How to learn to speak a foreign language
How to learn to speak a foreign language

I speak eight languages fluently and know a few more fairly well. Thanks to this, I do not experience discomfort when traveling around the world and very easily make new acquaintances.

When I was 21, the only language I knew was English. At school, the foreigner somehow didn’t go straight away and I gave up on this matter. And after a while I thought it was too late to start. Now, seven years later, I speak eight languages fluently and know quite a few more. Thanks to this, I do not experience discomfort when traveling around the world and very easily make new acquaintances.

This was not the result of cramming or pouring huge amounts of money into any programs or courses. I just adhered to a certain strategy, which I will discuss next.

The right approach to learning

Many are amazed at my belief that absolutely anyone can learn to speak a foreign language cheerfully in just a few months. Considering the fact that most of us have barely learned how to put words into sentences in a few years of school, my statement sounds more than optimistic.

Let's see how the language is taught in schools? A couple of hours of theory a week, homework that is not interesting to anyone, studying only what will allow you to pass the upcoming exam. In five years, it is unlikely that there will be at least several weeks of continuous work with a foreign language.

How to do everything, have more time and more rest?
How to do everything, have more time and more rest?

When I arrived in Budapest, I had no idea about the local language. However, just two months later, I was interviewed entirely in Hungarian. At the same time, I am no smarter or more talented than any of you, I am just very determined and persistent in achieving my goals.

You don't need to devote all your free time to learning a language, but you should spend at least one hour a day on it, ideally even more. In this case, the main emphasis should be on its practical use.

Only a real interest in success brings results. If you just "want" to speak a foreign language, you will never learn it. Who wouldn't want that? To make significant progress, you need to turn your desire into a necessity.

There is only one way to make your success inevitable: you have to start talking. Right now.

Stop learning the language - start speaking it

If I were asked to define the differences between those who learned to speak a foreign language fluently and those who did not, I would say that the first to apply the language in practice in real life situations. Not to take exams, not to listen to podcasts or read books, but to communicate with real people. I am making this claim based on numerous observations.

If your goal is to be able to read quickly or understand perfectly what is being said on the radio, great. Then all you have to do is read and listen to what the announcers have to say.

What habits to change to change your life?
What habits to change to change your life?

However, to learn to speak fluently, you need to speak. The bigger, the better. Communication is indispensable, and this is the whole essence of what I am trying to convey to you.

Seriously, stop wasting so much time on theory! In reality, the language is not the same as in the textbooks, and even if you make mistakes, you will not fail the exam. Just start talking to foreigners and you will immediately see significant progress.

I assure you, if you start speaking as best you can, you may be wrong, but native speakers or fluent speakers will not be offended at all because of this. Many of them will even be pleased to correct you, suggest what your mistake is. And when you see that you are understood, the language barrier will be broken.

Through practice, stable connections will arise in your head that are relevant to various life situations. You will never achieve the same lasting effect by studying abstract theory in any, even the most advanced, courses.

Don't wait for the end of the course - take matters into your own hands

What is lacking in numerous courses is that, no matter how intensively you teach, you study according to a given program, without real life situations, and therefore it is so difficult to achieve any real effect.

I know people who adore dictionaries, they know an incredible amount of rare words and can thoroughly explain the rules of grammar. Nor do they feel prepared enough to start talking.

How to quickly master any skill?
How to quickly master any skill?

I lived with one of these types in Spain. If you made the two of us take exams, he would give me a decent head start. Despite this, it is much easier to communicate with me than with my friend (the Spaniards told me in secret about this). I don’t think too much about how it would be more correct, but simply speak.

People who focus on perfect speech without mistakes will always need additional hours of study before they think they will be "ready." There are seven days in a week, but none of them will ever be the same when they are "ready." Believe me.

People who know little theory, but who have rich practice behind them, will always make any academician. It's not about any special talents, it's just that they once opened their mouths and began to use a foreign language.

Language means communication. If you see it as a vocabulary to learn, or grammar rules to remember, you are greatly mistaken.

Once you start using the target language in practice, your speaking skills improve dramatically. It will not be easy, you cannot do without a stage when there will be many mistakes, but take it as inevitable. As soon as you start talking, your mistakes will begin to disappear at a terrible speed.

You don't have to go somewhere to learn a language

How do you find the motivation to do something?
How do you find the motivation to do something?

Instead of downloading gigabytes of podcasts or paying for language courses, meet ordinary people and use the language in practice. Here's where you can try to find such people:

you can meet foreigners in cafes near hotels, in bookstores near the section "Russian for Foreigners". Of course, the network is full of sites that specialize in finding partners for communication;

you can close up as a couchsurfer. The idea behind couchsurfing is to provide overnight accommodation for residents of other countries free of charge. Select the travelers that suit you (well, you understand by what criterion). To do this, you will have to register at There is also an opportunity to search for people in your city who speak the required language;

you can try to find yourself an interlocutor for communication on Skype. Now the Internet is full of free services for this.

All of the above can be done right where you live. Find people who are native speakers of the language you are learning, gather like-minded people to practice with them, and arrange meetings. It won't be easy at first, but you need to be persistent since you are determined to be successful.

The only reason why learning a language abroad can be more effective is the inevitability of using the language in practice.

But many of those who live abroad for a long time manage to avoid communication in a foreign language. I once met a friend who had lived in Prague for ten years and, nevertheless, did not speak Czech at all. He found a suitable job for himself and surrounded people who speak his native language and everything suits him. It's funny that his children are fluent in Czech.

How to stop being naive?
How to stop being naive?

If he was able to organize this in a foreign country, then why don't we do the same in his hometown? There is no need to completely abandon your native language (for most it is simply unrealistic because of work, family, friends), just gather people around you, among whom everything, whatever you do, will be aimed at improving the language.

A positive attitude is the key to success

No matter what language I learn, I always think my glass is half full. In response to the title of this article, you could list the reasons why learning a given language can be a daunting task, but this approach would provide you with a ton of excuses why you shouldn't even take it. Excuses are a great evil.

I recommend maintaining a positive attitude during contacts with a foreign language. It will be easier.

A positive attitude will fuel your confidence in speaking correctly and prevent any internal obstacles from arising. When you see that people understand you, there will be a positive feedback “took a chance - got a good result”. Before you can blink an eye, you will gain self-confidence. And if you are as focused as possible during class, then the study will go even faster.

So stop listening to how others have learned to speak fluently, stop reading about it and stop getting deeper into theory and dreaming about “that very day when” … Time to go and start talking!

How do others see me? How to change your opinion about yourself?
How do others see me? How to change your opinion about yourself?

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