10 Scientifically Proven Best Ways To Learn A Language - languagelearningdiy.com

Written by Dr. Nigel Ong in Learn Language

Employing scientifically-backed strategies, from immersing oneself in targeted sounds to using technology and innovative learning techniques, can transform the language-learning journey.

Whether you’re deciphering Arabic’s unique sounds or speaking Spanish with gusto, tapping into the right methods—such as pre-bedtime learning, spaced repetition, or engaging flashcards—can accelerate proficiency.

Read More: Learn Chinese In 5 Minutes [18 Ways]

Dive into these proven tactics and discover the optimal path to language fluency. Here are 10 scientifically proven best ways to learn a language.

What Are The Best Ways To Learn A Language Fast?

Strategy/MethodKey Insights
Learn Pronunciation FirstNative speakers or apps can aid in correct pronunciation. Awareness of tricky sounds is essential.
Pre-Bed Time LearningMemory boost from sleep, enhanced retention, focused learning environment, spaced repetition, and relaxation through cultural immersion.
Spaced Repetition TechniqueOptimal for vocabulary and grammar. Apps like Anki utilize this. Reinforce grammar rules through strategic intervals.
Pomodoro TechniqueShort, intense study bursts improve vocabulary and grammar absorption. This strategy enhances fluency and understanding.
Practice SpeakingActive conversation integrates grammar, punctuation, pronunciation, and vocabulary. Real-time speaking enhances fluency and understanding of culture.
Home ImmersionUse apps like Babbel and Duolingo. Incorporate foreign movies, music, podcasts, daily vocabulary, labels, and reading/writing exercises for daily engagement.
FlashcardsEfficient for vocabulary. Incorporate definitions, context, grammar, and visual aids. Handwritten cards are preferable.
Approach to GrammarSpaced repetition aids in grammar retention. Apps like Duolingo and Memrise are helpful. Language exchange sessions also improve grammar understanding. Experiment to find the best learning method.
Accountability PartnerSharing goals with someone increases commitment. Ideal partners are honest, reliable, and share similar language goals. Platforms like italki and LingQ can help find partners.
Language Learning AppsCommit daily, engage with multi-sensory apps, speak out loud, monitor progress, immerse by changing device settings, and use multiple apps for a holistic approach.

Focus on Learning the Pronunciation First

One common oversight among language learners is placing emphasis on learning grammar rules or new vocabulary, while sidelining pronunciation.

In reality, pronunciation is a foundation stone and should be tackled early on. Mispronouncing a new word can lead to bad habits, which then become hard to unlearn.

The golden ticket to sound proficiency might just be spending time with a native language teacher. However, if you cannot find a native speaker, use language learning apps that focus on pronunciation.

For example, when learning a foreign language like Mandarin Chinese, certain sounds are unique. A native speaker can pinpoint these nuances, guiding your language acquisition on the right track.

The science of language highlights the importance of awareness in language learning. By being cognizant of the “danger sounds” or tricky pronunciations in the language you’re learning, you become more likely to catch and correct yourself.

Some language experts suggest recording oneself as an effective learning method. By comparing your pronunciation with that of a native, you inch closer to perfecting the language quickly.

Remember, while language apps like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone can bolster your language skills, nothing beats the nuanced feedback from a fluent speaker of the target language.

Use Your Pre-Bed Time

You may be surprised to see this, but learning a language just before bedtime is increasingly recognized as a beneficial strategy for language acquisition. Here’s why:

  1. Memory Boost: Sleep is essential for memory consolidation. If you’re keen to learn a new language or improve your proficiency, introducing language study right before bedtime can maximize your brain’s natural process to strengthen the neural connections, especially for new vocabulary and intricate grammar rules.
  2. Enhanced Retention: One study suggests that learners who engage in language learning just before sleep retain information more effectively. This is especially beneficial when grappling with foreign language nuances.
  3. Focused Learning: Bedtime provides a serene environment, perfect for learners who want to learn without distractions. Whether you’re diving into a language class, using language learning apps, or simply reading through another language’s text, nighttime could be your best way to learn.
  4. Spaced Repetition: This scientifically proven method, which involves reviewing information at periodic intervals, is a powerful tool for language learners. When combined with bedtime study, it can improve language skills drastically.
  5. Relaxation & Culture Immersion: Listening to the sounds of another language, be it through a language exchange or apps like popular language platforms, can be soothing. It not only eases you into sleep but also immerses you into the language and culture, enhancing your language journey.

