How to quickly and easily learn any language?
We could make up a little system and pretend how to use it, but the fastest way to learn a language is to use what works. It's been demonstrated through the work of Professor Stephen Krashen and many others that lists of vocabulary and grammar rules are not the most effective way for a human to learn a foreign language. In fact, humans don't learn foreign languages, they acquire them.
1. Use comprehensible input
That's material which you understand most of what you're watching, reading, or listening to because you understand the words and phrases that are involved. Any new words and phrases you can pick up them naturally because you understand everything else going on, so your level of comprehension is already relatively high, and if you are a beginner, using images, hand gestures, even hearing sounds can also help you understand the message because your brain basically a pattern recognition machine which will start to pick up the language without us having to force it.
In order to learn quicker, we have to do two things:
- Use material that uses comprehensible input
- Get as much input as you possibly can
Both of these will look different for different people, some people talk about trying to learn the most frequent words in a language in order to give them a head start, and personally, I don't think this works that well, the reason If you memorize the top 100 words in any language, sure, you'll know the most frequent words, but it won't be as helpful because these aren't the sorts of words that we need to have an interesting conversation. They're not the subject of the conversation, and because they're the most frequent words, we don't have to try and learn them, we're going to see them in every book, every story, We're going to see them all the time.
Rather than having to force ourselves by remembering these words and then translating them in our heads, if we use comprehensible input material, we can retrieve the same words and hopefully have a much more enjoyable time when doing so.
Our recollection of them will be better too because we will have acquired them in the same way that we did as a child, we won't be struggling to remember the translation because we need huge amounts of input, and that will help to reinforce any word that we've acquired.
2. Use content that you would normally do in English
This will look different for everyone, but a study found that if you can start consuming content that you normally do in English, you will naturally learn the language, but what would you do if you're a beginner to use this method? Start by going on watch something and looking up your target language and then TPRS or comprehensible input, which stands for automatic language growth and you'll find tons of input these days for all the major languages.
If you're going to learn a target language that's a bit more out, find a teacher and use a method called crosstalk where you speak in English and the other speaker speaks in your target language.
In those lessons, you can use drawings or hand gestures, noises in order to start to acquire that language or you can also start by reading if you want and starting with classic, very simple dialogues, but the more and more you read material, you acquire new words and pick up a language that way. There are things called graded readers, which are books aimed at adult learners of that language, so instead of having to try and read children's books, you can use a website where you can also find some material for learning.
3. Try and use material that is relatively easy
We should have high comprehension of it, otherwise, you spend the entire time just looking up translations. For example If you have been learning French for two years but you only listen to one podcast a week, then over that two-year period, that isn't really a huge amount of time, but let's say you listen to the same podcast and their back catalog every day, and let's say your commute, in total is about an hour and a half, and maybe you get half an hour for while lunch, that's two hours of listening
Potentially, in one month you could have listened to more hours of French than the previous two years combined, let that sink in because that's really important. In one month of consistent daily input, you can get more input than the previous two years of dabbling combined, then as you get used to the language, you can have it in the background when you're cooking, and when you're getting ready for work you can do this by playing content from watching or listening to stuff, which you would normally do in your target language.
4. Make it comprehensible to you
The key thing is, though, if you want to keep making progress, it should be comprehensible to you, fairly easy to understand. You understand most of what's being said, that way, you're going to pick up new words in context instead of struggling and just about understanding the meaning. If speed is important to you, then actually you need to try and use as much easy stuff as possible, and over time your perception of what's hard will change. This broadly follows the ideas of automatic language growth where we just naturally acquire the words because of context alone.
You don't need to learn in the fastest period of time possible, sometimes it is nice to just put on some stuff you find interesting enough. Maybe you don't understand everything, but it keeps you motivated to come back and stay with your target language, and you still get some exposure to it as well.
if you have more time and can add more hours of input a day, find third party helper applications or you can find a teacher who talks about comprehensive input. Sometimes people mention Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling, message a teacher first and explain what you want in a lesson, and if you want to save money, you can just find a language exchange partner and chat with them online for free.
5. Get meaningful hours of input
The research is quite clear, we just need to use huge amounts of comprehensible input. The best thing about this method is it improves your comprehension, so you're not left talking to a native speaker and got no idea what they just said because you hadn't had enough input. Sometimes that i need is find motivating, is to track the amount of input I get every day, there are some apps that do this automatically, and you can add some extra stuff by watching something off platform. Therefore, I only save material that I think is easy to understand because if my level of understanding is not high enough, I can't guarantee its effectiveness.