“With each language you become a different person.” This quote by an old teacher of mine perfectly describes what an enrichment it is to learn a new language. You will discover traits of your own personality that perhaps you haven’t even known yourself before. You can only completely immerse in another culture if you also understand and speak the according language.
Nowadays, there are countless different beliefs on what is the best/fastest/easiest way to learn a language. Don’t be fooled by any self-proclaimed experts who want to make you believe that they have the ultimate recipe how to become fluent in a new language after only a few days. Really becoming proficient in a new language costs time, discipline and motivation. However, there are some tricks and approaches how to accelerate the process and to get a good feeling for a language.
1. Buy one good textbook
You don’t need to buy a lot of books for every different language level. One good one is more than enough. Be sure to select a book that covers all grammar-related topics. Unfortunately, you will not be able to avoid studying vocabulary and grammar, at least until you have understood the basic structure of the language.
2. Learn vocabulary by the way
Studying vocabulary multiple times per day for a few minutes is more effective than trying to learn the words by heart for hours. A helpful tool for that is the app Phase 6, a vocabulary trainer with the system of a card index box. Whenever you have a little bit of free time, e.g. when you are waiting for a bus/train/flight, you can improve your vocabulary. This will not even feel like studying and your vocabulary knowledge will improve quickly almost automatically.
3. Read familiar books in the foreign language
As soon as you know the basic vocabulary and are more or less familiar with the grammar, you should start reading texts in the foreign language. The best for that are books you already know in your mother tongue because it will be easier for you to understand. How about, for example, Harry Potter? You have read these already for sure and especially the first books are written in a simple way. By reading you will improve your feeling for a language the fastest.
4. Watch movies in the foreign language with subtitles
It is normal that in the beginning it will be easier for you to understand written texts than the spoken word. However, you can practise this comfortably as well, by watching movies. Just like with books, watch movies you already know in your mother tongue, in the foreign language. For an even better understanding, switch on the subtitles in the foreign language. As in many languages the spelling differs from the pronunciation, this is an important part of learning a language.
5. Go on a (language) trip!
Of course, you can practice your language skills best when you use it where it is really spoken. Either you just travel to a country of the foreign language that you want to learn or you accelerate the learning process with a language course. In countless countries in the world there are great language schools with native teachers. There you will not only perfect your language skills but also get to know nice people from all around the world, with whom you can try out your newly acquired knowledge. For the English language I can recommend Kaplaninternational. There you will find a lot of high-quality schools all around the world. A special tip for people from German-speaking countries: the organisation Travelworks also offers other languages besides English. Here you can also inform yourself about programs abroad like au-pair, volunteering, international internships or Work&Travel.
Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you make a purchase through my website. Using these links will help me keep my website going. It is important to me to only recommend companies or products that helped me personally to simplify my journeys.