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April 2016

Top language learning hacks

Tips and tricks to speed up your language learning

‘Life hacks’ are tricks that make activities in life easier. Much like a computer programmer might hack into a system to change it, life hacks are new ways of thinking to improve your life. Similarly, language hacks are tricks used to revolutionize language learning, innovative ways of thinking to make the learning process more effective. Today we’ll take a look at several great language hacks that can help you learn a foreign language quickly.

Appropriately, we turn first to Lifehack, a website dedicated to life hacks. In their article How to Hack Language Learning, they describe several methods for developing conversational fluency faster. One of their prominent tips is well known: increase your exposure in the target language to absorb the language faster. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to move to another country; you can increase exposure by going online and watching videos, listening to music, and reading articles in your target language.

Another great tip from Lifehack is that newer language learners ought to target adverbs first. Because adverbs are commonly used and less numerous than verbs or nouns, you can increase fluency and speaking ability quickly by learning the most commonly used adverbs in your target language. Check out this link from Moms Who Think for a complete list of oft-used adverbs.

Polyglot Olly Richards, who also writes for the blog I Will Teach You a Language, writes in a guest post on The Mezzofanti Guild about his top language hacks. He tells learners to ‘go all in’ with language learning, recommending that learners dive as quickly and as deeply into their target language as possible. He recommends that beginners skip movies, as they are not as helpful as many claim. Taking breaks to consolidate what you’ve learned is also very important (we are not machines, after all). Ultimately, he recommends learners do what works specifically for them and to do it every day.

In her article 21 Fantastic Tips and Hacks For Learning a Foreign Language, author Marelisa tells learners to break down psychological barriers that might prohibit learning, to avoid thinking that one is too old to learn or that one is a slow learner. She recommends that learners find their passion and develop their own learning strategy. The lexical approach, learning clusters of words rather than individual words, is her strategic tip, starting with popular words and useful phrases that you will most likely use in your life.

Finally, this question posted on Quora offers a wealth of useful advice. Some great tips include learning conjugations by verb rather than by tense so that you can recognize patterns in tenses. Using mnemonics is also very helpful for memorizing new words. For increasing exposure, a poster recommends utilizing social media; follow accounts that write in your target language so that it becomes integrated into your daily life in a very natural way.

What are your favorite learning hacks? What tips would you give other language learners who face learning plateaus? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more language learning articles!

Picture: (c) Fotolia, Coloures-pic