Home Advice The Fastest Way to Learn a New Language: Mastering the Fundamentals

The Fastest Way to Learn a New Language: Mastering the Fundamentals

by Marisa Serrano

Learning a new language may seem daunting at first. But don’t worry, there’s a simple way to accelerate your progress! 

The key is to focus on the fundamentals. Whether you’re just looking to pick up a few phrases or you’re aiming to become fluent, learning the basics is extremely valuable. Familiarizing yourself with these fundamentals is a great way to start! 

Core Language Fundamentals

  • Alphabet
  • Numbers
  • Conversational words
  • Verb conjugation
  • Pronunciation

Once you’ve got these down, you’ll be surprised at how much of the language you can understand. Plus, with these tools in your belt, you’ll have everything you need to continue making rapid progress!  

Let’s take a look at how you can begin to master each of these core language components:

Learn the letters

Kick things off by familiarizing yourself with the alphabet. Especially if your new language’s alphabet looks different than the one you’re used to, it’s worthwhile to spend some time understanding the various characters and how they work together. For example, if you’re learning Japanese, you’ll want to understand the hiragana writing system and how to combine vowels and consonants. 

And even if your new language generally uses the same alphabet that you’re familiar with, there are sure to be nuances that you can dive into. For example, the sound that each letter makes is likely different, and there may be special accented characters as well. 

Along the way, it’s helpful to practice listening to the sound each letter or character makes, and saying them out loud for yourself. By mastering the building blocks of your new language, you’ll unlock the door to understanding it. Plus, this practice will speed up your progress on pronunciation!

Now onto numbers

Next, learn the numerical system in your new language. This is often one of the first things that’s covered in language learning courses, and there’s a good reason: numbers come in handy! 

To start, practice the numbers 1 through 10 until you have them down. Then, move on to 11 through 20—or for an extra challenge, familiarize yourself with 1 through 100. 

In addition to being useful in itself, this knowledge will also give you a good sense of the overall number structure in your new language. For example, once you know that 11 is “once” and 100 “ciento” in Spanish, you’ll also be able to say “ciento once” (111). And counting in French takes this one step further, since you’ll use math to communicate numbers starting at 70 (“soixante-dix” or “sixty plus ten”).

Get conversational

At this point, you’re ready for conversational words. This is where the fun really begins! Start by learning common greeting phrases, as well as typical responses to them. Knowing how to say “good morning” and answer the question “how are you?” will help you feel like a local! 

Next, you can dive into other key questions, such as: 

  • What time is it?
  • What’s the weather today? 
  • Where are you from? 
  • Can you repeat that? 
  • How do I get to the train station?
  • What’s for lunch?

Be sure to practice answering these common questions as well as asking them. Along the way, you’ll also develop an understanding of basic nouns and helpful phrases.

Time to conjugate

Next, it’s time to dive into verb conjugation. Start by learning the basic rules of conjugation in the past, present, and future. Visual aids, such as tables, can be very helpful for storing this information in your memory. 

By far the best way to truly understand and recall verb conjugations is to hear them in context and practice them yourself. Try saying common phrases in each tense, such as: 

  • I ate salmon for dinner yesterday / I’m eating a sandwich for lunch now / I will eat eggs for breakfast tomorrow
  • I went to the library yesterday / I’m going to the office right now / Tomorrow I will go to the grocery store

As you practice, don’t worry if you make mistakes—it’s all part of the learning process.

Perfect your pronunciation 

Now that you have many of the fundamentals down, it’s time to focus on proper pronunciation. One great way to do this is to listen to a native speaker and practice repeating their pronunciation. This can be done with a podcast, TV show, or with a friend!

Finding a native speaker to converse with will help you take your language learning to the next level. For example, you can start a language exchange, or use Rosetta Stone’s live tutoring sessions. Either way, the key is to receive feedback as you practice, especially regarding your pronunciation! 

How Rosetta Stone can help

Want support in learning your new language? Rosetta Stone will guide you through these fundamentals in an engaging way!

From a comprehensive alphabet dictionary to interactive stories, you’ll have everything you need to get started. And with TruAccent speech recognition, you’ll have a safe space to practice your pronunciation, complete with real-time feedback.

With Rosetta Stone, you’ll be speaking and understanding the fundamentals in no time. Get started today at www.rosettastone.com 

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