Matt Lillywhite


How To Learn A Language In 30 Days

Do you want to speak another language? These proven techniques will accelerate your progress

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Photo by iam Se7en on Unsplash

Most people are afraid of learning a new language. They’re scared of failing or sounding stupid when practicing, so they don’t even take the first steps to begin.

But being able to communicate in another language allows you to think differently, and will enable you to meet more people from around the world.

As Nelson Mandela once so eloquently said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

But how do you begin? And what are the best strategies for learning a language more efficiently?

Below are several strategies that I’ve personally used to learn Spanish to a fluent level. Some of them are easy. Others will take time to implement. However, if you put in the time & effort, all of them will work.

Are you ready? Let’s begin.

I’m not going to tell you the exact goals you should be pursuing to achieve fluency in a language. That’s up to you.

However, the way you set those goals is fundamental to your success in learning any language.

I always struggled with putting in the work. Like many of you reading this, I had an issue with procrastination that prevented me from focusing on the tasks which were essential for the day.

I was getting nowhere.

So earlier this year, I made the decision to organize my day into achievable tasks that could be implemented quickly. As an example, instead of trying to learn 100 words in a single sitting, I would break it down into four sessions of 25 words.

This made everything much more manageable. Instead of procrastinating due to a massive workload, this new process of breaking down tasks allowed me to achieve any goal I desired.

You can’t expect to learn a language without putting in the effort. Which is why developing daily goals to achieve a result is the best way forward. Sean Covey said it best:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

He’s right. If you want to learn a new language, you must create habits around the actions that will improve your level of fluency.

The answer is to focus on everyday vocabulary. Because once you can understand the most frequently used words, it becomes much easier to connect the dots.

Let me explain.

Research shows that out of the 100,000 word-families in the English language, a non-native speaker would only need to learn 2,000 to develop a reasonable level of fluency.

So if you can learn the most frequently used words, you’ll be able to understand everyday conversation pretty easily.

When I was learning Spanish, this was a method which allowed me to accelerate my progress. Every single day, I would write down 100 words and use personalized learning techniques to remember them. For example, I used flashcards, word association, and gave them context within a sentence.

That’s the most important thing about learning a language: you have to do what works for you. Although there are thousands of strategies on the internet, you need to experiment to find your most effective way of learning.

You need to practice. Gone are the days when you’d need to travel to Mexico to hear Spanish or book a Parisian vacation to understand French.

You can do it at home.

If you want to learn from the comfort of your bedroom, listen to foreign music, watch TV shows on Netflix (with subtitles), and change the language settings on your phone to the desired language.

Right now, while writing this article, I’m listening to Becky G on Spotify to improve my listening ability. Over time, this practice has allowed me to understand spoken Spanish with ease as I enjoy singing along to the lyrics.

Here are some other methods which you can use to immerse yourself in a foreign language:

  1. Watch YouTube with subtitles. If you watch a lot of online videos, this will be an absolute game-changer in your quest to improve your fluency. This is because you’ll be watching the content you enjoy while picking up on new vocabulary in its relevant context.
  2. Translate Foreign Music. As somebody who listens to music almost every waking hour of the day, being able to translate my favorite songs improved my understanding of the language. As an added bonus, you’ll appreciate the music a lot more once you can understand the lyrics instead of them being incomprehensible.
  3. Read Written Content. If you love reading, this will gradually improve your ability to understand the written word as you’ll be immersed in grammar, punctuation, and many other variables. Find news articles, read books, or translate your entire social media feed into the desired language.

That’s how to start. Use these techniques to accelerate your learning and develop a better understanding of any language.

Frank Smith put it best: “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”

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