Learn a language in 3 months. Now learn the tips and tricks of a real language hacker and imitate him.

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Learning a language in 3 months sounds almost impossible, doesn’t it? In my defence, I have to say right away that this lurid title is not mine, it’s Tim Ferriss. You can read more about his person and popularity and his method how to learn a language in 3 months (which he proved himself) in the following article.

Last update: May 7, 2021

Tim Ferriss is the author of the book “The 4-Hour Week”. You know, the kind of books Americans love: Written by a very successful person who tells you how to do the same and become just as successful. Well, I read a summary of the book, and to summarize the summary in one sentence, Tim Ferriss estimates that the real wealth is in the Free time is, so it is better to work less (doing the 20% of the tasks that bring 80% of the result) in order to have more free time at your disposal. This core statement puts into perspective a certain triteness of this type of guide, I think.

I am particularly interested in this author because he boasts that he speaks 7 languages ​​and because he has a lot of experience in terms of self-teaching languages. On his blog he has written some articles on this very exciting topic, such as

I am particularly interested in this author because he boasts of speaking 7 languages speak and because he has a lot of experience in terms of self-taught language learning. On his blog he has written some articles on this very exciting topic, like How to Learn Any Language in 3 Months (learning a language in 3 months is the main topic of the book). He went even further by writing a post titled How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour. For those of you who don’t read in English (or don’t have the time), below I will try to summarize the articles my way and by adding a few personal thoughts.

 

Learning a language in 3 months – the priority-question

It may be possible to understand 90% of a language in 3 months, but it can take 3 years to understand 95%. Oh yes, perfection always has to be bought very expensively in relation to the effort. So it’s better to focus on the first 20% first, which bring 80% of the result (yes, that famous Pareto principle again).

Learning vocabulary by frequency

Did you know that the  100 most common words in English make up half of all text written in English? So, when learning, you should go by frequency of use (priority being on the most used words). Note, however, that the frequency of use in the spoken language differs from that in the written language. You can see key word lists in English, Spanish and German here.

Once you have acquired a basic vocabulary, you can specialize in learning vocabulary on specific topics that you need. For example, when learning English for business trips, it is better to focus on travel vocabulary (about transportation, accommodation, catering, etc.) and business vocabulary (such as negotiating, meetings, presenting, etc.). specialize.

Priority for learning the most commonly used grammar

Like vocabulary, certain grammatical forms are used more often than others. Therefore, it is not necessary to learn all existing conjugation forms right at the beginning.

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For example, I remember memorizing long lists of irregular verbs during my first English lessons. But I don’t think I’ve ever used the verb kehren (sweep, swept, swept) since then, and certainly not in the past simple or past participle (but please don’t infer from that that I never clean!).

In order to express yourself, the present tense can be enough at the beginning, since the future and past can always be avoided somehow. So it is enough to learn a few declensions using sample sentences, which help in 80% of the cases. In terms of comprehension, the contrast becomes even clearer, because it is not even necessary to know all the declensions and conjugations if you know the origin (the word stem).

Following this principle of priorities, one arrives at a result very quickly, because one achieves the best result in relation to the learning time.

It’s a well-known fact that quick results lead to high motivation to keep going. But that’s not enough…

Learn a language in 3 months with interesting learning-material

Fast progress is a motivational tool, but interest in the content and the learning material are even more important. Since the learning machine from Matrix does not yet exist, the repetition / verification phase cannot be skipped. And this phase can become especially boring when the study material is inherently boring. So don’t read anything that you wouldn’t be able to read in your mother tongue. When learning a language, use the opportunity to learn even more about topics that really interest you.

For example, if you never read newspapers, don’t learn a language by reading newspaper articles, but try to find resources on topics that interest you. As far as listening comprehension is concerned, I strongly recommend that you watch series/reports/films in their original version, with or without subtitles. It’s really effective and fun!

There are also podcasts specifically designed for language learning.

Learn a language in 3 months with effective methods

A language learning method allows you to memorize elements of the language in a lasting way, as quickly as possible and with a minimum of repetition. There are many studies about our memory and there are also extremely effective learning techniques that are still misunderstood.

The spaced repetition system, for example, is very effective. It is often used by those learning “difficult” languages ​​(Japanese, Chinese) or even by medical students. But it also works well for simpler languages. If you want to know how it works, don’t hesitate to read this article on the Rep Interval System.

Based on these principles, we have developed apps for iPhone/iPad and Android with the help of language teachers and polyglot members of our team. Read the Introduction to our MosaLingua Apps to learn more.

Summary

Learn some basic vocabulary with the most commonly used words (with pronunciation). All in all, the quickest way to learn a language looks like this:

  • Learning pattern sets.
  • Use of effective study techniques.
  • Using learning material that interests you (original language series/movies for listening and books and magazines for scripture).

Once you have reached this stage of learning, you will have a good basis for navigating a foreign country, as the quickest way to improve your speaking and listening skills is still to immerse yourself in a country where the language you are studying is spoken will. By the way, I’m about to test the techniques for you through my study of the Spanish language tu. I now have a minimal base and I will soon be traveling to Colombia where my deepening phase will begin!

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At first glance, this article seems to explain principles that are already known, but in relation to the catastrophic conditions when learning languages ​​in the school environment, this only seems partially obvious. If you are interested in this topic, I still have a lot of articles on the topic of learning methods, memory and neuroscience in store.

The following video:

is a good place to start to get even closer to the question of how you can learn a language quickly

It’s part of our series of helpful language learning tips and tricks. Be sure to subscribe if you want to stay up to date!


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