How to Learn Languages

English is generally the language of business but knowing how to speak other languages will stand you in good stead and you’ll be appreciated for the effort, whether it’s for work or pleasure. If you want to know how to learn languages quickly and effectively, you’ll be interested in techniques used by Gabriel Wyner, a opera singer who needed to learn four languages in the past few years.

How to Learn Languages

Want to know how to learn languages? Try some of the resources in this article.

Want to know how to learn languages to improve your communication with business colleagues from other countries? Try some of the resources in this article.

I go in four stages. The stages will take different amounts of time for different languages and depend on how much time you have available per day, naturally. The US Foreign Service Institute makes estimates for language difficulties for native English speakers, and they seem to be spot on in terms of comparative difficulty—Russian seems to be taking twice as long as French did for me, and they estimate languages like Chinese to take twice as long as Russian.

Wyner’s 4 stages include:

  1. Learn the correct pronunciation of the language.
  2. Vocabulary and grammar acquisition – no English allowed.
  3. Listening, writing, and reading work.
  4. Speech.

Read about the method in more detail here.

Another very popular method used for learning languages is Rosetta Stone — which I’ve heard from others is quite good.

You can also try www.memrise.com — a free online site.

If you know of other good online resources, please share them with us in the comment box below.

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