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Top 12 Ways to Learn Multiple Foreign Languages

It turns out that knowing 5-8 of languages ​​is not a sign of genius, so can every person. And it is not necessary to spend money and go to another country. Lifehacker gathered 12 ways to become a polyglot and learn several foreign languages.

Photo: Shutterstock

Some people think that there is a particular gene that allows you to learn several foreign languages ​​in your life. In fact, knowing foreign languages ​​from 5-8 is not a special gift or even years of hard work. Believe in the fact that it can everyone, and follow the rules 12 from experienced polyglots.

1. Learn the right words in the right way.

Learning a new language means learning new words, a lot of new words. Some people think that they have a bad memory for words, give up and stop learning. But here's the point: you don’t need to learn all the words of a language in order to speak it.

In fact, you do not know ALL the words of your native language, but you speak it well. A total 20% effort to memorize new foreign words will provide you with an 80% understanding of the language. For example, in English 65% of the written material includes all 300 words.

These words are used very often, and this scheme works for all other languages. You can find these frequently used words or a specific topic and frequently used words for it.

There is a program for PC and smartphones Anki. Here the card method is used when a question is written on one side and the answer on the other. There are no cards as such, only questions and answers that will appear until you memorize the word. You can also use real cards, for example Vis-ed for learning different languages. You can buy them or make yourself.

2. Learn related words

You already know the many words of the language you are going to learn. Whatever language you start to learn, you know at least a few words, so starting out from scratch is essentially impossible. Related words are “true friends” of words from your native language, which mean the same thing.

For example, in Romance languages ​​- French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and others - there are many related words in English. The English language was originally borrowed from the Normans during the conquest, which lasted several hundred years. Action, nation, precipitation, solution, frustration, tradition, communication, extinction and thousands of other words with the ending “-Tion”Sound exactly the same in French, and you can immediately use them, getting used to the pronunciation.

Just change “-Tion” on "-ción”And you will get the same words in Spanish. Change end to “-zione" - Italian language, " -ção”- Portuguese. In many languages, there are words with a common root, which sound a little differently. But still you have to try hard not to understand what is at stake. For example, helicopter (French); porto capitano (Italian); astronomía, Saturno (Spanish).

To find common words in the language you learn, you can search for borrowed or related words. This method is suitable for European languages, but what about the rest, such as Japanese? It turns out that even in the most "distant" language you can find quite familiar words. This works especially well if you know English and want to learn another language. Many languages ​​borrowed words from English and adapted to their pronunciation.

So include borrowed and related words in your first list of new words. It will be much easier for you to learn them than completely new words that do not resemble the words of your native language.

3. Optional travel

Another reason (or excuse, how to look) for refusing to learn a foreign language is that people cannot visit another country where they speak this language. No money, time, etc. Believe me, there is nothing in the air of another country that would make you suddenly speak in a foreign language. There are cases when people have been living in another country for several years and do not learn the language.

If you need to dive in a foreign language, it is not necessary to buy a plane ticket - you can do it via the Internet. If you want to listen to conversations in a foreign language, here is an online resource more than 100 000 real radio stations from around the world.

On the subject: A new verb ukrained has appeared in the English dictionary: what does it mean to ukrainate

There is an application of the same name for smartphones on iOS and Android (free), where you can find several radio stations in the language you are learning, and listen to them every day in any place. If you prefer to watch videos in your target language, find the most popular videos in the country of interest on YouTube Trends Dashboard.

Check out The Amazon or Ebay the country whose language you are going to learn (for example,,,, etc.), and buy your favorite movie or series in a foreign language. You can use online news services from different countries, for example France24, Deutsche Welle, CNN Spanish and many others.

To read materials in a foreign language, in addition to the same news services from different countries, you can add reading blogs and other popular sites, and you can find them on the site. Alexa. If it’s difficult for you to translate foreign articles into Chrome Yes special plug-in, which will help to gradually recognize different expressions in a foreign language, translating parts of the text. That is, you are reading the text in your native language, and some of its parts in a foreign language.

4. We train on Skype and not only

So, you already have something to listen to, what to watch and even to read, and all this is warm and comfortable, in other words, at home. Now it is time for the next stage - a conversation with native speakers. Generally, if your goal for learning a language includes talking on it, this item should be one of the first.

Let's say you start learning a foreign language. It will take a little time to learn the basic words and repeat what you already know. And then immediately contact the native speakers and start talking to them.

For the first dialogue, you will not need many words, and if you start a conversation immediately after you have learned them, gaps in the vocabulary will appear on the same day, and you can add the missing expressions to your dictionary.

For 4-5 watches you will have time to learn a few words in another language, and it is advisable to include words and phrases such as “hello”, “thank you”, “Can you repeat?” And “I don't understand” in their number. All words for the first dialogue can be found in phrasebooks.

Now how to find a native speaker and impose your society on him. And it is not as difficult as it seems. For example, on the site You will find professional teachers, non-formal education, and even just interlocutors.

