How to learn a language in two months

Thanks to the internet, accelerated globalisation, liberalisation of trade and international migration, we are closer than ever before – in a spatial sense – to different cultures and languages. As it won’t be long before we’re all communicating in Cityspeak like in Blade Runner, wouldn’t it be great to be able to accumulate a new language every couple of months?

First things first: it’s not possible. The headline was just a Daily Mail-style piece of clickbait. But! I did recently find a cool resource that facilitates the language-learning process and the Supertext blog is as good a place as any to share it. A couple of weeks ago I travelled home to England to see my brother, who has just returned from China after teaching English there for the past two years. He now speaks fluent Chinese, which I think is quite impressive. One morning I came down to the breakfast table to find him already sitting at his computer, hammering away and nodding and muttering to himself. When I asked him what he was doing, he showed me how he’d managed to learn so much Chinese vocabulary in such a short space of time:

Memrise: bite-sized learning

Featuring the slogan “learning made joyful” on its homepage, Memrise is a learning tool with content created by its community of users. You can find courses on anything from traditional Chinese to amino acids and their letter codes, and you can even create one yourself. The course that I’ve been doing, ‘Introduction to Japanese’, employs flash cards and mnemonics (either as images or phrases) to help the user remember words, phrases and hiragana (Japanese syllabary). This course has twenty four levels with different titles such as ‘Survival Japanese words’, ‘Japanese food’ and ‘The ladies of Japanese theatre’, which sounds promising.

After you reach the end of a section, the words are stored for review at a later date, and after you complete the review test they are added to the ‘long term memory’. If you feel the need to compete while learning, there is also a leader board. The more you learn, the more points you accumulate and the higher up the leader board you go. I’m currently 933rd for this week and 20037th OF ALL TIME. The points do have a practical use as well, as you can set daily goals for yourself according to the number of points earned. Right now I am aiming to achieve 1,500 points per day, which is approximately five minutes of vocabulary learning, but you can also go for 6,500 (15 minutes) and 20,000 (45 minutes) depending on how much time you have to spare. The level of flexibility is important, as you rarely feel guilty for not doing enough. In fact, it probably spurs you on to keep learning for longer.

So there you go. A super resource for learning languages in your spare time.

Screenshot from: Blade Runner

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Ein Kommentar zu “How to learn a language in two months”

  • Leeum am 24. April 2015 21:46 Uhr

    Certainly wouldn’t be considered fluent by people who use that word. I’d say, er…ok I guess. Also, by the way, there is another popular spaced repetition software called Anki which a lot of people prefer. Cheers for the shout out brutha.

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