How to Speak a Foreign Language in 100 Hours
100 hours doesn’t sound like a lot of time to achieve anything significant. I mean, it’s the equivalent of just over 4 days… but let’s think about this amount of time again.
100 hours = 6000 minutes. That’s 100 x one hour sessions or 200 x half-hour sessions of whatever it is that you want to get good at.
Certainly not enough time to reach expert level, but it is enough time to become proficient at something that you currently can't do. That includes learning a foreign language.
Voulez-vous apprendre le français?
¿Quieres aprender español?
Do you want to learn another language? Good. Let's start today.
What’s that? You heard that it’s ‘almost impossible’ to learn a new language as an adult? You studied a language in school for years but now you can hardly order a sandwich in it? Or perhaps you believe that you simply don’t have the ability to learn a foreign language due to a lack of ‘talent’?
LIES! Pure lies I tell you.
As an adult you have some MAJOR advantages over a child when it comes to learning another language: not only is your brain/memory far more advanced but you’re also already familiar with concepts such as vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and sentence structure – you use them every time you speak your own language.
The biggest advantage that a toddler has over you is simply that they don’t have a choice in learning a language – they have to! There’s simply no escape if they want to be able to communicate.
Still don't believe me? Let me show you what's possible by sharing my own personal story.
I started learning French back in January 2014 and made the video below four months later (after about 90 hours of study and practice).
I knew very tiny amount of basic French before I started the learning process (remnants of what I learned in school 10+ years ago. I could just about order a sandwich but definitely couldn't hold a conversation.)
Here's later video that I recorded in March 2015. In this one I speak both French and Spanish.
Not bad eh?
Keep in mind that the closer a language is to your native tongue, the faster you can expect to learn it. For native English speakers for example, it will typically be much easier to gain proficiency in French, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese than Mandarin, Czech, Polish, or Russian.
How to learn a foreign language - my recommendations:
- To get speaking straight away, I highly recommend an audiobook course called Pimsleur (I’m not affiliated, I just think it’s great). It’s available in a huge number of languages and I used it for both French (completed Phases 1-5 = 150 lessons) and Spanish (completed Phases 1-3 = 90 lessons). If you do it properly (i.e. don’t skip around and don’t miss days) then you’ll reach a basic conversational level very rapidly.
- Go to DuoLingo.com, download the app to your phone, select your language and work on that skill tree daily! It’s a fun, addictive and FREE way to improve your language skills. Especially spelling and grammar which Pimsleur helps very little with.
- Use YouTube: Watch children’s cartoons in your target language (try Caillou). Watch films, listen to music (look up the lyrics to follow) and watch the news – anything that exposes your ears to the language. (side note – I personally find it harder to understand a foreign language than to speak it, so listening practice is extra important if you’re like me)
- Talk to native speakers every chance that you get and don’t worry about making mistakes. Aim to be understood and to understand. Even 5 minutes of real-life conversation is valuable. The more you can do the better.
Good luck/Bonne chance/Buena suerte!
P.S. If you enjoyed this blog then please share it with a friend.