Learning Languages

Quick Tips for Achieving Fluency* in a Foreign Language

*When I say “fluency,” I don’t mean that fluency is equivalent to speaking like a native speaker or even the ability to speak about every topic flawlessly. “Fluency” means you’re able to use the language without translating–can receive and transfer information. You can express yourself to some extent and are able to navigate in the country where the language is spoken. I perceive basic fluency as a higher intermediate level.

 

To achieve fluency, you need a lot of exposure to the language and you also need to do a lot of practicing. Here are some tips that can speed up the language-learning process and will help you speak the language better in a shorter amount of time:

 

~Tips for Fluency~

  • Take a class in your target language without relying on your native language- the teacher speaks only the target language, you answer only in the target language even if you struggle in the beginning and the textbook is written for learners according to their level but in the target language.

 

  • Quality over quantity: mastery of 25 words is better than 100 unknown words. Slow down and focus on truly grasping a topic. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat-even entire phrases and sentences.

 

  • Speak to yourself (in the car or shower for example) and find unknown words that you can later translate. This way, you build your vocabulary and prepare yourself for speaking with other people.

 

 

 

 

 

  •  Travel abroad to the country where your target language is the official language (but don’t expect to learn it without practicing and going out–step out of your comfort zone!)

 

  • Watch YouTube videos of native speakers speaking your target language (self-dialogue) for 30 minutes to an hour daily.

 

  • Consistently read and listen to the language.

 

  • Learn poems and songs by heart (you can recite to friends for fun, enjoy your favorite songs and remember vocabulary deeply.)

 

  • Have a language-learning notebook and write everything you hear, read and learn about the language.

 

  • Take advantage of online language exchanges (or even meet-ups in person) to practice everyday conversation and to receive corrections plus make international friends (learn authentic language, idioms and cultural information.)

 

 

 

 

 

  • Set your phone in the target language.

 

  • Think to yourself in the language (first in basic words; second- simple sentences; third, sentences like you would in your native language about perceiving what’s around you and describing your emotions.)

 

  • Write to yourself in the language too.

 

  • Use a variety of textbooks and grammar books.

 

  • Record yourself speaking (you can correct pronunciation, vocab and grammar plus improve fluency and see if you need to learn some new words; you can also compare your speech to natives by listening to both closely.)

 

  • Read aloud daily to improve your accent and expand your vocabulary/review grammar (without “trying”); do this for 15 minutes daily to gain pronunciation stability by activating new mechanics in speech organs, removing obstacles and overall making pronunciation easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Have three long conversations with natives about topics you don’t know well.

 

  • Make a video talking about something in the target language for at least 5 minutes.

 

  • Focus on specifics–memorizing a grammar table, using flash cards… What do you still need to learn to be able to express yourself in the language? What are your trouble areas?

 

 

  • When you are doubting your progress, refer to your reasons for learning the language and decide how fluency in your target language will benefit you, so that you know what goals you need to achieve =)

 

 

Hope it helped! Click here for more language learning tips: Language Learners‘ Toolbox

~Stephanie F.

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