Use the “Spaced Repetition” Technique

Language experts agree that one of the best ways to learn vocabulary and improve language skills is through spaced repetition, a method backed by science that optimizes the intervals at which you review previously learned content.

Imagine you’ve just started learning Spanish. Upon encountering a new word, say “biblioteca” (library), instead of cramming, you’d introduce this word multiple times in increasing intervals.

This way, you’re more likely to retain it long-term. Apps like Anki and other language learning apps employ this technique, making language acquisition efficient.

When adults learn a language as an adult, they might be intimidated by grammar rules. Instead of getting bogged down, using spaced repetition to revisit these grammar rules helps in better language retention.

For instance, if you struggle with the past tense, reintroduce it at strategic intervals to reinforce your understanding.

After learning new vocabulary or grammar, use spaced repetition to review before the next language exchange session. This not only boosts your proficiency but ensures that the language you’re learning sticks.

Use Pomodoro Technique To Learn Language Fast

For those eager to learn a language fast, studying in sprints, such as Pomodoro technique has been recognized as one of the best ways.

The science of language acquisition suggests that our brains are wired to absorb new vocabulary and grammar rules more effectively in short, intense bursts.

Such a method is especially beneficial for adults learning a language. Instead of traditional, prolonged language study sessions, breaking your language journey into focused intervals can significantly improve language skills.

This approach, backed by science, aligns with how many language learning apps operate. These apps, like those employing spaced repetition, encourage learners to tackle language learning in chunks, ensuring they don’t cram.

One study even showcased that language learners who adopted this strategy could reach a proficient level faster, solidifying its position as a scientifically proven best way to learn a foreign language.

Moreover, these sprints offer learners a chance to frequently revisit and practice their target language, enhancing fluency. So, if you’re in a language class or using a language exchange platform, and you want to speak the language more naturally, consider this effective way to learn.

Embrace the sprints, and you’ll be on your way to mastering the language you’re learning in no time!

Practice speaking – even at lower levels

For many eager to learn a language fast, the key might lie not just in attending a language class or relying solely on language learning apps. One study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests that the best way to learn is by speaking it.

By engaging in conversation, language learners actively assimilate their acquired knowledge, integrating:

  • Grammar,
  • Punctuation,
  • Pronunciation, and
  • Vocabulary

This isn’t just about pronunciation or memorizing new vocabulary; it’s about the holistic experience of using every linguistic element in real-time.

Active conversation practice stands out as one of the best ways to solidify language acquisition. As learners converse, they not only improve their language skills but also strengthen the connection between different linguistic elements, enhancing their fluency.

Moreover, being in an actual conversation helps in understanding the culture behind the language you’re learning. For those truly interested in learning, listening becomes equally vital, as it’s not just about comprehension but showing genuine interest in the language and culture.

In essence, if you want to learn a foreign language effectively, it’s time to start talking. After all, as Confucius wisely put it, “I do and I understand.”

Create a “Home Immersion” Situation

Crafting a language-rich environment at home can propel your language learning journey. One of the best ways to dive deep into a foreign language is to utilize online resources like Babbel, or Duolingo. These apps facilitate learning, especially for adults learning a language as an adult.

But don’t just rely on language learning apps. Spice up your learning methods by:

  • Hosting a weekly foreign movie night, using platforms such as Netflix or Hulu.
  • Listening to music and podcasts in your target language, available on Spotify and YouTube, can improve language skills and pronunciation. You can also do this while driving.
  • Incorporating new vocabulary daily. For this, tools like Vocabulary.com or Toucan come handy. A
  • Transforming your living space: label household items in your target language to help you learn vocabulary.
  • Delve into books or online articles in the language you’re learning, and practice out loud to master pronunciation and fluency.
  • Pen down your thoughts, shopping lists, or even recipes in your chosen language, creating a tangible testament of your language journey.

These not only enlivens your space but reinforces language acquisition, as you will be engaging with the target language everyday.

Try Using Flashcards For New Words

In the dynamic realm of language learning strategies, flashcards stand out as one of the best ways to learn new vocabulary. Flashcards aren’t just for cramming. When utilized aptly, they revolutionize the way language learners acquire and remember new words in a foreign language.

Picture this: a card with the word “mitigate” on one side and its definition, word family, and a sample sentence on the other.

This holistic approach aids in language acquisition, as learners aren’t just memorizing words, but understanding their context, grammar rules, and usage.

A visual representation, like a drawing, can also be included for those who are visual learners, enhancing the retention of the word’s meaning.

For optimal results, consider creating around 20 flashcards a week to avoid overwhelming oneself. Handwritten cards are preferred over digital versions, as the act of writing can improve language skills and memory retention.

If you’re learning a language or aiming to achieve fluency, flashcards are a scientifically proven method to hasten your language journey.

Take a New Approach to Grammar

If you’ve embarked on the quest to learn a language, understanding grammar is essential.

One of the best ways to gain fluency is to immerse yourself in the language you’re learning, including studying the grammar. Science has highlighted the importance of spaced repetition in language acquisition.

Rather than cramming, consider regularly revisiting grammar rules and vocabulary. This method ensures long-term retention and proficiency.

Using language learning apps like Duolingo or Memrise can expedite your language journey. These apps are backed by science and incorporate effective learning methods to help you grasp the grammar of a foreign language faster.

A study also showed that language learners who engage in language exchange partner sessions improve their grammar understanding significantly. Such interactions mimic real-life scenarios, aiding you to master a language of your choice.

There are so much more ways to improve your grammar skills of your target language, without having to sit through hours and hours of grammar lessons and lectures in language classrooms. The key is to experiment around, and find your best way to learn.

Have An Accountability Partner

In the realm of language learning, one innovative method stands out: the use of accountability partners. These partners are individuals who help learners stay on track with their language goals, and the concept has grown in popularity due to its effectiveness.

The premise is simple: by sharing your goals with someone else, you’re more likely to remain committed to learning the foreign language.

The ideal accountability partner doesn’t let you off the hook if you stray from your learning goals. They’re honest, reliable, and even better if they share a language journey similar to yours.

For example, if you’re learning Spanish, partnering with someone striving to master the same language can be an asset. Both of you can exchange new vocabulary, delve into grammar rules, and practice pronunciation together.

Platforms like italki or LingQ offer bustling communities where language learners can find potential partners.

Having a shared check-in schedule with your accountability partner, whether it’s a weekly video call or a daily messaging thread, helps in keeping the momentum going.

This setup has been backed by science as an effective way to learn, as it taps into our innate need for social accountability.

So, if you want to learn a language fast, finding an accountability partner might be one of the best ways to boost your fluency quickly.

Use Language Learning Apps

Language learning apps are one of the best ways for language learners to master a new language. Here’s how to make the most of them:

  1. Select the Right Tool: Each language learning app caters to different learning methods. For acquiring new vocabulary and understanding grammar rules, consider apps like Duolingo. For a direct language exchange with native speakers, platforms like HelloTalk are invaluable.
  2. Commit Daily: For effective learning, consistency is paramount. Dedicate time each day to your language journey, even if brief. Regular exposure is what’s the best way to reinforce what you’ve learned.
  3. Engage Holistically: Opt for apps that offer auditory, visual, and tactile experiences. Multi-sensory engagement aids language acquisition and helps adults learn languages effectively.
  4. Speak Out Loud: Apps with voice recognition can correct pronunciation, pushing you closer to fluency. The science of language suggests that speaking accelerates learning.
  5. Monitor Your Progress: Many apps provide trackers to monitor language skills. This feature, backed by science, motivates learners and identifies areas for improvement.
  6. Full Immersion: Alter your device’s language settings to immerse in the language you’re learning.
  7. Combine Multiple Apps: Learning grammar, speaking the language, and understanding the culture requires a blend of tools. Use a combination of apps to approach language from various angles.

With these strategies, not only will you learn a language fast but also embark on a rich language and culture adventure. There are so many language learning apps to choose from – spend time to try and see which one works with you best.

Wrapping Up: Language Learning Is Not Rocket Science

Harnessing the power of scientifically-backed methodologies, including immersive listening and spaced repetition, can make the difference between merely knowing a language and truly mastering it.

With tools ranging from targeted bedtime sessions to multifaceted language apps, learners are empowered to approach language acquisition more holistically. The art and science of language learning intertwine, emphasizing the importance of diverse strategies.

In conclusion, achieving fluency is not just about accumulating vocabulary or understanding grammar, but about embracing a myriad of techniques tailored to individual needs and goals. Good luck!