Recently someone asked me how many languages I speak and I told him I speak three languages fluently, Spanish, English and Dutch. Then I speak the basics of Thai and I understand everything of Fries, which is a native language from the province Friesland in the Netherlands, but I never learned to speak it. The next language I want to learn is French, as it has been fascinating me for quite some time now.
Why do I spend time learning languages? Because I love to learn, I’m a very curious person and if I can keep on developing myself, I will. I believe the best way to grow as a person is to nurture our brain, soul, body and mind constantly. Whenever I feel an interest in learning something, and that can be anything, I focus on what I want to learn and I look up information. I make sure I inform myself as much as possible until I feel that I know enough about it and something else catches my attention.
Now, some people wonder how I’m able to speak different languages fluently and most of all how I’ve been able to learn languages in short amounts of time. So, I’ll give a few tips here that have worked for me to learn languages without paying a lot of money and how I’ve been able to learn it quickly.
- Start watching movies/series in the language you want to learn and put subtitles in your own language. When you understand a bit more you can change the subtitles to the original language so you stop translating in your mind and just simply understand the other language.
- Listen to music in the language you’re learning and look up the lyrics. Sing along with the song so you learn the correct pronunciation and then translate the lyrics so you also understand what the song is about. Repeating the same song will help you memorize the words.
- Did you know that we can learn up to 7 new words each day? Choose 7 words you will need to use regularly, for example: verbs, and write them down. Repeat the words out loud numerous times and then make a small exam for yourself. The next day you check again if you know the correct translation and you’ll see that you remember.
- Look up websites with online free language courses and start practicing on the websites. Mostly you can learn the basics of languages on these websites, which is very important, to start off well. For example www.thaipod101.com offers free membership, which I use to practice Thai.
- Make friends with people that speak the language you’re learning and tell them you want to speak in their language. Obligate yourself to speak that language and step over your embarrassment or worries of speaking incorrectly.
- Learn from your mistakes! Speak in the language you’re learning and every time someone corrects you, try to write it down on a piece of paper or on your phone, whatever is closest and easiest at that moment. It will help you to remember because you wrote it down and when you’re not sure you can still check what the correct word was.
- Live in the country where they speak the language you’re learning, do an internship, work there or do voluntary work. It’s the perfect way to learn a language quickly and correctly because you don’t have a lot of options to speak your own language and you’ll be forced to speak the language your learning. It’s great practice !
- Try to find free audio lessons or maybe a friend has some audio lessons and put it on your phone. When you have to drive to work, school, training or wherever, you can just turn on the audio lessons and listen to it while you’re on the way. That makes sure you practice every day, which is one of the most important factors in learning a language.
- Daily practice and believe in your capabilities !