5 ingredients for a delicious language learning cocktail


Bartender is making cocktail at bar counter, adding some bitter

Note: Combining the following may create a sense of euphoria—consume at your own risk. 

2 cups of time & consistency

“A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules” – Anthony Trollope

No excuses. Make language-learning the first thing you do every day—even if it’s only for 15 minutes—and you’ll progress much faster than trying to do everything in one or two days. We’ve known since 1965 that spaced repetition is the key to building and retaining knowledge[1], and this takes time. Your biggest friend in the process is consistency.

2 cups of tutoring with a native

Is it difficult for you move to a new country to learn your next language? Or do you want to practice so you can immediately communicate when you get there? The biggest difficulty of group classes is that individual attention is limited. Tutoring gives you personalized correction on the things that are important to you, and having your errors corrected and all of your questions and doubts fixed will help you immensely in the process. It’s also a great way to build relationships and practice conversation in a safe environment as well.

1 cup of Anki

Do you want to learn 89%[2] of a language in a month? Anki will help you do that. To borrow a metaphor from Fluent Forever[3], this is the closest you’ll get to that machine in The Matrix that puts knowledge into your brain. Anki uses spaced repetition—you study the difficult things more frequently—and it’s a great way for rapidly uploading vocabulary into your brain. If your language has it use a corpus list (there are already many great decks to do so) and start with the 1000 most common words in any language. Using the word along with the image has been shown to increase retention. Mix sounds or IPA symbols for pronunciation.

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