August 18, 2017

Language Learning Techniques

People successfully learn foreign languages in different ways. Therefore, I believe everyone should spend time figuring out which language learning techniques work best for them. The time spent figuring out which method works for you can be significantly shortened by paying attention to what experts say on the subject.

The books below introduce a wide range of ideas about how to go about language learning. I have drawn considerably from these books as I try to devise what works best for me. My strategy has been to combine elements from various techniques to create an approach that works for me.

If you are looking for sound ideas on how to get started learning a foreign language and successfully move on to fluency, I encourage you to look at the ideas and methods successful language learners have been using and integrate them into your own system of learning. You will be surprised at the difference these ideas can make in your language learning experience.


Fluent ForeverFluent Forever was written by Gabriel Wyner, an opera singer and trained engineer, who also speaks several languages. Key parts of Wyner’s methodology involves learning correct pronunciation, avoiding translation, and effective use spaced repetition systems.
The Telenovela MethodThe Telenovela Method.  This book offers great tips on how to learn Spanish for free by using the vast amount of online resources that are available on the web.  Such resources include TV shows, songs, movies, books, online courses, etc. I am a great fan of this book as I too have been using a similar approach to learn Spanish. This book also has lots of good links to resources for learning Spanish.
El idioma es musica. Diviértase y aprenda idiomas con facilidad. Escuche música y programas de radio, vea televisión, asista a eventos culturales, hable con otras personas y en general disfrute del proceso de aprender otro idioma. No tiene que pasarse el día estudiando conjugaciones de verbos ni sufrir pesadillas con su profesor atizándole con una estaca por sus errores de pronunciación. Aprenda idiomas de forma económica. Los consejos gratuitos y económicos, así como los más de 90 recursos de Internet, le permitirán aprender idiomas sin tener que gastar dinero en boletos de avión, profesores y programas intensivos.
Fluent in 3 Months. This book was written by Benny Lewis, the Irish polygon who is well known for emphasizing speaking from the start of your language journey. In the book, Benny elaborates on this idea. There are also lots of tips gleamed from studying various languages. The book also has many useful ideas for intermediate language learners including how to study grammar and how to use media like books and TV.
How to Learn a Foreign Language. If learning a language in high school left you bruised, with a sense that there was no way you can learn another language, “How to Learn a Foreign Language” will restore your sense of hope. In simple, straightforward terms, this book will help you learn grammar and vocabulary, and how to practice pronunciation.
Fluency Made Achievable.  This book was written by Kerstin Hammes, a German polyglot. Kristen discusses what it takes to learn a language including goal setting, time management and commitment to hard work. She covers the four areas that everyone knows: Listening, Reading, Speaking & Writing. She gives some good examples and recommendations. Finally, she interviewed some popular language learners out there for their perspective too. If you get a chance, check out Kerstin’s blog as she covers interesting topics all the time.


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