The Lazy Guide to Language Study
Language study is Only for Serious People? Wrong!
I’ve heard this over and over again. “You have to be really committed to study a language. If you’re not, then you won’t learn it.” And while that’s true in some ways, I think it’s completely false in others. We’ll get into that later.
The point of language learning is not just to become fluent or keep up with the latest news from another country, even though those are nice benefits to having learned another language. The main goal of learning another language is so you can see things differently than you would if your only tool was your native tongue (English). Of course there are other benefits too, but I think this one is the most important aspect of studying languages (especially ones that aren’t your native tongue). As an American who loves traveling abroad and meeting new people, I always want to learn more about different cultures and how they interact with each other. I enjoy study, but I’m also really busy. It’s important to me to find a way to learn languages that doesn’t take up too much time.
Make it Simple
If you don’t want to spend 4 hours every day studying for your next language exam, then don’t! You can teach yourself languages in ways that fit your schedule and lifestyle. There are so many different ways you can study a language, and if one isn’t working for you, try another. Personally, I find it helpful to have a plan. I want to learn languages in ways that are easy for me, so that I can focus on other things in my life.
I’m self-employed and work from home, so it’s easy for me to adjust my own schedule. If there’s something important happening with you or your family, then make sure you make time to study your language. But if you’re like most people who don’t work outside the home (or at least aren’t busy 24/7), then try to make your language learning fit into the gaps in your day! Personally, I like having something active during my breaks (when possible). Generally speaking though, I’m not one of those “hardcore” students who spends hours studying every day. For me personally, working through each lesson is enough for now (but maybe someday that will change!).
So far I’ve studied French and German (and some Spanish), but French is what has captured my attention currently. I’m still learning the basics, but I do think it’s important to study languages in ways that are helpful to you. For example, if you want to learn grammar or if your goal is fluency, then maybe having a plan isn’t so important. But it’s also really helpful to have something set up for when you’re done with one lesson and ready for the next!
It doesn’t matter what language it is… sometimes you just need a break!
What should I study?
This will all depend on your goals and the time available to study. Personally, I don’t like spending too much time on grammar because it gets boring quickly for me (and because I hate homework!). It was hard enough getting through French 1 back in high school… now imagine how many years of studying French would be required before becoming fluent? That’s why there are programs like Pimsleur where all they teach are basic phrases without any kind of introduction to grammar! If that sounds good to you, then go ahead and try this option out. Personally though, I find sticking with formal classes much more worthwhile. I am planning to study language study at a university in Germany where I can learn grammar and more complicated expressions.
It really depends on the method of language study you’re interested in. If you want to learn grammar, then there are many different books and classes available for that purpose alone. If you’re ready to try something new, but don’t know what it might be, then Pimsleur is a great option for learning basic phrases that are used regularly around the world.
How much time should I spend?
This is also something that will depend greatly on personal preference.
First of all, thank you for reading this article on “How to Learn Languages Fast”. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful.