Language learning need not be difficult or particularly complicated. There are numerous YouTube videos and thousands of articles on learning languages so why one more?
Well, I believe I’ve cracked the process and if it resonates with you I believe you’ll get a tremendous amount of value out of it.
First off, it must be said that this process is intensive and it is intended to be so. You’re busy, I’m busy and the brain really responds well to extreme focus for a defined period of time.
All you need is a foreign language audio and preferably a translated text. Your goal is to distance yourself from the English as soon as possible to prevent interference and to start thinking in the target language instead.
Given that, let’s look at the bulk of the method I have been trialing and enjoying with French:
- Choose an audio program that is not too far above your level
- Listen to the audio twice (at least)
- Listen to it one more time and this time transcribe what you hear. This is not a translation, you simply start and stop the audio as you need to and write down what’s being said.
- Check your transcription and distill the new language structures, vocabulary and phrases by writing them down. Pay particular attention to any transcription mistakes.
- Listen to the audio again but this time shadow the text to solidify the learning. Shadowing is simply repeating along with the audio as closely as possible.
This process usually takes up an hour, but it can be condensed, especially if the audio isn’t too long or difficult.
The strength of this process is that it hits so many inputs and outputs that learning is multifaceted and extensive. The focus on listening intently early on helps with comprehension and input. At step 4 you analyse the text and pick up on all the details.
Step 5 is training your linguistic acuity and stretching your brain’s ability to track what you’re hearing. It trains output and builds even more synaptic connections to the language.
The main reason this is so effective? It mirrors natural learning by focusing on listening and assimilation first and the mimicry later. You already engaged with this process in learning your mother tongue.
Important point – step 3 can be safely done once. In subsequent days focus more on steps 2, 4 and 5, putting in as many repetitions of listening and shadowing as possible.
Give this process a try and I guarantee you’ll be excited by your progress. If you did nothing else this simple process will take you a long way towards fluency in your target language.