Survival Guide: How to Learn a New Language Quickly

David - About Travel - September 09, 2020

Learning a new language can be tricky, yet extremely rewarding and helpful. Not only does it help you embrace another culture, but it also enables you to meet people from different countries, talk with them, and enlarge your knowledge.

So far, I can properly speak five languages although I was born speaking only one. That's why, in this article, I'll tell you how I approach learning a new language, and what are my tips and tricks to make this process shorter and easier for you. And did I mention that this is a survival guide? If you've just arrived in a new country, this article will immensely help you.

Keep reading as I'll share with you several techniques that you've probably never heard of before.

Survival Guide: How to Learn a New Language Quickly - Illustration - Picture

How to Learn a New Language Quickly When You Arrive in a New Country

Ever wondered:

  • What are the most important words to learn when learning a new language?

  • What's the most effective way to learn a new language?

  • How to learn a new language on my own without getting lost?

Here I'll tell you what I've learned the hard way, and give you my tips and tricks.

In my opinion, this is what you should read about and learn when starting to study a new language:

  • Greetings: Learn how people say hello in their language. And if their language has a sense of formal and informal, learn how to properly introduce yourself in both ways. Beyond words, search online how people physically say hello in their country (hugs, kisses on the cheeks, shaking hands, waving hands, half hugs, etc).

  • Politeness: Learn how to say sorry, how to thank people, and how to ask something politely. You'll certainly make mistakes when you communicate with people, and you'll also have difficulties to make yourself understandable. Hence you'd better know how to apologize and ask anything being polite and respectful. Even beyond that aspect, it's always a good thing to remain respectful with people you don't know, and they'll really appreciate that.

  • Gender, pronouns, and a basic understanding of the conjugation system: These will help you understand what people are talking about, and most specifically, who they're talking about. So even if you don't understand the whole point of a statement, at least you can tell who's the subject and where to look at. Besides, knowing pronouns and gender will help people better understand you if you make mistakes. If you don't know certain words, you can point to objects and use the right pronoun to get understood.

  • Question tags: This one is probably the most important. In some languages, questions are built using only a single word. In others, like English, there's a structure, specific question fragments, and even word inversion. You must understand how questions work within this new language that you're learning so you can ask for anything and understand when people ask you something.

  • Linking words: Vocabulary alone isn't enough. Conjugation alone isn't enough. Vocabulary, conjugation, and question tags, altogether, aren't enough. The ultimate building block is linking words. For instance: "And, Because, That's Why, Also, Moreover, In Brief" etc. These words enable you to make complete sentences, express cause and consequences, and link ideas to form meaningful conversations.

  • Adverbs of place: For instance: "Here, There, Under, Nearby, On top, Away" etc. These words help you figure out where things are. They're really useful when it comes to navigating a foreign country by car or by walk.

These are all the parts I start working on when I learn a new language. They help me communicate with people and, basically, survive abroad.

Now let's see how to speed up the learning process.

Survival Guide: How to Learn a New Language Quickly - Illustration - Picture

Tips & Tricks to Learn a New Language Faster Than Anyone Else

Every time I went to and lived in a new country, this is what's helped me overcome the language barrier:

  • Buy a bilingual dictionary for kids: In any bookstore you'll find dictionaries for kids, with pictures and translations from and to English. These books are used to teach kids the English language. The trick is to buy these books to teach yourself the new language. Pictures will help you, and the vocabulary will be simple enough.

  • Buy bilingual novels: Same here, in any bookstores you'll find short novels for foreigners where each double-page has English on the left, and Foreign Language on the right. That will help you learn how to write words, how to make proper sentences, a bit of slang, and how English names are spelled in that language. All in all, that will help you improve your command of that new language.

  • Join Facebook Groups: It's very common, especially in large cities, to have Facebook groups where local and foreigners gather. They help each other, they meet, and they share insights about their culture and language. These groups are, literally, gold mines. You'll find help, and people to spend time with. What's more?

  • Infographics: It can be super hard to remember everything you learn, and if like me you're not into taking notes and keeping a record of everything you learn, infographics are extremely useful. Search on Google for infographics that summarize pronouns, genders, conjugations, and basic words in the language that you're trying to learn. That will help you quickly learn new words with pictures to ease your understanding.

If you ever travel abroad, these techniques will be of great use.

Good luck with learning that new language! Feel free to share your insight about it in the comments.

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