6. Fluent fast – Local TV, movies, music
You may struggle when trying to read words in your new language, but watching the subtitles on music videos and trying to sing along will help you learn new words and pronounce them more accurately.
TV Shows, Movies and music are invaluable language learning tools.
7. Fluent fast – Non-verbal cues
Beyond words, observe locals when they talk. Body language is important, as well as appropriate and inappropriate hand gestures. Learning to understand the Indian head bobble while learning Hindi or bowing while studying Japanese, combining body language with a new tongue helps you communicate better.
8. Fluent fast – Get emotional!
Emotive experiences often etch impressions onto our memory. Make full use of embarrassing / funny / angry experiences by linking them to the new language.
As a child, when playing with friends and counting in Spanish for hide and seek, I mispronounced the number “veinte.” I don’t even remember how I mispronounced the word, but I remember all my friends laughing at me, and I know the correct pronunciation of all my Spanish numbers now. Make full use of embarrassing / funny / angry experiences by linking them to the new language.
Needless to say, the embarrassment helped correct my pronunciation for good! Similarly, negotiating with shady cab drivers or nasty vendors also helps you learn numbers rather quickly so you don’t get ripped off.
9. Fluent fast – Start with friends, then branch out.
While individual classes can be highly beneficial for unsurpassed attention, group classes with friends can greatly aid learning. Having a friend to practice with helps you get better, and you can also learn from the different mistakes different people make.
On the other hand, venturing out solo in a foreign country forces you to speak with local people–say the person riding next to you on the bus, or standing in line at the market. It also prevents you relying on a friend with stronger language skills to do the talking for you in key exchanges such as asking for directions or buying food.
10. Practice at every opportunity before and after you travel.
Ever felt really “rusty” and lacking confidence in a language despite having taken classes or used it (or even mastered it) at some other time in your life? Languages are alive and require exercise. Find avenues to practice wherever and whenever you can.