How to learn a language in just weeks
When you want to study abroad, you need to learn the language, otherwise you will miss out on the best part! But studying vocabulary lists and grammar ruler are boring, so I want to give you some tips how to learn a language in just weeks, and have fun while doing it.
1. Free Podcasts
Search for free language podcasts and listen to them where ever you go, in the car, bus, while you exercise, do dishes and in bed before you are going to sleep. You don’t have to memorize it, just get used to the pronunciation and try to remember the words without any pressure. Here is a link to the best Language Learning Podcasts.
2. Connect with Native Speakers
Put up an ad on Craigslist or find people in your network that are native speakers of the language that you want to learn. Invite them for a cup of coffee once a week and ask them to talk to you in the foreign language. Depending on your knowledge of the language, you can answer in your native language or try to throw in the words that you already know in the foreign language.
3. KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid
Try not to focus too much on grammar, rules, pronunciation and exceptions. Yeah, thats right – no grammar!!! Always remember, when a foreigner comes up to you and asks you something like: Where find toilet I? You will still understand what he or she means, right? After you have a basic grasp of the foreign language, you can start concentrating on those issues, but it is more important that people will understand the basic meaning of what you are saying than perfect grammar use, don’t you agree?
4. Focus on Important Words
Make a list of 150 very important words and expressions that are essential for everyday communication. Look them up in a dictionary and study them, so you know them by heart! Believe it or not, 150 words will get you further than you imagine.
– Where is…
– Can you repeat that, please?
– Thank you
– Can you speak slower?
– Can you help me, please?
– I want to go…
– How much is this?
Write them on flash cards and put them into categories, such as: Which expressions can I use on the road, at home, in class, with friends, etc. If a word fits into several categories, write them down several times and put them into each category. You can also write these words on Post-its and put them up all over your room. I always put some in the kitchen and bathroom over the sink and read them, while I was doing dishes or brushing my teeth.
5. Watch movies in the foreign language with subtitles
Watch movies in the language that you want to learn and read the subtitles. Try to understand as much as you can and get used to the language. After you have seen the movie a couple of times and know the story, try it without subtitles.
6. Read books/stories in the foreign language
Buy a book that you already know very well in the language you want to learn and read it. Try to read it slow and understand as much as you can. If you don’t understand some of the words, try to guess their meaning from context and only look it up, if it comes up several times and you still don’t know what it means. Add this word to your study list!
The most important thing about learning a foreign language is that you are committed and try to get as much exposure to this language as possible. It definitely does NOT mean to burry yourself in front of your desk and study vocabulary and grammar for weeks and weeks. Speak the language whenever possible and try not to be afraid of mistakes. The person you are speaking to will appreciate you effort and will think highly of you!
I hope these 6 tips on how to learn a language in just weeks in an interesting, interactive and practical way were helpful to you. You will not learn stupid expressions from textbooks that you will never need, but words that you will use every single day while you study abroad and connect with local people there.
How to learn a language in just weeks – image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Globe_of_language.png
Do you have the “150 very important words and expressions ” list?
Can you share it? I am thinking to add this to my learning Chinese website (LearnChineseEveryday.com).
Super post, Need to mark it on Digg
Thanks Elcoj, glad you like it!
Great post on learning a new language since I am learning Japanese. I am definitely bookmarking this site
If you are learnin Chinese, you will spend more time.
It’s always worth learning something before going to new places – it a few weeks you might not learn much, especially if it’s one of those ‘difficult’ languages, but the more you know, the better your trip will be!