While training is very inexpensive, for example, you can find Chinese and Japanese courses Skype for $ 5 per hour. If it still seems to you that one day of training is too short to start communicating with a native speaker, think that communication through Skype does not prevent you from opening the file with the basic phrases in a foreign language that you have not yet managed to remember well.

In addition, you can use Google Translate and along the way learn the words you need in the dialogue. This is not a scam, because your goal is to learn to talk and do it well.

5. Do not waste money. The best resources are free

For the constant attention of native speakers it is worth paying, but, as you can see, the courses are worth a penny. As for the other facets of the training, it is not clear why pay hundreds of dollars if all this can be obtained for free. On Duolingo There are great free courses in different languages.

Here everything is presented in a game style, so it will be more interesting to learn the language. If you already know English and want to learn some other language, a number of free courses provide FSI и Omniglot. On BBC languages You can learn the basic phrases of more 40 languages, and on the site in section Languages There is information about specific aspects of different languages.

With the help of the service Interpals you can find a correspondent from another country, and on My Language Excharge You can find a person who also wants to learn the language, and correspond with him in the target language. And here are some more resources to help with language learning:

  • A huge base of words with voice acting for correct pronunciation is waiting for you on Forvo;
  • in the community Rhinospike you yourself can suggest phrases and words that you want to listen to in a foreign language, and they will be voiced by native speakers;
  • If you can’t find the voice of the correct phrase, in extreme cases there is Google Translate;
  • on resource Lang 8 You will find proofreaders - native speakers who will correct your texts, and you, in turn, will correct the texts of people who are learning Russian.

As you can see, there are enough opportunities for free education, and what is better - buy lessons with a tutor or study on your own - decide for yourself. Probably for whom both.

6. Adults are better able to speak foreign languages ​​than children.

Now that you know so many resources to start learning a language, you have to deal with the biggest problem. This is not a grammar, not a vocabulary or a lack of personal resources. This is self-doubt and an incorrect assessment of its potential.

The most common misconception, followed by the phrase “I give up”, is: “I am too old to learn a foreign language and to master it well”. There is good news. One study by the University of Haifa has shown that adults are better able to learn a foreign language than children.

Unlike children, adults intuitively understand grammatical rules that have not yet been explained in foreign language lessons. In addition, there was not a single study that would prove otherwise.

With age, people do not acquire any particular hindrances to learning a foreign language, except, of course, surrounding factors. In adults, a lot of time goes to work, and you have to reduce training hours.

In addition, no one will give the child to quit a foreign language course if the parents have written him there. In adults, there is no such restriction, and they often give up. So, we found out three good news for those who want to become a polyglot:

To quickly learn a foreign language, you do not need money, travel or return to childhood.

As many as three excuses no longer work.

7. Enrich your vocabulary with mnemonics

Mechanical repetition is not enough. Although numerous repetitions can literally burn out a word in your memory, you can still forget it. In addition, there are words that do not want to be remembered, despite constant repetition.

For such "stubborn" words you can use mnemonics - the art of memorization. You come up with some short funny story about the right word for yourself and with the help of associations you remember it firmly.

You can invent yourself or use special resources, for example On this resource, users come up with different stories for easier learning of languages ​​and sciences. You can freely use ready-made stories and create your own.

8. Love your mistakes

About half of the world's population knows more than one language. This means that monolingualism is a cultural merit, not biological factors. It turns out that if adults are defeated in learning foreign languages, the reason is not genetics. The real reason is that their training system is faulty.

The traditional system of teaching foreign languages ​​is similar to all other academic disciplines. The difference between your mother tongue and the language you are going to learn is represented as a combination of grammar rules and rules for writing words that you need to memorize.

When you learn all the rules, you will know the language. It sounds logical, right? The problem is that you can't really “learn” a language, you just start using it. This is not a thing that you know or do not know, it is a means of interaction between people.

Languages ​​do not acquire to keep them for themselves - languages ​​need to be used. And when you begin to learn a language, it is important to immediately begin to communicate, while it is clumsy, with an accent, using the poor vocabulary that you have already acquired.

Of course, you can postpone conversations with foreigners until you can say the phrase “Sorry, please, could you generously tell me where the nearest restroom is located?”, But “Can you tell me where the toilet is?” information, only without unnecessary frills.

You will be forgiven for straightforwardness, you only learn a foreign language, and everyone treats with understanding. Do not think that native speakers will be angry with you for having the nerve to speak with them in their native language so clumsily.

The best thing you can do is not try to speak perfectly. Instead, love your mistakes. When you learn something, you constantly make mistakes. You practice, improve your knowledge and go forward.

9. Create reasonable goals

Another mistake most approaches to the study of foreign languages ​​- the lack of a specific and reasonable goal. For example, if you decided to learn English from the new year, when you find out that you have achieved your goal, “learned” it? Goals like this bring only infinite chagrin, something like: "I am not ready yet, I have not learned ALL the language."

Reasonable goals have five required characteristics: defined, measurable, achievable, relevant and time limited. To begin to pursue your intelligent goal of learning languages, it is advisable to become familiar with European classification by levels of ownership.

