While there are approximately 6,500 spoken languages in the world, at least 2,000 of those languages have less than 1,000 people who speak them. And while the language spoken by most of the people in the world is Mandarin Chinese, the most commonly spoken language is English. Mastering a new language is challenging for anyone, but there are ways to speed up the process.
Getting to grips with a new language is about a lot more than just fathoming words written in a book. Every language is rooted in a unique culture that usually dates back for thousands of years. Familiarizing oneself with the local customs of the language one intends to learn can be very helpful and is often a great starting point. As soon as a person starts learning a new language, it’s excellent advice to watch a movie in that language or dialect and to familiarize oneself with the new words and sounds. Here are 5 top tips for learning any new language fast – just remember to be persistent, diligent, and always do your homework.
One of the most powerful tools when it comes to any new language is to set yourself targets and rewards for yourself as and when you reach those targets. Completing exercises from textbooks or dedicating time to learning 20 new words from flashcards are some great examples of realistic goals to set. There are a lot of different quick language tests available online, and many of them are free of charge (at least for the basic version). Try to make learning fun and reward yourself with something you really love once you’ve hit those all-important targets.
One of the most effective tools one can employ when it comes to learning a new language is word association. When people use words or signals to remind them of other things, they tend to be easier to remember and are remembered more effectively on a long-term basis. For example, the words for hello in Japanese are “mooshi mooshi.” Think about how “mooshi” it makes you feel when someone says hello to you, and there you have it – word association. When one associates foreign words with words or phrases in their mother tongue, it makes remembering and recalling those words that much easier.
The Right Words
When it comes to learning new languages, there’s such thing as learning what is referred to as the “right words.” Obviously, in reality, there’s no such thing as right and wrong words, but every language has a top or “most popular” one or two hundred words. Interestingly, 100 words in English constitute 50 percent of written text and a top 1,000 words that make up 90 percent. By focusing on the top 200-800 words of a new language, you can make sure you’re learning the most common words and those that are most commonly used and popular.
Practice Makes Perfect
Another significant factor when it comes to learning and mastering any new language is practice. As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect,” and that certainly rings true when it comes to languages. If you happen to be one of those lucky people who’s learning a new language while living in a country where that language is spoken, talk to people as often and as much as possible. Don’t be shy of getting words wrong or stuttering a little as people will usually be patient enough and sympathetic to your plight.
Use The Internet
There’s no shortage of online forums and chatrooms for people learning new languages, and they don’t have to break the bank either. The internet, in general, is a fantastic resource when it comes to improving language skills, but there are special forums where people from different countries can type to each other or video chat. That’s an excellent resource for practicing the new language you’re learning, especially if you aren’t living in the country in which it’s spoken. Another good idea is to search for dubbed or subtitled cartoons or kids’ programs. You’d be surprised how effective a learning tool this can be to familiarise oneself with a new target language and to improve both reading and spoken language skills.