Hand emerging from a pile of screwed up paper, holding a sign saying "Help!"

Help Me! I Want To Learn A Language

I am a member of many online groups for language learners, and I kid you not, every day I would see this type of post come up several times.

“I am a speaker of X language wanting to learn Y language. I can speak a little bit but understand a lot more. I have very little time due to my job but would still love to learn. Any suggestions.”

So in order to answer your questions once and for all, here is my summary after 12 months attempting to learn languages while NOT living in my target language.

  1. Don’t feel it is impossible because you have “little time”… many serial language learners spend only 20-30 mins a day learning.
  2. Pick things that appeal to you, and ignore anything that doesn’t call your name.
  3. Pick one or two resources and finish them… the next course is probably not better. Having said that,
  4. If you start doing something and it really doesn’t hold your interest, allow yourself to let it go. Review each month – what worked, what didn’t. Make adjustments accordingly.
  5. I have found one podcast, one Memrise (or other flashcard app) activity and one hard copy book is a good balance for most levels, achievable each day, and not overwhelming.
  6. As soon as possible, find a local group or tutor where you can get face-to-face practice – or online if you can’t find one. iTalki seems to be the online service most serial language learners find most helpful for finding a teacher or just a community member to chat with.

So that’s my super quick post for today. How about you? Do you suffer from shiny object syndrome, and keep changing resources? What have you found that worked for you? Post your hints, tips and links below to help others find great resources to learn languages fast 🙂

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