Become Fluent Faster – here is how!
As the world we live in grows increasingly more global and interconnected, learning a foreign language is fast becoming one of the most valuable pursuits you can spend your time on. Achieving fluency in multiple languages opens a host of personal and professional opportunities for any person. You’ll be much better equipped to live, study, or work abroad, for instance, if you know the language of the place and can use it with ease.
Becoming fluent in any language is an involved process of mastering not just one skill but several. The skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking are all equally necessary to learn, and they also work in conjunction with each other throughout the learning process. While balancing and practising these four skills can seem like a lot of work, there are many useful strategies to speed up the process. Read on for an in-depth look at four especially helpful language-learning tips.
Consume a Variety of Materials to Become Fluent Faster
When you’re learning to read in another language, try to diversify your material beyond textbooks and phrasebooks. Don’t be afraid to explore different kinds of writing that use a variety of diverse styles; mix literary and academic selections with informal blog posts, news pieces, and even religious texts. Reading and listening to a range of different things will show you how writers might change the ways they use the language depending on their particular purpose. It will also give you useful insight into the intricacies of word choice, sentence construction, and tone.
Muslim learners seeking to teach themselves Arabic, for instance, might find it both useful and meaningful to read the Quran. To make things even easier, the Muslim Pro app comes with multiple translations of the text, allowing you to view passages in your native language right alongside the original Arabic. Best of all, you can also use the Muslim Pro app to work on your pronunciation in conjunction with your reading, as the software carries audio recordings of the Quran as well.
Write a Little Bit Each Day
The quickest way to improve your writing skills in a foreign language is simply to make a habit of doing daily writing exercises. Now, we don’t mean anything complicated like putting together a fully fleshed-out feature article each day. It’s perfectly fine to practise your writing in small doses by making to-do lists, grocery lists, or lists of reminders in your target language. Then you can eventually work your way up to more complex pieces like book and movie reviews, small personal essays, or narratives.
Learning to write confidently in a new language is as much about consistently training your muscle memory as it is about the length and complexity of your daily writing exercises. Because of this, it’s also a good idea to do these exercises by hand. While most of us do the bulk of our studying through our computers or mobile devices, the tactility of writing with pen and paper will aid your memory and comprehension, so write things down every chance you get.
Enhance Listening Skills with Material You’re Interested In
Listening may seem like a passive skill, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hone it actively. Practising active listening, however, requires that you be fully focused on and engaged with your resources. Choose audio content that you’re genuinely interested in for your regular listening activities to ensure that you pay attention. You’ll find that being invested in the discussion will also help you pick up new words and ideas faster and more easily.
Don’t limit yourself listening practice to just traditional language audiobooks or podcasts either. Go ahead and watch movies and TV show episodes or even the news in your target language. You can start with the subtitles on for maximum comprehension, but over time hearing the same words repeatedly will help you understand and retain their meanings. Further, you can convert any written text to audio using a voice generator and keep on listening to it.
Don’t limit yourself listening practice to just traditional language audiobooks or podcasts either. Go ahead and watch movies and TV show episodes or even the news in your target language. You can start with the subtitles on for maximum comprehension, but over time hearing the same words repeatedly will help you understand and retain their meanings.
Speak Aloud as Often as Possible
If you feel shy or embarrassed speaking your target language aloud, especially when you’re just starting out, you’re not alone. However, there’s really no better way to develop your speech than to simply vocalize as much as you can, as frequently as you can. Work up the confidence to converse with fluent and native speakers—and, most importantly, be willing to make mistakes and learn from them when you do so.
Ask more skilled speakers for pointers on how to improve your accent and pronunciation, and use the opportunity to improve your listening skills. Another pro tip is to avoid switching back to English when you lose track of a word or phrase in conversation. Instead, do your best to describe the word you’re looking for in your new language. Doing so will gradually nudge you away from mentally translating and reciting textbook replies to actually conversing in an organic, natural manner.
Learning each of the four language skills takes time and effort, but rest assured that putting the work in will be worth it in the long run. Since none of these skills can ever really be practised in isolation, working on improving one will also automatically help you build another right alongside it. With enough patience, practise, and perseverance, fluency in your desired language will be just around the corner.