This will help you set a specific goal and track your progress. Now many schools for the study of European languages ​​have introduced the same classification, so perhaps many of you are familiar with it. A - beginner (beginner), B - intermediate (intermediate) and C - advanced (advanced).

And in each level there are two more divisions - weak (1 lower) and increased (2 upper). For example, a newcomer who has advanced in learning a language is A2, and a weak advanced is C1. And most importantly, all these levels are easily determined with the help of tests.

Official educational institutions can test you and issue a diploma on the level of language skills. Such tests can be passed on English language, German, French, spanish, Irish And other official european languages.

Although this classification is not accepted for Asian languages, you can still pass similar tests for Chinese и Japanese languages. So what will you strive for? And what do the words “possession” and “perfect possession” mean for you if you translate them into real levels?

As a rule, "ownership" begins with a higher average level (upper intermediate, B2). This means that in social situations you can speak the same as in your own language. You will be able to talk with a friend in a bar, ask a person how he spent the weekend, and talk about his aspirations and relationships with people.

Of course, this is not the level of language in which you can conduct professional activities. For this you need a higher level - С2 (increased advanced). But you will not work in all the languages ​​that you learn?

To make your goal reachable, lower your requests.. For example, if you work in English, aspire to the С2 level, and learn German, French and Spanish only to the B2 level, which is enough to talk, read, watch movies and broadcasts in these languages.

If, while learning a language, you focus on the conversational language (perhaps also reading), you can fluently master the language in a few months. And finally, to make your goal time limited, it’s better to set yourself a few months limit.

Three to four months to get a new level is the perfect time. Tie the end of the goal to some event that will be relatively soon, for example summer holiday, your birthday, arrival of guests, etc. To track your progress, you can use special applications, for example Lift. But the selection of goals for those who learn languages.

10. From colloquial (B1) to perfect possession (С2)

To constantly improve your level of spoken language and learn to speak fluently in just 3 a month, you need to train constantly. At least an hour a day, you should speak a foreign language, and it is advisable to choose different topics in order to learn more and more new words that are used in the conversation.

For example, you can begin daily workouts by asking the other person how he spent the day and talking about his events. Then go on to discuss what you have been told, talk about your thoughts and opinions. Talk about your hobbies, about your aspirations and goals, what you don't like, about how you are going to spend your vacation, etc.

Switching from B1 to B2 in a short time is quite difficult, and you will make a lot of mistakes. But, as mentioned earlier, mistakes are your progress and progress. After regular training in speaking, you will begin to better understand the grammatical rules. However, this approach does not work with everyone: it is more convenient for some to learn grammar from the very beginning of learning.

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When you go to the B2 level, real fun begins. You can already get a full-fledged high from communicating with native speakers. But in order to jump to the next levels, there are few conversations.

You will have to read newspapers, professional blog posts and other articles that you wouldn’t call “easy reading.” You can train yourself every morning to read news from well-known foreign newspapers, and it is advisable to take topics from different categories.

Achieving perfect language proficiency (C2) is even harder. If you take an exam for this level and fail it, pay attention to your mistakes. For example, if you have passed the spoken language and grammar, but ruined the hearing, it is clear what to look for in the future. Your workouts should include listening to foreign radio stations, interviews, and other audio materials.

11. Learn to speak without an accent

At the C2 level, you know the language as well as the speaker, but you can still have an accent, and you can make some mistakes. It is less dependent on your level and more on two factors.

1 factor. Your accent and intonation

The emphasis is obvious. If you cannot correctly pronounce “r” in English, any native speaker will recognize a foreigner in you. You are not used to making such sounds, and the muscles of the tongue are not properly developed. But it can be changed: good video on YouTube with a detailed description of the pronunciation will help get rid of the accent.

Intonation is much more important, although it is often missed. Step, rise, fall and accents in words. To make your speech look like the speech of native speakers, from the very beginning you can follow the musicality and rhythm of speech and try to copy them. You can practice copying intonation on a special resource. The mimic method.

2 factor. Social and cultural integration

No matter how well you know a foreign language, people of other nationalities do not recognize you as their own. You may not even speak your native language, and you will have to use either Russian or English (assuming that you have learned another language, it will be a little insulting).

And the point here is not even that you are not similar to the inhabitants of this country externally, - to a greater degree you are not similar in behavior. You dress differently, behave differently, walk, gesticulate, hold hands - everything is not like foreigners do.

What to do? As with intonation, you can simply copy the behavior. Watch people, pay attention to all the features of behavior, and you will notice differences very soon. If you copy behavior, pace of speech, gestures and other factors, foreigners will begin to talk to you in their own language.

12. Become a polyglot

If your goal is to learn several languages, you can start learning everything at once, but it is better to stop at one until you reach at least an average level and can confidently speak it. Only then proceed to the next language.

Despite the fact that you can achieve significant success in a few months, in order to speak a learned language for the rest of your life, you need to constantly practice and improve your skills. But there is good news: if you learn to speak fluently in a foreign language, he will stay with you for a long time.

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