Learning English Fast: How Is it Possible?
Debunking myths for learning the English language.
On any given day, when you look for advice about languages, you will find hundreds of resources that promise fast-track learning solutions. How is learning English optimized? Of course, you can implement any number of strategies to improve your learning experience and maximize productivity. But that does not necessarily mean it’s going to speed the process up for you. You can optimize your learning, but you are still going to need to put in a lot of time. Like many things in this world, good things come to those who wait (and study).
One size does not fit all in the language learning community. Many people need to learn languages with entirely different alphabets and phonetics systems. Some people are also trying to learn languages on top of other responsibilities like work and family. For many, the concept of learning anything “fast” is a tall tale, let alone mastering a completely new dialect.
This brings us to the question: can you learn languages fast-er? Absolutely. Depending on the time you put into language learning daily, the overall time on the calendar will be shortened. You can also streamline your learning by combining immersive activities and private study. In our digital age, there are always newer, better ways to learn. But with this digitalization also comes gimmicks that you need to be aware of.
Today we aim to help you spot these tricks when they appear. We will outline the false promises often seen in language blogs and platforms, and offer our alternatives. Keep reading to learn the top 10 myths of learning languages, and what you can try instead.
Learning Languages Fast: The Myths
“You only need to spend 15 minutes a day!”
Studies have shown that the optimal amount of time you should be putting into your language learning each day is 1 hour. This gives you enough time to immerse yourself in the material while keeping your attention. While 15 minutes is better than none, it will not help you “learn fast”. The reason why 15 minutes is advertised so frequently is that students feel more confident committing to that time frame instead of 1 hour. Sadly, this will delay your progress and increase your chances of giving up. If you genuinely want to learn that language fast, you will put in more time daily.
“Any language can be learned in X amount of time.”
This is another false promise we see. Specifically targeting those who have never tried to learn a second language. According to the FSI, different languages take widely different amounts of time to learn. This also depends on your native language. Learning French is going to be a lot easier for an English speaker than a Mandarin speaker. This is because there are shared vocabularies and phonemes between English and French, allowing an easier understanding for students.
“You can achieve fluency fast with a single app!”
Language apps are an amazing tool for learning. We have progressed past the era of the language book – endlessly flipping through pages to find a word. Language apps are only one of the many methods you have at your disposal for language learning. Apps that promise you quick fluency are simply not being honest with their potential users. To become fluent in a language, students must make use of as much interactive material as possible. They must also put in a substantial amount of time with these apps.
“Adults can’t learn languages as fast as children.”
Otherwise known as “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. This myth has been widely dispelled by various language studies. Adults have been found to have an easier time learning than children. This is why parents will only need to take a few skiing lessons while their children will require an entire season of lessons. Adults have a lot more learning experience and therefore can process new information more efficiently.
The only thing stopping adults from grasping new languages like children is their sense of self. Adults don’t like being wrong or looking foolish, so they will avoid mispronunciation and all of the other fumblings that come with new languages. For adults to achieve the same mastery of languages that children have, they will need to leave their pride at the door.
“Learn a language in a few months!”
One of the most common myths used in promoting learning english online. Many language institutes have put in countless research debunking this myth. According to the FSI, it will take an average of at least 750 class hours to learn the closest language to your native tongue. If you were to split this over several months, that would take up about 25 hours a week! Unless you’re willing to spend 4 hours after work learning a language, you likely will not achieve fluency in a few months. This time is more likely to be spread over a year or two for most students.
The best frame of mind to have about learning is to thoroughly enjoy the material. There’s no need to rush something you genuinely enjoy. Additionally, if you allow yourself to take your time and have fun with learning, you won’t want to quit!
“Achieve fluency in a short amount of time!”
Most people learn languages for a common purpose: to connect with people. Many students can achieve this without knowing the full language. The goal of language learning is to learn enough so that you can laugh at a joke, tell a story, and learn new things. Don’t overload yourself with stress trying to be perfect. Fluency will come with time. Until then, occasionally stumbling through a sentence here or there isn’t the end of the world. Fluency should not be the end goal, it should be all about communication.
“Translation software is the enemy.”
Many pages warn you against making use of translation software – claiming it makes for awkward, disjointed communication. Of course, you don’t want to speak through your phone to every person you meet. But people will understand if you need to stop the conversation to find the right words. It’s much better to have this technology there for emergencies than nothing at all.
