When we’re not hiking and tapping into Sedona’s energy, we’re guiding to amazing places around the world. If you’re going to become a global adventurer, it helps to speak a language. Unfortunately, most people experience language-learner as a boring task with little reward. Stuck with textbooks and unable to practice these skills outside of a classroom, no wonder it’s a chore.
Instead, it is better to see language-learning as an adventure to be taken step-by-step. Achieving small victories along the way helps people take on the task, and stick to it. As a multilingual speaker, here are three tips that have enabled me to learn languages quickly.
First, just say “Yes.” This isn’t an exhortation to focus on the positive, but a better way to engage conversations. Linguistic statistics say the simplest way to stay in a conversation is to answer, “Yes,” when in doubt. Over 90% of the time, saying “yes” will be interpreted as an appropriate answer. More importantly, it keeps the conversation going. This gives you more time to keep listening to the other speaker, boosting your chances of understand what’s being spoken about! Make the first word you learn, “yes,” and use it often.
Second, learn the words that matter most. Any language will offer several thousand words of potential vocabulary. Yet 500 words will commonly make up over 85% of conversational dialogue. Five thousand words make take a decade to learn, but learning 20 words a day, you can grasp most of the words ever spoken in less than a month. Use your mental RAM effectively, but searching and learning your target language’s make common vocabulary.
Third, buy time by borrowing. Because new speakers need more time to process what’s being said, techniques that help us stall for time as extremely valuable. One of the easiest is to respond to any question by utilizing the words used by the questioner. In English, if you were asked, “What do you think about the education system?” you might simply reply with your opinion. In a foreign language, “borrow” the speaker’s own words to begin your sentence. “About the education system…I think..” and then, add whatever you like to say. It’s just a few extra seconds, but it keeps you in the game longer. That gives you time to figure out what has been asked, and what you’d like to say in response.
Stay tuned for more tips for global adventurers – especially in learning a language quickly – to come.