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2 Steps You Can Follow Today To Jumpstart Learning A Language

07/11/2012

in Productivity, Travel

The majority of people who study a language do so for conversation.

I recently wrote a huge guest post on Zen Habits called How to Learn A Language in 90 Days. This article was shortly picked up afterwards by Lifehacker.

If you haven’t checked out my method of learning a language, that guide is a pretty good summary of how I’ve learned four languages in the past few years. But the article can really be summarized in a single sentence.

“To learn a language quickly, you have to speak the language—a lot.”

A book will not teach you to speak a language. A film will not teach you to speak a language. If you want to speak a language, speak a language.

Yet, there are some barriers to entry. How do you find someone to speak the language with? Who will correct you?

Here are some actionable steps. Follow these steps, and you’ll not only have a language tutor—you’ll have jump-started the process of learning a new language.

Two Simple Steps To Jumpstart Learning A Language

1) Buy a phrasebook – Head over to Amazon.com and buy a Lonely Planet phrasebook. This will have a lot of phrases you can use that are broken down by categories.

2) Hire an online private tutor for a 1 hour session – Go to EduFire and search for a private tutor who teaches the language. Hire them. Right now. I’m serious. Schedule a date in a few days, after your phrasebook will arrive.

That’s it. For less than $25, you’ll have a huge resource of words, phrases, and sentences–and a scheduled tutoring date.

By following these two steps, you’ve set the stage for language learning. By hiring a tutor, all doubt in your mind is gone–you’ll definitely be practicing the language in just a few days. And you’ll have a guide to practice phrase books.

So, right now—follow those steps. Did you buy a phrasebook and hire a tutor for a one hour session? Tell me below in the comments.

{ 4 comments… }

A.F September 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I agree that by speaking a language you actually improve the fastest. However, in order to make a lot more out of that 1 hour lesson you mentioned above, why not start off by learning the most common 500 words of that language. It will just take a few days, but once you have done that, you will be able to understand 25% more or so of what your tutor is saying. You will then not have to spend time asking your tutor what hello, goodbye, etc mean and you can get started by forming simple sentences with your tutor instead.
If you are not willing to spend any money right from the beginning then check out these language learning methods here.

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miki September 4, 2012 at 8:56 am

thank you. i am buying a phrasebook right now and I have signed up for a class at italki.

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christian July 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm

This is great! I provides a step by step process to progress at a higher rate I ever thought possible. Thanks Maneesh.

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Mack July 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I’ve been taking private lessons (on italki.com, love it!), and nothing, not books, nor audiobooks, nor podcasts, have helped my language skills improve as much as actually speaking.
For $10 an hour, I get a one on one lesson with a native speaker. It is so amazing.
So I absolutely love your tip, a phrase book and a lesson, will probably teach you more than a month with a text book!

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