5 tips for learning a language quickly

5 tips for learning a language quickly


Most people did have English in school, many also had some French and/or German. In recent years, some high schools have additionally offered Spanish or even Chinese. But what if you didn't do this well in school and want to catch up? Or if you want to learn a language that was not offered in school? Then of course you can buy a textbook yourself or do a language course at one of the many providers, think about the NCOI, the Volksuniversiteit or even some universities, depending on what level you want to achieve. But what if you are in a hurry and just want to reach a basic level quickly? Below you can read our five tips.

Ordering a beer is fine with a language app, but translating a sales contract for example is a totally different story...

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1. Define 'learn a language quickly'

First, it is important to determine for yourself what your goal is. How quickly do you want to learn the language and what level do you want to reach? Even if you have a good gift for languages, it is not easy to learn a language really well, including all the ins and outs, let alone learn it quickly. So we would recommend setting realistic expectations: that way you will save yourself a lot of frustration. Mastering the ability to communicate effectively in the language of the hospitality and supermarket settings can certainly happen more quickly.

2. Quickly learning language by immersing yourself in it

Still, one of the best ways to learn to speak a language quickly remains to surround yourself with it, also known as 'immersion learning'. After all, if you go alone to an area where you don't speak the language, you are almost forced to pick things up quickly! The most effective variant of this, of course, is the intensive language course on location. Here you receive language tuition in the country whose language you want to learn every day for one half day, after which you have the rest of the day free to put your new knowledge into practice right away. In this way you can make great strides in just a few weeks!

3. Watch TV shows or movies in the language you want to learn

Some will find this logical, others a surprising tip, but if you want to learn a language, it is important to learn what the language sounds like. So what's better than relaxing on the couch and watching a good movie? Granted, these are harder to find for some languages than others, but you can get a good idea of what the language sounds like this way. Often, this is also an excellent way to pick up the modern spoken language that you don't always find in a textbook.

4. Quickly learn a language with an app

The well-known Apple slogan also applies to language learning: there's an app for that! The best known is undoubtedly Duolingo, an app that has been around for ten years and now supports dozens of language combinations. You can even learn Klingon and High Valyrian this way, although it won't be easy to find conversation partners for that in everyday life. Duolingo gets compliments mainly on how accessible it is, because the content is offered in a playful way and at your own pace. So you can work on your language skills when you have ten minutes of nothing to do, such as on the bus or while waiting for your pasta to be cooked (or al dente).

5. Dare to make mistakes!

Learning a language quickly, tips or no tips, just remains difficult. So this is secretly our most important tip. The question "How quickly can you learn a language?" is actually the wrong one, because it gives the impression that you have to learn a language completely before you can do anything with it. In real life, you never finish learning a language, but you also learn quickly by just doing it. Making mistakes is part of the game. No one speaks a foreign language flawlessly right away, nor does anyone expect you to. If you just try, you will find that your conversation partners usually only like it and will be happy to help you if you get stuck. So you should not be ashamed of your mistakes, but rather proud that you are trying!

In conclusion

Unfortunately, we don't have a miracle cure or perfect solution for quickly learning a language. It remains a process that requires effort and time, even if you have a knack for it. Nevertheless, we personally find it worthwhile, even if it's just to be able to order a drink on a terrace. Breaking the ice in the locals' language can make it easier to connect with them, leading to enjoyable experiences. And if you happen to enjoy and excel in a foreign language, you might even turn it into a profession! We often receive questions from people who find that an interesting option, and we've included it in our frequently asked questions. Now, we understand that this may be a step too far for many, and we secretly don't mind at all: we're happy to assist you if you don't want to go that route. Feel free to contact us, especially if you need a text translated; we'll see how we can best help you with that.

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