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How to Learn a New Foreign Language Quickly

Updated on October 1, 2010

There are a few good reasons why you might want to learn a foreign language quickly. Perhaps you are going on vacation in a foreign country and you want to be able to speak the language sufficiently enough to get along in that country. Or maybe you just know that you lose interest in new things quickly if you don't see rapid progress. Whatever the reason, wanting to learn a foreign language quickly is understandable. You aren't the first to want to do this and those who come before you have been successful; there's no reason that you can't be successful as well.

Here are some tips for learning a foreign language quickly:

  • Commit to it. Believe that you can do it. The biggest barrier to learning a foreign language in a short period of time is the fear that you can't do it. If you psych yourself out about it, you won't be able to do it, plain and simple. So stop wondering if you can and just commit to the fact that you will. The right mindset is everything when it comes to learning skills.
  • Plan to devote some time to it. You CAN learn a foreign language quickly but you can't learn it quickly without some effort. You may have only a few weeks in which to learn the language but you'll need to eat, sleep and breathe the language to do so.
  • Immerse yourself in the new language. Listen to it every chance you get. This means that you'll converse in that language with anyone you can find who knows it, as often as possible.
  • Take a multi-faceted learning approach to speed things up. Read books about learning the language and books that are actually in the language. Listen to audio language cassettes as well as programs and other audio material in the foreign language. Take a class. Speak with others. Practice writing in the foreign language. In other words, access as many different areas of your brain as possible while learning to make the learning stick more quickly.
  • Focus on the important vocabulary words. Yes, you want to be able to get the grammar right so you don't sound like a two-year-old when speaking the new language. But just like a child, you need to learn the vocabulary first and worry about correct verb tenses later. You should focus specifically on learning the vocabulary for your intended environment. If you're taking a business trip to a foreign country, focus on learning words related to your business.
  • Learn a few key phrases to break the ice. You should always know how to say hello and goodbye, of course. But find out what the standard greetings are for your language. Also, learn how to say something along the lines of, "I'm just learning to speak the language" so that people will understand and have more patience with you. When in a foreign country, just showing that you're trying to speak the language will gain you a lot of points with the residents.

It's definitely possible to quickly learn a foreign language. Believe in yourself, establish a plan for learning the important things first and then immerse yourself in the language in as many ways as possible.


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  • SotD and Zera profile image

    SotD and Zera 5 years ago

    Thanks for the tips! Particularly the one about vocabulary- I always get hung up on the grammar and forget that knowing what order to say things in doesn't matter if you don't have words to say.


  • scruffyfy profile image

    scruffyfy 5 years ago from Philippines

    This is a very helpful article to help or give insight on how to learn foreign languages effectively and with ease. I agree, learning a new language is tough and as a beginner, you need to start from the very start like learning like a child and in that way, you can then integrate the language like a native. In my case, I really really want to learn French language and I hope I can find someone that I can make as a language partner through skype. anyone? :P

  • ltlearning profile image

    ltlearning 5 years ago from Argentina

    Great tips. I will post some of this tips in my facebook

  • contentpundit profile image

    contentpundit 5 years ago from Chennai, India

    Nicely written....As you rightly said, everything starts with a commitment and the confidence in the end result..

  • iamageniuster profile image

    iamageniuster 5 years ago

    Great article. I'll try to incorporate these concepts into learning a new foreign language.

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 5 years ago from USA

    Very nice hub. Voted Up and Useful. I'm a retired Foreign Language teacher and although I realize one cannot truly learn another language in depth in a shot time, your tips certainly will go a long way in helping people to at least be able to survive in a language as needed.

  • profile image

    Ronnie1066 5 years ago

    Have you ever read the book by Barry Farber called "How To Learn Any Language?" It's a real good (and short!) read.

  • TroyM profile image

    TroyM 6 years ago

    Informative article... Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  • wanzulfikri profile image

    wanzulfikri 6 years ago from Malaysia

    Great tip! I want to learn more language but procrastination kicks in hehe

  • barryrutherford profile image

    Barry Rutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia

    Will get into a new language this Summer: great tips!

