It can be tedious to learn a language. There will always be a certain amount of raw memorization required. However, there are also many little techniques to help students learn a language efficiently. Labelling things around the house in the language you want to learn comes to mind. Listening to tapes while in the car is another. I used several techniques to quickly learn Spanish.
How I Quickly Learned Spanish
My journey through Spanish started before my trip to Ecuador. I first studied Spanish books for six weeks before leaving but I didn’t speak a word of the language during this time. This was a big mistake. I was just able to converse with the locals in the hostel in Quito the day after I arrived. However, within a few days, I was discussing philosophy, politics and more.
How did I learn Spanish so quickly? I didn’t really. I had a very limited vocabulary when I arrived in Ecuador, and a very limited vocabulary when I left. However, I could use what little Spanish I knew to express myself. This I credit to a habit that fortunately is also a great technique for learning a language.
I have conversations in my head. I think of what I am about to say, and play out future discussions in my imagination. I found myself doing this in Spanish too. The result was that I learned how to speak the language quickly, and say a lot with few words.
Learn To Think In A Language
People imagine that they have to be fluent to think in a language. This just isn’t true. You can choose to think “I am walking to the store,” so there is no reason you can’t think “Yo estoy caminando a la tienda,” as soon as you know those six words. If you don’t know the word “caminar” (to walk), this also helps you recognised words that you use regularly so you can look them up as you get stuck.
One reason this is a great way to learn a language is that it helps you remember the words. Repetition works, and saying the words, even if only in your mind, works better than reading or hearing them. When you make a point of translating your thoughts into your new language, you are always practising.
It is more than just good practice, though. Putting your thoughts into your new language forces you to learn not just words and rules, but also specific ways to express what you want to say. We all talk about different things and have different interests, right? A doctor might want to know how to say “where does it hurt?” while I may want to ask where the toilets are. Often, you learn what others think you should know. This helps, but your thoughts are uniquely yours, and when you think in your new language, you are learning exactly what YOU need to learn.
Speaking a language is perhaps the best way to learn it, and thinking it is just speaking it in your mind. You’ll learn your most important words, expressions and sentences quickly if you are thinking them continually. To help you cultivate this habit, carry a language dictionary with you to use whenever your thoughts stop flowing. There are many apps that you can download, completely free! This is a powerful way to learn a language and start speaking it quickly.
At Agape School of Education (ASE), we keep our classes small so our teachers can connect with their students on a personal level. This helps them tailor their lessons and teaching approaches to the individual student. We also combine the technical aspect of language with the cultural. This reinforces the love of the language and helps the student better grasp the language. Our goal is to impart knowledge and inspire passion in our students, and our coaching approach helps our students deal with the emotional aspect of learning a new language. Find available courses here.