What does it take to learn a language?

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To put it simply, just three things: motivation, patience, and time.

 

You probably already have motivation - otherwise, you wouldn't be searching the web for tips on how to learn a language... And this is a huge first step! Your interest in learning will keep you going and will make it exciting and fun. You'll also need patience - lots of it - because it won't always be easy to make sense of all the foreign words, sounds, and rules. Finally, you'll need to set aside time for working on your target language - because the most effective way of learning is practicing every day, even if only for 30 minutes.  

How long it takes to learn a language will depend on the language you are learning, your attitude, the time you spend with the language, and your attentiveness to the language. The US Foreign Service Institute estimates that for an English speaker, learning a Romance language (for example, French, Spanish, Portuguese or Italian) should take about 480 hours to reach fluency. That's about a year if you study 2 hours a day on average. Just think - only a year to be fluent in these languages (and much less to reach conversational fluency)!

Your daily time spent on learning a language doesn't mean you need to be in a classroom for two hours a day. In fact, I've found that as a beginner, a classroom setting is probably the worst use of your time and money to start learning. Today's technology and language-learning tools give you a great range of effective options that you can explore on the go (like podcasts that you can listen to on your daily commute), during your coffee break (like interactive and fun apps that help you learn vocabulary and grammar through games and quizzes), and even when you are exercising (like pre-recorded audio lessons available from several reputable resources).  

What's really important for being able to progress quickly in a language (in addition to finding time to work on it every day) is engaging all your senses as early as possible in learning it. This means listening to the language to get used to its melody and pronunciation, growing your vocabulary focusing on words you will likely to use in real life, reading simple phrases to see how the words look and fit together, and speaking very early on - even if it's just basic phrases - to get over the common fright of communicating in a foreign language that some learners never get over...  And today there are dozens of affordable and effective resources that can help you achieve these goals. 

I've been experimenting with such resources for the last twenty years - and I'm amazed by the incredibly fun and effective new tools that became available in just the last few years. Using the tricks and methods I've tested myself, I've now reached fluency in four languages in addition to my mother tongue, and I'm working on four more using the same method and tools I'd like to share with you. 

If you prefer learning on your own, this site gives you recommendations for the best resources you can find - all personally tried and tested. But if you want a more personalized program, drop me a line. Let me show you how in just a few months you can learn a new language or get better in the one you already know a little!