  • Catalian profile image

    Ian 6 years ago from Spain

    Some great ideas and tips from lots of people. Everything little contact with the language helps.I think it’s very important to remember how we learnt our native language(s). Children know intuitively how to acquire language. If you want to learn a language well you need to hear and read that language on a regular basis.

    Young kids are exposed to their maternal language(s) for up to 3 years before they can speak in that/those language(s). Their brains are accumulating language information so that they can process it into usable phrases.

    It all comes from having repeated access to an ever-increasing language input (from Mum, Dad, big sister/brother, grandparents, neighbours etc etc)

    You might find this article about how children learn an inspiration for your own language learning

  • stayingalivemoma profile image

    Valerie Washington 6 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

    an excellent hub! I think there will be more and more hubs coming out promoting being bilingual, it's just a matter of time!

  • profile image

    Dmitriy 6 years ago

    Hello everybody!

    I live in Sankt-Peterburg and can teach you russian in english via skype. I'll give you instruction in russian pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and writing. $10 per hour.

    Skype ID: dmitriy_line


  • profile image

    DJ Ejaz 6 years ago

    I agree with what you said about immersion.Excellent tips.

    Nice job man.thankssssssss.......

  • profile image

    abida 6 years ago

    WOW!I will share article with my friends.Thanks for useful advices for learning foreign languages.I will try it soon.

  • profile image

    prashant verma 6 years ago


  • Obscure_Treasures profile image

    Obscure_Treasures 6 years ago from USA

    Excellent posting on learning foreign languages!Very useful information.Thanks.

  • flagostomos profile image

    flagostomos 6 years ago from Washington, United States

    Good tips. You're definitely right about immersion. If I compare how much Spanish I learned in the classroom vs real world experience, there's no comparison. Just getting out and forcing yourself to be with people that don't speak English is the best help you can have.

  • KK Trainor profile image

    KK Trainor 6 years ago from Texas

    I agree with what you said about immersion. I have taken several languages in my lifetime, Arabic, German, French, Spanish, and the somewhat useless Latin. German was my favorite because I had many friends at that time who also spoke it and we used it as often as possible. This makes such a huge difference! Even if the phrases you use with your friends aren't that sophistocated, they can turn into longer and longer sentences and that helps you learn even more.

  • profile image

    The Outdoor Fire Pit Guy 6 years ago

    I am always looking for new ways to study a foreign language. The two I really want to learn now is Japanese and Spanish.

  • Thelma Alberts profile image

    Thelma Alberts 6 years ago from Germany

    Learning a foreign language is not as easy as we might think it is. We need self determination. One has to learn the language by heart and should practise it as often as you can.

    One of my workmates asked me before, why I learned so many languages. German is enough, she said it after knowing I learned Italian for 2 semester just to use it in my 1 week holiday in Rome. She did not understand that I love learning languages.

    This Hub is useful and very informative. Thanks for sharing.

  • Paul Kuehn profile image

    Paul Richard Kuehn 6 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

    I'm in total agreement that immersion is one of the best ways to learn a foreign language quickly. It certainly has worked well for the millions of immigrants who have assimilated into American life over the years.

  • profile image

    Acimaz 6 years ago

    Useful article!

    The best way to learn English is to read any article on this site :D

  • Spongy0llama profile image

    Jake Brannen 6 years ago from Canada

    Kewl, I should be able to learn Swedish in no time. Thanks for the tips!

  • The Apprentice profile image

    The Apprentice 6 years ago from Philippines

    I always wanted to learn new language, I am on the start of learning french or français. Well I guess I will follow your tips. Very helpful.

  • the50marathons17 profile image

    Michael 6 years ago from Long Island, New York

    Nice job. Very useful information. Funny pictures.

  • profile image

    Russian translation 7 years ago

    Very good article! There is no doubt that advices stated above are really useful.

