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How to Learn a Language in Record Time: 13 Effective Ways

January 29th, 2018

How to Learn a Language in Record Time: 13 Effective Ways

Have you heard of the savant who learned to speak Icelandic in only one week?

Crazy, isn’t it?

Well, most polyglots—people who speak several languages—start speaking new languages quickly thanks to their previous experiences. In fact, the aforementioned polyglot and translator Daniel Tammet claims that he already spoke nine languages before learning Icelandic.

You should not expect to master a foreign language in just a few days or weeks if you don’t have previous experience learning other languages. This is especially true if you can’t devote ample time to learning a new language.

You might stumble upon many “how to learn a language in 7 days” guides on the internet, but the time you’ll spend learning to speak a language can still be relative and dependant on a lot of factors.

In this detailed blog post, I approach learning a new language fast by demonstrating proven, realistic steps that any beginner can follow.

I also made certain that all the resources I listed are both easily accessible and affordable, so you won’t need to invest too much money into your learning.

Without further ado, let’s dig in.

13 Ways to Learn a Language in Record Time:

1. Connect with language partners online.

One of the most common (and cheapest) language-learning life hacks is simply building a learning relationship with native speakers of your target language, perhaps one who is also interested in learning your mother tongue.

This method can make learning a new language more enjoyable, as it breathes life into your chosen language and shows you the practical side of it—unlike in textbooks and at language schools.

Personally, I have met language partners from over 30 nations and have had the chance to discover their countries, cultures, day-to-day lives and many other things that helped me dive deeper into the languages I’m learning.

To get you started, I recommend using apps such as HelloTalk, Speaky and HelloPal to have free access to thousands of language partners from all over the world.

 

2. Travel to a country where your target language is spoken.

In his best-selling book, Fluent in 3 Months: Tips and Techniques to Help You Learn Any Language, Benny Lewis shares a simple language learning system that is mainly focused on traveling abroad.

He advises interacting with locals in only their native language to force your brain to learn new vocabulary and get familiarized with the language you’re learning.

If you use this learning method, Lewis promises you a vast improvement in your language speaking and listening skills.

 

3. Work on your pronunciation.

A few years ago, I had an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher who knew English very well, but his ability was masked by his lack of clarity.

He never taught a single class without getting bullied for his ridiculous English pronunciation, and all his students learned little to no English during the entire school year.

Well, if you don’t pay attention to how you pronounce words in the language you are learning, you will probably fall into the same trap.

You will not be able to communicate properly and you will eventually lose motivation if you take the wrong direction from the beginning.

A great way to correctly pronounce words in your chosen language is to use a voice dictionary. This will allow you to listen to automatic audio pronunciations of all the new expressions you learn.

For this, you can use apps or websites like Google Translate or dict.cc.

You can also ask locals in the area you are travelling in to teach you the right pronunciation, or you can get your online language partner to record a voice memo.

Plus, you will want to learn how to read and listen to more foreign language content…

 

4. Carry a dictionary on the go.

Wanting to save some time and get help with language barriers more easily?

Use a dictionary… app, since it would be difficult to carry around a 1,000-page book and browse through it every time you have a conversation with a native speaker.

Not only will a dictionary help you become successful in your chosen language, but it will also lift the vocabulary weight right off your shoulders. You will start to contextualize every word you use and train your brain to use it in real-life situations.

To download a dictionary, simply open the App Store on your iOS or Google Play on your Android, and search both your native and target languages to find the dictionaries that will best fit you.

To get the most out of your language-learning dictionary searches, I highly recommend using a spaced repetition algorithm program.

 

5. Use the Spaced Repetition Algorithm 

The Spaced Repetition Algorithm is scientifically proven to be more effective than traditional memorization methods. According to research published in Psychology Today, using spaced repetition to learn new vocabulary words increases your ability to remember information in the long-term.

Most learners who use spaced repetition prefer Anki, a free, multi-featured software that allows you to create more advanced flashcards including images, texts, audio clips, and videos.

To get started with spaced repetition, start by adding words you’ve searched for in your dictionary, then upload audio clips of their pronunciations and attach photos to ease memorizing new expressions for your brain.

