Learning a language with effortless speed is something we would all love to experience.
In 2005, Daniel Tammet demonstrated his unique ability to learn languages incredibly fast by learning icelandic in 7 days. At the end of the week in order to prove his level of fluency, he was interviewed on icelandic television. See video below.
There are, in fact, only three ways to improve how fast you can learn a new language.
As a side note, there are drugs that anecdotally (at least) improve short term memory function but I will exclude these from the present discussion.
Maybe a more apt title would be the only 3 safe ways to learn Spanish fast. But I digress.
These are provided from highest level of importance to lowest:
Practice More Often
It sounds obvious, but for many it is not the question they are asking. Rather than how can I learn fast, ask yourself, how can I practice more often?
The problem is, that it is just too easy to take time off. It is easy to skip a day here or there and then get frustrated with your lack of progress. The thing that is holding you back is not your ability to learn, its you ability to sit down and do the work more regularly.
It is not the lack of brain power that stops people. Language acquisition, while difficult, can be achieved by anyone provided they are prepared to get busy.
If you can do the work more often you will get to the desired outcome faster.
Have a look at a previous post where I mention the Seinfeld method of acquiring a skill – Don’t break the chain!
Try to include frequency of practice as a first step before you consider the following two techniques.
Raise The Quality Of Your Practice Sessions
Once a habit of regular practice is established, quality of practice session is the next focus.
What does quality mean? It means that time is not wasted and not spent working on the wrong things.
Don’t get me wrong, its better to be doing something than nothing.
But the focus should be to work on the important skills.
Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Are you good with vocabulary, grammar or listening skills? Where are you weakest?
Once you have decided on the most important skills to practice. Focus in and commit to a good quality practice session. Avoid distractions: turn off the phone, the internet, social media and let family members know that when the door is closed its business time.
Practice Longer When You Do Practice
Lastly, once you have found a way of practicing more regularly and with high quality consider increasing the time of each session.
I want to stress that the first two techniques for learning faster are far more important than this one. There is no point spending hours practicing if you are not doing it often and with quality.
It is a much more desirable approach to practice for 30 minutes 4 days in a row than one 2-hour session.
Hopefully, I’m not breaking new ground with this post. Instead, providing a reminder of how you can achieve your goals faster.
Use a stopwatch – set your clock to countdown and keep practicing until you are done. Start with 30 minutes.
Then when you are confident you can practice with quality for 30 minutes. Increase the practice time.
Learning fast is about doing the reps. It about using good technique and a regular approach.
Start to think about how you can take ownership of your practice routines. Use a calendar, use a stopwatch and avoid distractions. And look for a high focus on your weakest areas.
Now have a look at Daniel in action and leave comment if you are impressed: