The Secret to Learning a Foreign Language as an Adult

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Report Thread starter 6 years ago

I’ve learned several foreign languages as an adult. I was able to learn French to conversation fluency in 17 days using the following techniques. Note that I had previously learned Spanish to fluency so this was not my first foreign language.

In summer of 2005 I stayed with a French friend in a tiny village in the Beaujolais region of France. No one in the village spoke English and, since my friend knew I had an ambitious learning goal, she refused to speak to me in English as well.

I set up a routine where I did the same things every day.

In the mornings, I woke up and wrote out longhand the regular and irregular verb tables for 1.5-2 hours. I managed to get through an entire pad of paper in two weeks. I still believe that writing things out by hand is the best way to memorize things.

While I wrote, I would listen to Michel Thomas’ language learning mp3s. On the CDs you listen as he teaches French to other English speakers. It’s really helpful to hear other students make mistakes that you can learn from, just like a regular classroom environment. In two weeks I listened to the foundation, advanced and language building courses twice.

I would run for 45-60 minutes in the early afternoon in the French countryside listening to catchy French music. Music is a great way to learn the intonation of a language and train your facial muscles as you sing along.
This guy already knew Spanish, so he wasn't exactly setting himself a difficult challenge by learning French in a short period- the two are closely related, after all. However, his tips are fantastic and should be noted by anyone wanting to learn another language.
Badges: 17
Report 6 years ago
I used Michel Thomas' mp3s and did pretty much the same amount of work when I studied French A level. 17 days though? Whoa :/

I'm now studying Italian and Mandarin at uni within my English language degree. Also got onto the CELTA course and start that in Jan.

Are you a language/ linguistics student, OP? I've noticed your threads are about a lot of stuff I've covered, psycholinguistics, child language acquisition etc

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