 

6. Listen to audio clips in your chosen language.

Listening is scientifically proven to be the best way to learn a language regardless of your preferred method or tool.

In fact, studies have shown that being aurally exposed to any language, even if you don’t understand what’s being said, can “make a huge difference” as it helps your brain adapt to new pronunciations and grammar structures.

Also, a huge advantage of listening is that you can learn in your sleep—without making any conscious effort. A research conducted by the Swiss National Science Foundation states that listening to newly-learned second language vocabulary while sleeping helps solidify and reactivate your memory

Now you might be wondering, “What are some resources I can use to practice listening?”

Good news! Take the leap and create a free account to access a wealth of over 750 million lessons in more than 34 languages with Innovative Language.

Innovative Language is THE place for language audio and video lessons. There you’ll find clips recorded by native-speaking language teachers, along with flashcards, grammar explanations, cultural insights and much more.

With Innovative Language, you will never have to spend hours searching through foreign language audiobooks on the internet. Sign up now, you’ll be glad you did!

 

7. Learn the alphabet of the language you are learning.

If you aim to learn a non-Latin alphabet language, learning the alphabet is crucial.

In fact, in Asian languages such as Arabic, Chinese and Persian, mastering the alphabet or characters is necessary to read and pronounce words correctly.

For example, in Modern Standard Arabic, you must learn the alphabet, diacritics and dotting to be able to pronounce and read expressions correctly.

Additionally, learning the alphabet will enable you to read original texts in your chosen language, which can push you to acquire new vocabulary and improve your language skills.

 

8. Study grammar, but only when necessary.

Grammar is arguably what makes most people quit learning a language before really even starting.

Most of us have studied at least one language at school, yet we are still unable to speak them. Why?  Because academic systems are not built to teach you fluency, they are built to teach you grammar.

Taking into account the poor results schools produce from teaching grammar, it seems wiser to focus on the practical side of languages: real-life conversations. Learning the necessary grammar will then come progressively.

For example, you can keep a daily journal using the foreign vocabulary words you learned throughout the day, then ask your tutor to correct your writing and spot the grammar rules you missed.

 

9. Take private language lessons online.

Worried about losing motivation while learning a foreign language?

If you answered “yes,” booking online language lessons is a must.

Let’s be honest: private language lessons are the only way someone will be truly disappointed when you do not finish your assignment. Your private tutor is focused on you and your language education, and not juggling at least a dozen students in multiple classes.

Without that central focus, you might not learn your target language as fast as you can.

Not sure where to find online language tutors?

You can use platforms such as Innovative Language (Premium PLUS My Teacher), italki, Verbling and Tandem to sort through a gold mine of experienced language teachers from all over the world.

Unlike speaking, writing forces you to evaluate your language level and bring grammar rules and structure into focus.

 

10. Keep a foreign language journal.

Rype CEO Sean Kim recommends taking five minutes every day when you wake up to answer the questions:

  • What will make today great?
  • What things am I grateful for today?
  • Who am I? (Positive affirmations such I am happy, strong, patient, etc.)

“The best part about following the five-minute journal format is that you will not only improve your language skills, but you will feel happier, more grateful and more excited to explore your feelings about language learning and beyond. This will help keep you in the right frame of mind to keep learning.”

– Sean Kim, CEO at Rype

Personally, I write essays in my journal about random topics to use the words I translated and learned throughout the day. This helps me stick new expressions into my brain and improve my communication, writing and language skills.

If you’d like to write your journal online, I highly recommend using ColorNote, Evernote or Google Keep. Alternatively, you can use ordinary, physical notebooks and diaries.

 

11. Change your language settings on your devices.

According to a recent Nielsen Company audience report published by CNN, adults in the United States spent 10 hours and 39 minutes each day staring at screens during the first quarter of 2016.

To make the most out of the time you devote to mobiles and laptops, a great idea is to switch your language settings to the language you’re learning.

At the beginning, you might need to translate a substantial amount of words into your native language to move on with almost everything you do, but since most of us know where certain apps and settings are located, you will slowly but surely start to memorize new vocabulary words.

Note: Before you change your devices’ languages, try to learn the necessary alphabet or characters to read it first.