  • profile image

    Brian 7 years ago

    Excellent posting on learning foreign languages! Have been studying Modern Standard Arabic now for about two years and still have to keep on top of learning so I don't forget it!

  • OmNaser profile image

    OmNaser 7 years ago from kuwait

    Its better to start with basics. And then reading the language your learning will be easiar than speaking it. Practising makes perfect. I guess learning at a young age is much better learning it at an older age. And what about writing a foreign language that has no english letters. Have you thought about it?

  • profile image

    Martin 7 years ago

    Great article!

    I'd like to add two tips to the list:

    1. Watch foreign films with subtitles in your own language. You'll get used to the two different inputs and you'll see how the brain starts to make connections and create understanding. Fantastic way to take small shortcuts.

    2. Love your mistakes. As you state in the article Kathryn, the right mindset is essential. That's why so many learn but never speak: they're afraid of making mistakes and being mocked. But in fact, if you make mistakes and can laugh about it, you are actually opening the door to getting lots of help from others. You'll be less stressed and learn faster. And you'll be enjoying meeting people while you're learning.

  • profile image

    prom dresses 7 years ago

    It is a very great site! Good job!

    ball gowns

  • profile image

    learn spanish cds 7 years ago

    I have been learning Spanish and now able to speak few words but still I am not confident to say in front of others.

  • HarryHarding profile image

    HarryHarding 7 years ago

    I am learning Chinese at the moment, it is pretty tough but after 4 years I am finally getting somewhere!. Your tips are pretty good!

  • profile image

    Columbuslanguages 7 years ago from Graeffstrasse 5 D-50823 Cologne Germany

    Hey.. I have come back to have a second look. thanks for this hub

  • profile image

    languagemalta 7 years ago

    Hi.. Thanks for this informative hub. Actually learning a new language is indeed not all that tough. What it requires is the 'method' to master it properly. Thanks once again for this post!

  • profile image

    bluebird 7 years ago

    I flew onto Surfacelanguages which has a few phrases for free.

  • gramarye profile image

    gramarye 7 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

    Great advice - I love this, and will come back for more - have put in a bookmark

  • marieryan profile image

    Marie Ryan 8 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

    Hi,Your article was written well and very clearly. I think your comment about breaking the ice is crucial!

    As you say, this can be done by just learning a few phrases 'parrot fashion' to get people knowing you're interested in their language. You can even purposely learn something amusing (which you use completely out of context) and then you are more likely to be invited to practise a little more! It can show that at least you have humour in common! I tried to write something like this on

  • profile image

    big dogg 8 years ago

    I think fo todays job markets being so risky its always good to get another

    language under your built . A friend told me about rosseta stone a gave me a site to pick up some ebooks was the site you can get books on st of the langauges out there.

  • Gennifer profile image

    Gennifer 8 years ago from Minsk, Belarus

    Great hub! I really like it. I learn two foreign languages and I have some secrets how to facilitate this process. I've chared my experience in my hub I hope that it'll help others as well.

  • profile image

    Dawood Mamedoff 8 years ago

    Hi, thanks for useful advices! Below are the basic ways of how you may accelerate your language studying that worked personally for me:

  • profile image

    keith 9 years ago

  • profile image

    keith 9 years ago

    This site is growing. It was built to help people who have desire and interest in talking to people from lots of walks of life as it focuses on learning the basics about alot of languages.

  • thegecko profile image

    Warren Samu 9 years ago from San Diego, CA

    Thanks for the the push! I will definitely share your article with others and include it in a few of my hubs :)

  • mp3audiobooks profile image

    mp3audiobooks 10 years ago from Switzerland

    Your comments about learning a language are spot on! It's not that difficult, but one has to set his mind to it, and one must not be shy to try and speak. Once the ice is broken, it's easy and much fun discovering new words and finally being able to hold a conversation! Thanks for this encouragement!

  • profile image

    Lisa Barger 10 years ago

    GREAT answer! Thanks.