Earlier, I wrote about my five main tips for quickly learning any language. I realized I forgot a few very useful tips. I present for your consideration three more:
You’d be surprised how many communication barriers can be crossed simply by smiling. Make a mistake with your pronunciation? Smile. Laugh. People will open up and make a greater effort to understand you.
2. Speak slowly and enunciate your words.
Didn’t your mom/schoolmarm/headmaster tell you not to mumble? Have you forgotten those humiliating wraps on the knuckles with the ruler?
Speak clearly. Speak slowly. And for Pete’s sake, speak up. If you mumble your words like your mouth is full of cotton balls, absolutely nobody will be able to understand you. If you are meek and demure and unsteady in the language, expect others to have much difficulty in comprehension.
Sure, maybe you’re uncomfortable and embarrassed with the state of your expertise (or lack thereof). Don’t be. You have to crawl before you can walk. Say it loud. Say it proud.
3. Stick with the present tense if having conversation difficulties.
Drop the flowery language and verbiage if people aren’t grokking you. You may have finished four years of high school Spanish, but guess what, vosotros isn’t really used in Mexico. If you speak in the present tense, people will understand your meaning in most languages simply from context. This is even better in languages that have few or informal tenses constructed with adverbs. Start with the basics, then get all Mr. Fancy Pants.
There you have it: three more simple and easy tips for quickly learning any language.
What’s next? Are you onto your third or fourth language? It gets confusing, right? Especially romance languages that are all basically the same. In a coming post, I’ll talk about my simple trick for keeping multiple languages distinct in your head. Stay tuned!