 

12. Expand your vocabulary with mnemonics.

Among all the techniques we have covered, mnemonics might be the most effective when it comes to memorizing new vocabulary words.

Mnemonics is basically building a system in your brain that links previously learned information in any language you speak with the new information you want to remember. Especially for learning a new language, they can be used as cheat codes for those who struggle to memorize information they’re exposed to.

You can use mnemonics to memorize sentences, vocabulary lists, idioms and other words.

Here are some examples:

  • Vocab list: Divide, multiply, subtract, compare and bring down.
  • Mnemonic: Does McDonald’s Sell CheeseBurgers?
  • Sentence: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  • Mnemonic (abbreviation):  NASA.

If you cannot come up with a mnemonic yourself, a resource I highly recommend is Memrise. There you’ll have access to a wealth of creative mnemonic photos and expressions that will boost your motivation and make learning enjoyable.

 

13. Stop worrying about making mistakes.

One of the biggest errors that can significantly slow you down is worrying about making mistakes.

“A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying… that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”

– Alexander Pope

To break this barrier, you might consider telling your language partners and teachers that you are open to any feedback or corrections on your grammar structure and pronunciation.

From my personal experience, asking my language partners to correct my mistakes has helped me learn hundreds of grammar rules, pronunciations and vocabulary words.

 

Now that you are all set to start your language journey, add some fuel to that fire and start applying these strategies to your educational process.

Take action now by listening to podcasts and audio clips to put your mind at ease about learning your foreign language.

Still not sure what language to learn? Check out our recent article [insert post title and link - best languages to learn in 2018]

 

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a content strategist, writer, polyglot and co-founder of WriteWorldwide. You can learn more about Yassir at YassirSahnoun.com.

5 Best Languages to Learn in 2018 for Native English Speakers

January 16th, 2018

5 Best Languages to Learn in 2018 for Native English Speakers

Wondering what are the best languages to learn in 2018?

We’ve got you covered.

In fact, learning a new language is more than just a plus to your curriculum vitae (CV).

According to a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University, bilingualism helps learners build great multi-tasking skills by switching between different structures in a short amount of time when using more than one language.

Also, statistics have shown that students who speak several languages tend to score better on standardized tests than their unilingual peers.

The benefits mentioned above are just a drop in the ocean of what multilingualism can bring you. There are countless mental, health, and even financial perks that come with learning a second language.

Based on the level of difficulty and the political, economic and cultural significance of each language in today’s world, I have put together a list of the five best languages to learn in 2018, along with some great beginner’s resources.

Spanish

The well-known language company Duolingo recently shared an article on which countries study which languages. The article also contained data obtained from its 120 million users.

Below is a map that portrays the most popular language studied on Duolingo in each country. duolingo data

As you can see, Spanish is the second most-learned language in the world after English.

In fact, Duolingo’s analysis states that Spanish “is studied by 17% of all Duolingo users,” making it the second most-learned language in their app.

Now you might be thinking, “What makes Spanish so popular?”

Well, the answer is simple: with a population of around 440 million people, Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world. It is also the official language of 20 countries on the American and European continents.

The best part? For most English speakers, Spanish vocabulary is not rocket science. Both languages belong to the Indo-European language family, which led to the cross-fertilization of words and idioms between Spanish and English.

Therefore, if you’re looking for an easy, in-demand language to learn in 2018, Spanish is probably the best option for you.

German

Considering the fact that it is the official language of some of the most developed countries in the world, learning German can open up great opportunities for you.

Recently, German became the third working language of the European Union.

Following Brexit, many indicators show that English will have less importance in the European Union—which will leave more room for German to take over in Europe.

Also, the recent refugee crisis has drawn a lot of attention to Austria and Germany, making German a useful language for everyone interested in following new, related political events in Europe.

Moreover, learning German will allow you to access a huge database of intellectual and scientific content, improve your career, and discover the German culture and people.

Because German is also an Indo-European language, many of its vocabulary words match their English equivalents. Therefore, you will most likely be able to strike up intermediate conversations in German after a few months of learning it.

Japanese

Because Japan has the third largest economy in the world with a gross domestic product (GDP) of almost five trillion U.S. dollars, it is one of the most popular and arguably important countries in the world.

