If you speak to a person in a language that he understands, you are speaking to his mind. If you speak his native language, you speak to his heart.
We have already written about the benefits of learning a second, third or tenth foreign language more than once. This is an excellent exercise for the brain, improves cognitive abilities, allows you to better concentrate on tasks and protect yourself from external stimuli, and is the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
But we are all busy people and the standard terms of learning a foreign language (4-5 years) do not suit us. The pace of life has accelerated, and everything else has accelerated. And a huge number of methods have appeared that allow you to cope with this task in 3 months.
In a guest post on Zen Habits, Maneesh Sethi, author of the Hack The System blog, shares his technique. He studied foreign languages for four years and now speaks English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and German. It took Manish 3 months to learn Italian, 2 months to learn Spanish, and about 3 weeks to learn Portuguese.
Manish Seti believes that in order to successfully and quickly learn a foreign language, first of all, you need to change your approach – to become an active student who not only allows himself to be taught, but takes part in the process and constantly asks questions.
The only “but” in this system: in order to learn a new language in 90 days, you must spend at least 3-4 hours every day on learning and at least the first month to study with a teacher. If you do not have this opportunity, then the terms are stretched, but at the same time there are still much less than the standard terms of language learning.
- Find the right resources. Grammar textbooks, films, books and word memorization programs.
- Hire a tutor. For at least one month. Exercise for 4 hours a day is recommended, but not required.
- Try to speak and think in the language you are learning. Practice with vocabulary every day.
- Find friends who speak this language. Ideal if they are native speakers of the target language.
Study plan for 90 days
This is a period of intensive language learning and work with a tutor. According to Manish, group activities are relaxing and allow you to be lazy. A one-on-one lesson with a teacher boosts your language learning and keeps you in good shape all the time. You must learn 30 new words every day.
Why exactly 30? Because in 90 days you will know the language by about 80% and your vocabulary (just under 3 words) will be quite enough for fluent communication.
After the first intensive month of study, you are already quite able to communicate with native speakers. After all, it is communication, and not completing tasks from a textbook, that allows us to memorize new words and phrases well.
The ideal would be to visit the country whose language you are studying. But I think that if this is not possible, going to the conversation clubs will be enough.
In the third month, your estimated language level should be enough to watch movies and read books. In this case, you should learn 30 new words every day throughout the entire period.
Manish also thinks that if you don’t have a mate, it would be great to find a mate who is a native speaker. Once he met a man (American) who spoke fluent Russian. Manish asked how long it took him to learn this complex language. To which he replied: “Two wives.”
And now for the most important thing: the resources and applications to help you get the job done.
You can use special applications to memorize words. If you prefer Apple devices, then the Genius app might come in handy. The app selects questions or words carefully using the spaced repetition method. The more often you make mistakes, the more often the program will ask you questions. Manish recommends making the program suggest a word in your native language that needs to be translated into a foreign one. Then it will be better remembered, because it is always more difficult to translate from your native language into a foreign one. And we are not looking for easy ways.
For PC users, the Anki program is recommended, which allows you not only to learn a foreign language, but also to prepare for various exams.
In addition to the familiar Google Translate, WordReference.com (for working with most Romance languages) and dict.cc (for learning German) may be helpful.
For conversational practice, check out The Mixxer, a resource that allows you to find people to chat with on Skype.
If you are not already familiar with the Couchsurfing.org service, read this article. Meetup.com goes to the same piggy bank.
I would like to add a few words from myself. I perfectly understand that such a forced way of learning a foreign language is not available for many. Still, 4 hours of classes every day for a month for many is much more expensive than the monthly cost of a tutor.
Unfortunately, we cannot load a software package with languages directly into the brain. But if you study with a teacher at least two or three times a week, replenish your vocabulary by 30 new words every day, read books, watch films and try to think in the target language, then you should definitely succeed. And of course, talk, talk and talk wherever possible.