You’ve probably heard the oft-cited claim that it takes 1000 hours of study to master a language. While few people who have actually become bilingual would agree with such an arbitrary number, it is clear that it does take a lot of commitment. The US Foreign Service publishes updated guidance every year on how long should be spent on average to master specific languages.
This so-called Language Difficulty Index suggests that the “easiest” languages take 575 hours to learn, while those in the hardest category take more than 1100 to reach a level of fluency. But what about those that need to learn a language quickly? Read on to find out the tried and tested tips to learn a language as quickly as possible.
While signing up for a class and sitting with 30 other people while a lecturer teaches you French vowels is one way to do it, this is arguably not the most effective path. Instead, you should opt for focused, one-on-one French tutoring from a native speaker, who can devote 100% of their attention to you and put you on the quickest path to fluency. No two people learn the same way and so tailoring the lessons to suit your strengths and pitfalls can be the fastest way to learn.
You probably know this already, but we will repeat it since you are reading this in English. To learn another language, you need to immerse yourself in it. The more completely you immerse yourself, the quicker you will learn. Cut all other languages out of your life and ensure that your sole means of communication and absorbing information is in the language you are learning. You will shock yourself at how quickly you pick it up.
Speak It, a Lot!
It is one thing to read and watch TV shows in your chosen language. It is another thing entirely to actually put yourself out there and speak it. You must have the confidence and self-assurance to actually practice your language with others in a spoken environment. Writing is helpful but will get you nowhere near as far as speaking does. If you wish to learn, speak!
Learn the Right Words
You might have already heard that the vast majority of languages are covered by a small handful of words. To cite the example of English (and most Germanic/Indo-European languages), once you know 1000 words, you know more than 90% of the entirety of the language. Utilize your time to the fullest extent by prioritizing the most commonly spoken words you need to know. Once you have this base level, it will be much easier to learn the rest, just as understanding the grammar will be easier.
Confidence is Everything
Finally, don’t forget that you are the most important resource in your language learning journey. If you do not have confidence in your abilities, you will never reach fluency. Confidence is key to being able to actually practice with a native speaker, just as it is key for actually stepping outside of your comfort zone and immersing yourself in a world that will seem very unfamiliar to you at first. Once you have the confidence, the rest comes easily.
There is no magic bullet for learning a language, but there are ways to accelerate the process. By following these steps, you can do exactly that.