With a Japanese-speaking population of more than 127 million people, many prefer Japanese to other languages.

In fact, the number of Japanese learners has dramatically increased in the last few decades, as Japan is drastically developing.

In addition to economic growth, Japan is also a culturally rich country. Learning the language will allow you to watch new animes and movies, learn more about martial arts, keep up with technological developments, and find new travel gems in Japan.

Mandarin Chinese

With a Mandarin-speaking population of over 900 million people, China’s official language is set to be one of the most (if not the most) important languages in the world in the next few years.

China’s excellence in important fields including agriculture, academics, travel and business helps globalize its often misunderstood culture and language.

In 2010, the state press agency Xinhua estimates that 750,000 Chinese-as-second-language learners from all around the world have taken the HSK Chinese Proficiency Test. Only four years later, CNTV reported that over five million people took the same test throughout the year.

Considering these statistics, we can securely say that the demand for Mandarin speakers in the world is at its peak - and, as the data confirms, it’s not going down anytime soon.

According to the United States Foreign Service Institute, Chinese is one of the most time-consuming and difficult languages to learn for English native speakers. Bottom line? If you’re ready to invest hundreds of hours to learn one of the best languages, your time and effort will definitely pay off in any way you want it to.

Arabic

Due to the recent political instability in Arabic-speaking countries, and the huge growth Persian Gulf countries such as UAE and Qatar have recently had, Arabic is doubtlessly one of the best languages to learn in 2018.

Political and international organizations are continuously seeking new Arabic language experts and translators to build a bridge between the organizations and the Arab world.

An abundance of successful businesses are also breaking into the Arab market. In fact, many businesses are willing to hire Arabic speakers who are capable of helping them reach business goals and connect with target countries.

Also, if you’re a business owner, an intermediary in Arabic will help to expand your knowledge of the Arab market and expand your entrepreneurial opportunities.

Besides the business and political aspects, Arabic can also help you learn more about many culturally and naturally rich countries such as Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Syria, Morocco and Iraq.

Just like Chinese, Arabic is a difficult language that might require more time compared to some other popular languages.

To speed up the learning process, I recommend learning a dialect first—which should not be hard—then progressively switch to Modern Standard Arabic by learning the formal language that is used in writing and official documents.

Now that you’ve decided which language(s) to learn, what’s more important than taking action?

Not sure where to start?

Innovative Language is the go-to website for audio and visual language content. There you’ll have access to thousands of customized lessons made by real teachers in more than 34 languages, including the listed languages above.

Based on your language level, Innovative Language experts will correct your assignments, assist you with all the aspects of language fluency, and answer any questions you have.

Sign up now for free and start learning a new language today!

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a writer, polyglot and co-founder of WriteWorldwide. You can learn more about Yassir at YassirSahnoun.com.

Can you guess these languages?

April 7th, 2017

Halloween at ILL

November 16th, 2016

Hello!

Last month on the 28th, we had a mini Halloween party in our Tokyo office!

One week before the party, we also started decorating the office to enhance the Halloween festive mood.

And here are some pictures from the event :) We set up a make-your-own-tacos? burrito? kabab? table for the October event.

 Some of us also dressed up in costumes! Can you guess who we’re dressed up as?

Thank you!

Nanatsu

ILL NINJA WARRIOR

October 21st, 2016

 

Hi everyone! Nanatsu here. :D

On September 29th, 15 of us went to Forest Adventure in Tochigi as a company trip! Have you ever heard of a Japanese TV program called “Sasuke” or maybe in the U.S. you’d call it “Ninja Warrior” where competitors compete in multiple obstacle courses to be the “muscle king”?  Well, Forest adventure is no less tough than them! Some activities were definitely challenging, and we had to use the muscles we hadn’t used for a while. (I could barely got myself up when I woke in the next morning…)

 

After about 2 hours bus ride from Akasaka,  we arrived at Forest Adventure Ohira, Tochigi. It was raining a bit in the morning, but luckily, the rain stopped by the time we arrived in Tochigi. (Good karma, maybe!:p) 

After putting on harnesses, getting a safety briefing and practicing together with the forest crew, Akira-san, we went off to the adventure!

There were 2 courses in Forest Adventure Ohira. One is ”Discovery Course” which is mainly for children between 5 years old to 9 years old and ”Adventure Course” which is more suitable for 9 year olds to adults. We took “Adventure Course” which is consisted with 32 activities divided into 5 sites in total.


Image from Forest adventure website (http://fa-ohira.foret-aventure.jp/)

We started off with an activity that was about 5 meters high and gradually went up to taller trees.

There were also zip lines between each site and they were super refreshing!

 

 

V

 

Also, each activity in Adventure course had an indication of its level from 1 to 4 .

 

 

 

Overall, it took us about 2.5 hours to complete the entire course, but it was definitely a rewarding, unique experience/workout you wouldn’t be able to have often in Tokyo.


A group shot after completing the course!

After we completed the course, we rewarded ourselves with the BBQ in the forest!

 

We also went to all-you-can-eat-grapes at a local veneyard in Ohira after we left Forest Adventure!

A variety of grapes we had was 巨峰 (kyohō, literally “giant mountain grape”) and it was a speciality of Ohira area.  

 

We also all got to take 1 bunch home as an omiyage. 

That’s it for today’s event report on Forest adventure trip. Thank you guys for reading this post!  Stay tuned for the next event report!

Best,

Nanatsu

P.S. Special thanks to Hawken, Jae, Marvin and Meg for providing the pictures and the videos!

Bowling Night at Innovative Language

August 4th, 2016

Hi everyone! Nanatsu here.

 

As it’s been forever since we last updated our office event blog here, we’d like to get back to sharing it with you all. My name is Nanatsu and I’ve worked on content for JapanesePod101.com in the past and now I’m working on the HR team at the ILL Tokyo office, and I’m also one of the party organizers for the company. :)

At the ILL Tokyo office last Friday, we had our 3rd after work party this year! This time, we got ourselves down to the iconic city central of Tokyo, Shibuya, and had a company bowling tournament! =○

Here are our co-workers, Matt and Nori playing “太鼓の達人 (Taiko no tatsujin)” the popular arcade game while waiting for the others to show up at the bowling place…

At the bowling alley we went, シブヤEST (Shibuya EST), we could use a monitor to order food and drinks remotely just like one of those 居酒屋 (izakaya, Japanese-style bar) or カラオケ(karaoke). Although it maybe took a little longer to get service here than in an izakaya, it was still very convenient as we could 100% focus on the game without having to run to get food.  

 

After ordering some food & drinks and some announcements from the party organizers as usual…

 

 

 The game begins!

 

“Nailed it.”

“I’m done.”

 

Everyone did a great job, trying their best to get the top score! Great job!

 

(All photo courtesy to Jaehwi, our KoreanClass101.com star!)

Have you been bowling in Japan? It’s one of the most popular sports to play after school or work since many bowling alleys in Tokyo are open until late at night. You will see a lot of “サラリーマン (sararīman) practicing even around midnight while drinking a beer or two. If you have a chance to visit one, please check out the place with the convenient ordering machine, too! 

#UberIceCream Delivery: Smiles at the Office!

July 15th, 2016

We still don’t have Pokemon Go here in Tokyo, but we do have free ice cream with #UberIceCream!

#UberIceCream

Today 400 cities around the world are enjoying frozen desserts delivered by Uber. Tokyo was one of the cities, so it was the perfect opportunity for the Innovative Language team to enjoy the refreshments.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect: a sad grey sky, rain, and high temperatures because summer in Tokyo is not a joke. What better way to enjoy the Friday, the infamous last push before the weekend, than with  ICE CREAM?! It’s a universal way to create happiness.

And this is what happened after we had an unexpected ice cream break, with a bag full of Ben & Jerry’s delivered by Uber to our office in Akasaka! There was ice cream for everyone, some colourful shirts, and pins to complete a perfect scene as we savoured the Bourbon Brown Butter or Dark Chocolate Brownie flavors!

 

Whether you’re an Uber driver or part of the #TeamTaxi, never forget that it’s possible to learn a language in your car!

