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If you have a trip coming up and you're looking for ways to learn a foreign language fast, there are plenty of tools, memorization tactics, apps, and courses you can use to accomplish your goal. It's exciting to see the world and visit a completely new and different place, but interacting with the native speakers there might be intimidating.
Whether you plan to spend an hour a day studying or you only have 15 minutes, there's an option for you out there.
Duolingo is a free app that's been making waves in the language learning community.
Learning a new language can be as easy as downloading a new app to your phone. Here's the catch though; you really do need to open it up every day and practice if you want to memorize things. Duolingo is a great place to start, as they use a mix of pictures, foreign words, and the translations of words to teach you, and they have you play through games to match and memorize these words to your native language.
The ability to upgrade to Duolingo Plus is a real possibility, but the basic app will get you moving in the right direction. It is vital, though, that you use it often. You can easily do a brief lesson; the earliest ones last five to ten minutes; but if you want to speak your target language, you can't slack off and skip a lot of days of practice. You've got to start learning somewhere, and Duolingo one of the best language learning apps on phones across the world today.
Rosetta Stone is one of the most tried and true language learning softwares on the market.
Rosetta Stone has dozens of languages to choose from and it's a lot more affordable than it used to be. While programs turning to subscription models rather than something you buy once and have forever is controversial sometimes, it's actually a good thing for services like Rosetta Stone. You can buy subscription lengths ranging from three months to two years, which means if your trip is coming up in the next six months, you can get a subscription that'll last you precisely that long. This model actually makes this service a lot cheaper than it used to be.
One of the strengths of Rosetta Stone; whether you're looking to learn Spanish, French, Japanese, or something else entirely; is that they teach you how to speak the language properly. It's easy enough to memorize words, but actually getting a good grasp of grammar can be a lot tricker. Fortunately, Rosetta Stone has tools to help you do exactly that, and that makes their language classes incredibly helpful.
Listen to language learning videos on YouTube to learn new words.
I went to visit Paris in 2017 and I had the time of my life. I still don't speak great French, but whenever I made any attempt to speak my dreadful, broken French, I could tell that the locals appreciated me not just going up to them and being that obnoxious tourist who unapologetically asked them questions in English.
To help me memorize common words and phrases, I constantly listened to language learning videos like the one above. If you need repetition and can't afford regular language classes, this is a great way to get the basics down. I would listen to these videos all the time, even when I was commuting to work. The simple repetition really helped to drill words into my head. And what's better, there are tons of videos like this one for pretty much any language you want to learn.
Learn a new language at rocket speed.
Rocket Languages helps language learners by tackling the seemingly herculean task of learning a language. By breaking things into small chunks, this service can spend small windows of time studying and learning at a pace where you can actually remember things.
Foreign language acquisition can help your personal life and your professional life, so diving in to learn something new has more than enough benefits to warrant the effort. It's an effort that's completely worth it, and time absolutely well spent!
Start coating your home in translation stickers.
In my quest to learn Japanese, my refrigerator has a sticker that says reizoko, my shoe rack says kutsu (for shoes), my table has a sticker that says hyo, and so on and so forth. It sounds simple, but simple can be good for the learning process.
Getting a set of stickers to stick all around the common devices in your home will really help you memorize common words. If you want to go really low budget, you can also get simple printer labels and make your own stickers by looking up the translations of certain words and writing them out yourself.
At one point, I even stuck the Japanese number line, ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku, and so on, onto my bedroom wall. I was having a very hard time memorizing the numbers, so seeing them stuck to my wall and reading them every morning when I woke up really helped to make them stick in my memory. Spaced repetition does wonders for memorization.
Practice having conversations with a chatbot.
Mondly has one of the sleekest and most modern interfaces for their lessons. Their packages come with the ability to have unlimited conversations with their chatbots in the language of your choice. While a real human being is certainly the best option, it's not always the most practical. If you don't have access to anyone who speaks the language you're learning yet, a chatbot is a great way to get more practice.
If you can decide which language you should be learning, maybe consider choosing two languages that are slightly similar, or at least use the same alphabet like French and Spanish. However, you should probably do one at a time! Being serious about one language or the other is one of the key ways to learn a foreign language fast.
Watch media or listen to music in your target language.
Watching movies and TV shows or listening to music in your target language is a fantastic way to reinforce your vocabulary. It's important not to simply turn your mind off when watching or listening. You want to keep your ears open and try to identify words that you know in conversations. Break out of your comfort zone and download a few albums in another language; it's a sure-fired way to reinforce grammar lessons and help you take control of the language you've been studying.
It's actually immensely satisfying when you hear a line in a movie or show and realize that you understood half, or more, of the words in it! Plus, when you listen to native speakers, you'll get a clearer idea of how to pronounce words and how to use them properly in sentences.
You can also try to get fluent in three months with Fluent in Three Months!
Not my best joke, but the name of this company says it all. They have a ton of languages to learn from and the whole goal here is getting fluent in three months. It's a tall order, but Fluent in Three Months has a ton of different tools, lessons, and games that will help you accomplish that goal with any language you want to learn.
Arguably their best feature, they also have the option to chat with a native speaker. Frequently practicing your use of a language is the most important part of learning a new one. Practicing with other learners is all well and good, it's certainly some experience, but working with a native speaker is incredibly helpful. You can get realtime feedback on if there are any mistakes you're making or if there are any words you're mispronouncing. It's an incredible resource.
Make sure audio is a big part of your language learning routine.
Linkworld Languages has a triple threat approach with software, audio files, and apps to help you learn the language of your choice with every choice of media possible. If you try listening to YouTube videos to start your language learning adventure and find that works well for you, the audio components in each of these courses will be a great next step.
If you do plan to learn multiple languages over the next few months or years, Linkworld is a respectable option since you can get access to all of their courses relatively cheaply. If you keep working at their lessons on a day to day basis, you'll get your target language down pat quickly.
Consider planning out a condensed period of time to study the language you want to learn.
In just about every class you'll take as a part of your formal education, you'll be told not to cram. You'll be told to take things slow and steady.
That isn't true for language learners.
In fact, spending two or three hours per day (or even as many as four hours per day) will make language learning a lot more efficient for you.
Think about high school language classes; you study for three to four hours per week. It's one of the worst ways to learn a foreign language fast; that limited exposure and minimal study time makes it so that most students forget everything from their early language classes, or even classes they had earlier in the week!
So if you're looking to learn a language quickly, it's actually good news for you. Even if you only have three months to learn, if you put the time in, you should be just fine. Put the time in and you'll be able to learn a foreign language in no time!