’t need a language gene for learning languages. Studies show that adults can learn languages much faster than kids. I was pretty surprised for the first time but I have realized it’s completely true. The older I get, the faster I can learn new languages. Learning languages doesn’t depend on your age but your attitude and methods.
In my opinion, getting rid of thoughts that are holding you is one of the most crucial steps to mastering foreign languages.
3. Use Learning Methods That You Enjoy
Ever felt tired of reading old textbooks?
Are you super excited about going to a class after a long working day? Most people aren’t.
Do you enjoy reading long vocabulary lists or memorizing grammar rules? I know only one person who likes that. Most people don’t.
The good news is that nowadays there are more resources for learning new languages than ever before in the human history. You don’t need to go to a classical course to learn your dream language. You don’t need to buy old textbooks.
You can choose a method that you would enjoy doing for hours. Let me give one example that has worked for me. Then I’ll also share other techniques that can be useful for you.
3.1. Language Learning Games
I like playing games. I have always liked games since I was a small child. Actually, I became one of the best chess players of Finland at a young age because I enjoyed playing it a lot.
You can imagine how excited I was when I found out that there are language learning games. I am not talking about only games for children. There is, for example, a language learning game called LingQ that is created by Steve Kaufman who speaks 16 languages himself. He used the game himself for mastering several languages.
Have you ever heard of games like Duolingo, Memrise, Babbel, Rosetta Stone (especially popular in the U.S.), Bliu Bliu, Busuu, and others? All of these are games that will help you to master vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar at the same time.
Games are just one example of enjoyable learning. There are also many other ways like:
- Find a language exchange partner
- Go to language cafes
- Listen to podcasts
- Try creative methods like Mimic Method, Earworms or Speechling.
- Listen to audiobooks, watch movies, read interesting books in your target language
Let me tell you about one very interesting and effective way
3.2. Find a Language Partner
Ever felt that you would like to practice a new language but you don’t know anybody who would practice with you? No problemo!
We have the Internet today that is full of people like you who want to practice same languages like you want. There are also hundreds and thousands of native speakers of your target language.
There are several websites where you can find language partners fast and easy. My favorite is Italki. Let me give you an example how you can use it.
I wanted to learn Spanish but I didn’t have anybody so I could have practiced it. I went to Italki and searched for Spanish native speakers who would like to learn Finnish (that’s my native language). I was surprised because I found several people.
Then I started practicing with one Spanish lady who wanted to learn Finnish. She improved her Finnish and I improved Spanish. We became close friends and my Spanish level also skyrocketed.
This example also tells that you don’t need to live in a certain country to learn your target language. I learned more German in 2 months while living in Finland than living for one year in Austria where German is a native language.
The internet has made it possible to learn any language from anywhere in the world.
Some websites to find language partners on the Internet:
4. Practice daily
Have you ever thought how people usually study languages at school?
You go to a class 1-3 times per week and don’t study it for the rest of the week (maybe you quickly do your homework). Then you have a winter holiday of two weeks when you don’t study the language. During the summer holiday, you have a break of 2-3 months and you need to start over again by repeating the same words and phrases.
It’s not a coincidence that it takes 10 years to learn a language at school. On the other hand, if you are using effective methods, you can become fluent even in 3 months. But that doesn’t happen if you are studying the language only once or twice a week.
I highly recommend practicing your target language daily. Even though you would only practice 15 minutes a day it’s still better than studying for 2 hours once a week. Consistency is a key. 30 minutes per day is much better than 2 hours twice a week.
You’ll keep your language skills active and you don’t have time to forget the words during the week so much.
Also, don’t worry if you would need to practice the same word over and over again. Language experts say that you need to learn a new word 40 times on average until you have really mastered it. Sometimes it takes only 3 times but sometimes it takes 60 times. Don’t punish yourself for making mistakes.
This takes us to the next point which is probably the most important one.
5. Embrace Mistakes
At school, I was afraid of making mistakes, especially during the language lessons. I was thinking that people would laugh at me and sometimes they did. As a result, I didn’t do very much because I tried to avoid mistakes as much as possible. You can imagine why I didn’t learn fast.
Realizing that mistakes are key to success in life literally revolutionized my language learning. Instead of thinking that mistakes are bad I realized that mistakes are proof that I’m doing something.
When Benny Lewis (the guy who speaks 15 languages) studies new languages, sometimes he sets himself a goal to make at least 100 mistakes per day.
Of course, making mistakes isn’t the goal itself. But if you make 0 mistakes, you are probably learning nothing new.
After Using My Tips => Enjoy the Results
I traveled to Spain in the end of 2014. I am a Christian so I participated a Bible study at my friend’s home. There was a friendly atmosphere but I couldn’t fully understand everything that they were speaking because my Spanish wasn’t fluent. I said to myself that one day I’ll be able to understand everything.
In June of 2015, I traveled to Paris and I participated one Spanish-speaking Bible study. again Guess what? I was able to understand everything that people said and participated myself because my Spanish was now fluent. You can imagine the joy that I had inside.
When I tried to study language with ”old-school” methods, I studied English for 10 years without being able to speak it fluently. But after using some techniques that I mentioned in this article I have been able to learn languages faster than ever before.
Conclusion – 5 tips in a Nutshell
Here’s a little recap:
- Learn from the Best
- Get Rid of Thoughts That Are Holding You Back
- Use Learning Methods That You Enjoy
- Practice daily
- Embrace Mistakes
I hope you have enjoyed reading my article and I believe these tips will be very helpful for you when you put them into practice. Remember that nothing will change unless you put these tips to action.
Albert Einstein said it’s insanity to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Start implementing these tips to your language learning today and it you may learn languages faster than ever before.
If you would like to learn more about how to learn languages easily, feel free to visit my website. If you think, ”Hey Roope, but I don’t have time to do these!” Check out my article where I explain how you can learn a new language without using a minute of your time.
What kind of methods do you enjoy using to learn languages?
Have you got thoughts that have been holding you back from learning new languages?
Which language would you like to learn next?