And to all other language lovers, don’t forget to enjoy our hot 30% off deal on one of the 34 languages of your choice with the “SUMMER2016” discount code. The campaign starts on July 18th, 2016 ! 


Click the link below to get a HOT 30% OFF at…

AfrikaansPod101 | ArabicPod101 | BulgarianPod101 | CantoneseClass101 | ChineseClass101 | CzechClass101 | DanishClass101 | DutchPod101 | EnglishClass101 | FilipinoPod101 | FinnishPod101 | FrenchPod101 | GermanPod101 | GreekPod101 | HebrewPod101 | HindiPod101 | HungarianPod101 | IndonesianPod101 | ItalianPod101 | JapanesePod101 | KoreanClass101 | NorwegianClass101 | PersianPod101 | PolishPod101 | PortuguesePod101 | RomanianPod101 | RussianPod101 | SpanishPod101 | SwahiliPod101 | SwedishPod101 | ThaiPod101 | TurkishClass101 | UrduPod101 | VietnamesePod101


New Feature! Finally… An Easy, Step-by-Step Path for Learning Languages!

May 25th, 2016

Hello Listener,

Want a guaranteed, step-by-step way to learn a language – without getting lost or wondering what to learn next? Just imagine yourself going from….

  • “I only know a few phrases”…to speaking with confidence
  • Not having enough words to finally expressing yourself
  • Not being able to read and write to mastering it all
  • And imagine going from Absolute Beginner Level to Beginner… all the way up to Advanced

Imagine you had a path – designed by our language teachers – that took you to fluency! Interested? If so, read this newsletter carefully to learn more!

You get just that with Learning Paths: your new study tool at Innovative Language! Here’s how you take advantage of Learning Paths – your step-by-step roadmap to mastering your target language – at any of our 34 Language Learning Sites.

Click Here to Get Your Free Lifetime Account & Access Learning Paths!

1) Choose Your Learning Level on the Top Left Side of the Page.
You already selected this when you signed up. Based on your level, you’ll get the Learning Paths and lessons that are right for you. When you change your level, we will add recommended courses for the new level as well.

Choose Your Learning Level on the Top Left Side of the Page.

2) Take the Learning Path to Mastering Language with “My Pathway”
Inside “My Pathway,” you will see your recommended learning paths based on your level. All lessons have been handpicked by our language teachers. To see more recommended paths, simply click on “See All” and to start learning, click on the blue “Study Now” button.

Take the Learning Path to Mastering Japanese with “My Pathway”<br />

3) We Guide You From the Lesson #1 ‘til the Last – Until You Reach Your Goals
You’ll never be confused about what lesson to take next. Once you’re done with a lesson, click on “Mark as Complete” and we will take you to the next lesson. You’re guided every step of the way until you reach your language learning goals – whether learning to read or write, reaching fluency or simply speaking with confidence.

We Guide You From the Lesson #1 ‘til the Last – Until You Reach Your Goals<br />

4) See Your Learning Progress Grow with Dynamic Charts
Want to know how far your language has come along? Don’t worry, we track your progress so you can see exactly how much effort and dedication you’ve put in. This is perfect for learners who are motivated by seeing their progress grow!

See Your Japanese Learning Progress Grow with Dynamic Charts

5) Want to Customize Your Learning Paths?
Want to add some Writing Lessons, Pronunciation Lessons or Listening Lessons? Customize your Learning Paths by adding more lessons. Simply click on “Add A New Path” and find the paths that fit your goals and interests!

Want to Customize Your Learning Paths?

Click Here to Get Your Free Lifetime Account & Access Learning Paths!

What Makes Learning Paths So Special?

  • Set Your Learning Level & Get Lessons Perfect for Your Needs
  • Your Courses & Paths Are Designed by Language Teachers
  • Never Get Lost – Always Know What Lessons to Study or Review
  • No Confusion – We Guide You Every Step of the Way
  • Track Your Learning Progress with Dynamic Charts
  • Reach Your Goals (whether speaking, reading, writing or listening)
  • Customize Your Paths for Your Needs & Add the Course You Want

We’ll Guide You From Zero to Fluency.

Access it right now on the Dashboard of any of our 34 Language Learning Sites.

To Your Fluency,

Team Innovative Language

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