How to learn languages

In this article I will explain my method for learning how to speak and write in other languages. Learning languages is a favorite hobby of mine. I achieved a distinction (a grade of 80+) in five language classes for my senior year (English, Advanced Placement English, Latin, Hebrew and Afrikaans) as well as placing as the top Latin student in the country.

My method is only slightly different than what language instructors usually recommend, but it is more effective at reaching fluency and an accurate accent.

First one must familiarize with the basic rules of the language. Repeated patterns and structures need to be memorized. But once you have achieved this, you have to develop a skill for intuition.

What do I mean by intuition? In my experience, only brute forcing a language, and imagining that each word is the only way of knowing that word. This sounds a bit redundant but here’s what I mean. You have to imagine for example that the word врат (brother in Russian) is the only word in the universe for saying brother. In other words forget “brother” ever existed. In this way you develop, at least in this case, a Russian mindset. Do this with all languages and you should become more immersed in the authentic culture and authentic pronunciation of any people.

Also try acting a bit. I am constantly commended on my Hebrew accent at the El-Al line because I feign that I am actually Israeli. Don’t just adopt a foreign language with your own voice, strategically use your throat and mouth to mimic the way native speakers talk.

And obviously I’d recommend all the usual resources: dictionaries, textbooks, movies, series, novels etc.

Once you develop a true appreciation for another culture and love of its human spirit, there should be nothing from stopping you from learning their language. Make language learning a labor of love! And then it’s just a matter of practice and try try try again.