How to learn a language FAST
Why do some people become fluent in no time? What's their secret?
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Lingo Ninja Research Team
3 min read · first published April 28, 2021

What is the best way to learn a language, fast?

Some people spend years in school trying to learn another language, but can't speak a sentence when they meet a native speaker. Other people seem to soak it all up and are fluent in no time. What do they do differently and, more importantly, what can YOU do to learn a language FAST?

The easiest way to learn a language is no secret. It consists of many little tips & tricks, which you can find all over the internet (examples: 1, 2, 3,...) But what really makes the difference is how efficiently you implement them.

So, let me group and list these tricks below. I'll also list the most important keywords associated with each group:

Don't try to learn everything at once.

Learn the most useful words first. You don't need to know how to say "Anthropologist" in another language. But you need to know how to say "this" and "that", "to" and "from", "me" and "you", etc.
  • Learn frequently used words first
  • Pareto principle - 80% of the success comes from learning the top 20%

Increase your recall rate 

That means increase how much you remember. Why? Because everything you forget is something you need to learn a second time. This wastes your energy. Recall is improved through systems like spaced repetition, but also how to make a meaningful connection to a word or grammar rule.
  • Use an app that has spaced repetition
  • Make meaningful connections in your brain
  • Write stuff down (with your hand)! Let me quote this from lifesavvy.com:

If you write something by hand, all that complex sensory information increases the chances the knowledge will be stored for later.

In short, writing by hand forces your brain to process information in a more detailed way, which helps you successfully load that information into your memory.

Make learning fun.

Most schools say "you need a goal". But how likely are you going to reach a goal, if getting there is boring and tough? How many people break their new year's resolutions? If you are not having fun while learning, chances are you will run out of energy. Also, you remember fun things better.
  • Have goals
  • Have fun. Fall in love with the culture.
  • In the beginning, you will make many mistakes. Don't be afraid of them, as each mistake is a learning opportunity. 
  • Use an app with gamification (such as Lingo Ninja)
  • Practice the language in "the wild" as much as possible. Speak, read, watch videos, have "imaginary conversations in your head", etc.

Stick with it.

No matter how "fun" your language school is, at one point you are going to get bored. Let's say you want to know how to go shopping in another language. To get there, you need to learn the numbers (to pay the seller), the names of the objects (shoes, shirts, or whatever), how to ask questions ("how much is that?"), etc. So if you break it down, to reach even the most interesting goal, you need to learn "boring" things.
  • Consistency/form a learning habit.
  • Use reminders.
  • Find a time slot that works for you every day. On the way to work, or during your lunch break, or before bed. The more time you dedicate, the better. 10 minutes a day is not enough to learn much - it's only 1 hour a week. Try to learn 20-30 minutes every day.
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Lingo Ninja Research Team
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