Fast, Quick and Efficient: 5 Tips To Learn A New Language
1. Use A Language App
Where to start when you want to learn a new language from scratch, and you don’t have the budget to buy a decent language course like Rosetta Stone? No worries, there are plenty of apps that are free or at least super cheap. I tested many, but the first I found and actually liked was Memrise, especially after they launched official Memrise courses.
Later on I discovered Babbel, which I might like even better. Memrise offers way more courses, also on specific topics, but Babbel does a better job at including and explaining grammar. I believe it gives a more solid base. I now use them both to learn Spanish – Memrise to increase my vocabulary and Babbel to truly understand what I’m doing.
Our founder, Serkan Kurtulus, has learned Hungarian to a pretty neat (and funny!) extent with DuoLingo! And there is many other apps that serve as a language learning resource. Google, as always, is your best friend, and find an app that serves your style best.
2. Speak To Natives
Once you know enough to introduce yourself, tell someone how your day was and ask some basic questions, it’s best to just start talking to native speakers. There are numerous forums out there that connect language learners. Babbel’s website has for example one, but just Google it and you’ll find enough options, like ConversationExchanges.com and iTalkie.com.
What you think the Natives will think of you is not true. You may think you will sound funny, or the native speakers will make fun you, but No! Discard that thought and do give it a try whether you are learning Japanese, or learning Mandarin, or Norwegian, or Hungarian, or whatever. Locals and Natives do appreciate even if it’s just a simple “Hello” in their own language!
3. Read The Local Newspaper (Online)
Ready to go beyond the basics? Find a newspaper, or magazine of your interest with a news section, and starting reading. Even when it’s just one item per day, just try. It will be frustrating at first and you might need Google Translate in your bookmarks bar, but it’s a great exercise. You will see the words you’ve learned in their real context and pick up new words, too. There is indeed the risk of understanding things in a completely different context, and find yourself entertaining others over a beer with your “opinions on local matters” — but who cares? You are learning a new foreign language. That’s what matters.
4. Listen To The Radio
Even when you’re not confident about your new skills just yet, listening to a local radio station works wonders! Just put it on in the background while you’re cleaning your house. Familiarise yourself with the sounds of a new language and even try to sing along with some songs. Don’t know any radio stations? Try TuneIn.com. or radio.garden
5. Visit The Country
Of course, the best and fastest way is to just visit a country where they speak your desired language and force yourself to stick to the language. Even if you feel like you speak like a 5-year old, order your drinks, ask directions and buy tickets in the local language. If you have the possibility of doing this for 3-4 weeks, or even longer, that’s great! But even a weekend will help you improve.
These are my 5 favourite ways to learn a new language, but I’m always happy to learn about new tricks! There is a lot of language learning resources out there. What do you do to improve your skills? Tell me in the comment section below, are you getting language lessons, or join the discussion on social media!
Here’s a bonu 6th tip, coming from a seasoned digital nomad I know:
6. Find local teachers that “walk you through the experience”
There is no better way than learning a language from a native speaker. So, wherever you go, you will always find local teachers willing to give you all the grammar, words and essentials to learn the language. But No!, ask them to take you out for shopping, to the butcher, to the local food market, to the travel agent, to the … whatever experience you want to get. Learn it live! There is nothing more powerful than that when learning a new foreign language!