Translation apps are also the cornerstone of modern language learning because they’ve sped up the process. People no longer need to rifle through a foreign thesaurus to put a sentence together, they can simply type it into a search engine! Embrace your translation software and use it to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to use all the tools at your disposal on this journey.
“Only learn the language you need to speak.”
If this were the case, many people wouldn’t explore much more than their native language! Where’s the fun in that? For many people who choose to travel, they don’t necessarily need to learn a new language. But the pride that comes with knowledge is immeasurable. Learn the languages you want to speak, learn the languages that are fun for you to speak. You have full control over the skills you acquire. You want to learn Italian because it sounds pretty? All the power to you! You can learn a language for any reason you like. It could be for work, school, travel, or just the fun of it.
“The fastest way to learn is by mastering grammar.”
Contrary to popular belief, grammar is the last thing you should be learning. Try and remember your toddler years when you were learning your communication skills. Grammar was something you corrected as you went along. Grammar was an afterthought! Even adults who have been speaking the same language their entire lives will have a hard time with grammatical errors (ie. your, you’re). Leave the grammar as a casual side project that you will eventually tackle. Focus on the main events: pronunciation and vocabulary.
“Don’t waste time on memorization!”
Many English learning apps promise that you can learn languages subconsciously, without taking any time to memorize. However, memorization has been used in classrooms of various subjects for hundreds of years. It’s a widely used technique that most people already know.
This is because memorization is more than simply cramming information into your brain, it’s used to promote conscious learning. When you sit and truly enjoy the learning process without trying to find shortcuts, you will feel more likely to come back. Memorizing can be more than making flashcards and rhymes. It can be about fully digesting something truly interesting, understanding it from every angle. It has also been associated with brain health and critical thinking skills. So keep memorizing, and your brain will thank you later!
Frequently Asked Questions
Learning a new language can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. For many people, the easiest and fastest way to learn English is to take an online course. Online courses typically offer a variety of interactive activities, such as listening exercises, grammar lessons, and speaking practice. In addition, most courses provide access to a community of other English learners, which can help to create a motivation to succeed.
Try to find a native English speaker to chat with online or in person. If you don’t have anyone to practice with, you can also try recording yourself speaking and then listening back to identify areas for improvement. It’s also a good idea to immerse yourself in English as much as possible by watching English-language TV shows and movies, reading books and magazines, and listening to music.
Some people prefer to read texts and books, while others find it more helpful to listen to audio recordings or watch videos. There are also many online resources that can be helpful, such as websites and apps that provide grammar lessons, vocabulary lists, and practice exercises. The important thing is to find a method of study that works for you and that you can stick with over time. Consistency is key when learning any new language, so make sure to set aside some time each day or week to study English.
One way to do this is to set aside a specific time each day to practice. Even just 15 minutes of conversation can make a big difference. You can also try joining an English-language meetup group or taking an online class. Another helpful tip is to make a point of using English even when you’re not actively studying. For example, you can read books, listen to podcasts, or watch movies in English.
If the learner already speaks a related language, learning the new language will be easier. For example, someone who speaks Spanish may have an easier time learning Portuguese than someone who speaks English. Additionally, the level of difficulty of the new language also plays a role. Some languages, such as Mandarin Chinese, can be very difficult for non-native speakers to learn. Other languages, such as French or Italian, are considered relatively easy to learn.
First, it is important to find materials that are interesting and relevant to you. This will help keep you motivated and engaged in the learning process. Once you have found some suitable materials, it is time to start studying. It is often best to focus on one area at a time, such as grammar or vocabulary. Try to set aside some time each day to study, and soon you will begin to see progress. Finally, don’t be afraid to practice speaking English as often as possible. The more you use the language, the more natural it will become.
Learning Languages Fast: The Truth
As you can see, this learning process takes time and dedication. You can start by calculating how long it’s going to take you to learn a language and check out our amazing new Fluoroscope! The Fluoroscope is the world’s first Language fluency calculator, and it’s free and easy to use! The Fluoroscope is a calculator that calculates the amount of time it will take you to learn or improve any language you love.
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Bethany MacDonald has contributed articles LillyPad.ai since 2020. As their Blog Lead, she specialises in informative pieces on culture, education, and language learning