How to Learn a Foreign Language

Note: These guidelines should be rigorously followed, even if you are taking a language course.

Learn a Foreign Language

1) Spend the time!

By far the most important factor is how much time you are immersed in the language. The more time you spend with the language, the faster you will learn. This means listening, reading, writing, speaking, and studying words and phrases. This does not mean sitting in class looking out the window, nor listening to other students who do not speak well, nor getting explanations in your own language about how the language works. This means spending time enjoyably connected to the language you are learning.

2) Listen and read every day!

Listen wherever you are on your MP3 player. Read what you are listening to. Listen to and read things that you like, things that you can mostly understand, or even partly understand. If you keep listening and reading you will get used to the language. One hour of listening or reading is more effective than many hours of class time.

3) Focus on words and phrases!

Build up your vocabulary, you’ll need lots. Start to notice words and how they come together as phrases. Learn these words and phrases through your listening and reading. Read online, using online dictionaries, and make your own vocabulary lists for review. Soon you will run into your new words and phrases elsewhere. Gradually you will be able to use them. Do not worry about how accurately you speak until you have accumulated a plenty of words through listening and reading.

4) Take responsibility for your own learning!

If you do not want to learn the language, you won’t. If you do want to learn the language, take control. Choose content of interest, that you want to listen to and read. Seek out the words and phrases that you need to understand your listening and reading. Do not wait for someone else to show you the language, nor to tell you what to do. Discover the language by yourself, like a child growing up. Talk when you feel like it. Write when you feel like it. A teacher cannot teach you to become fluent, but you can learn to become fluent if you want to.

5) Relax and enjoy yourself!

Do not worry about what you cannot remember, or cannot yet understand, or cannot yet say. It does not matter. You are learning and improving. The language will gradually become clearer in your brain, but this will happen on a schedule that you cannot control. So sit back and enjoy. Just make sure you spend enough time with the language. That is the greatest guarantee of success.

Steve Kaufmann is a former Canadian diplomat, who has had his own company in the international trade of forest products for over 20 years. Steve founded The Linguist Institute Ltd. in 2002 to develop a new approach to language learning using the web. The new LingQ system for learning multiple languages is now available in Beta. Steve speaks nine languages fluently and is currently learning Russian using LingQ. Steve maintains a blog on language learning.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

16 Responses to How to Learn a Foreign Language

  1. Pingback: Want To Know What Orinda Academy Can Do For Your Child? Then Take A Look At These Links |

  2. Pingback: A Guide for Teens Learning a Foreign Language in a Private School |

  3. Pingback: پنج نکته درباره ی یادگیری یک زبان خارجی – اینفو

  4. Love Songs says:

    I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers butt
    this article iis actually a nice post, keep it up.

  5. Hello Juan, I am hoping to send to you a couple, Peter and Oksana, who are moving to Madrid the end of August. They have 4 children. He is from San Francisco and she from Moscow. I would like to get your personal email address to be able to write to you, and a phone number where they can contact you. Thanks very much. Tim Brinley (son in law of Glenn and Janice Kramar, formerly in Lima, Peru)

  6. Seeking out this kind of information helps you make better decisions. However, keep in mind that not all reviews are completely accurate. If something seems terribly skewed from the norm, based on the majority of the reviews, take the report with a grain of salt.

  7. ign xbox says:

    In fact no matter if someone doesn’t understand after
    that its up to other visitors that they will help,
    so here it takes place.

  8. I read this article completely about the comparison of hottest and preceding technologies, it’s amazinbg article.

  9. porn says:

    I do not even know how I ended up right here, but I thought this post used to be great.
    I don’t understand who you might be however definitely
    you are going to a famous blogger if you happen to
    aren’t already. Cheers!

  10. Your blog won’t render correctly on my iphone 4 – you may wanna try and repair that

  11. Pingback: پنج نکته درباره ی یادگیری یک زبان خارجی – .:مجله اینترنتی روز روشن :.

  12. Pingback: Fortnite Cheat

  13. Pingback: Want To Know What Orinda Academy Can Do For Your Child? Then Take A Look At These Links - Orinda Academy

  14. Pingback: A Guide for Teens Learning a Foreign Language in a Private School -

  15. Pingback: Another Opening, Another Show – Great college advice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.