Are you intrigued by polyglots? Do you wonder how they’re able to learn multiple languages? In fact, learning multiple languages isn’t as hard as you might think. Just take Luca, one of MosaLingua’s co-founders: in this article, he shares five lessons that can help you learn more languages. If you’d like to read even more about the best way to learn many languages, have a look at another of Luca’s articles on the subject.
Today, I’m going to tell you a story about someone who was not good with languages and struggled for years trying to learn his first foreign language. Then something unexpected happened and that very same person went from zero to six foreign languages. I’m talking about myself, my story, and my language learning journey. And today I’m sharing with you the most valuable lessons I learned while becoming fluent in multiple languages.
My relationship with languages didn’t start off very well. I’ve always been fascinated by people who are able to speak two or more languages, so I tried really hard to learn English for many years. Even though I studied English for 12 years, I was incapable of speaking it until my early twenties. Then something unexpected happened: I got an Erasmus grant to study for one year in France.
Great! Just one little problem: I spoke no French at the time. It was April and I had to move to France in September. For five months, I studied French on my own like crazy. During those months I discovered that learning languages can be fun and effective. But the real turning point for me was when I eventually arrived in France and I realized I was able to understand people speaking French and to express my thoughts in this beautiful language. Of course, I still had a lot to improve but the progress I’d made in five months proved that I was capable of learning a foreign language. And this made all the difference from that moment on.
News flash: those people aren’t any smarter than you are, and they don’t have any kind of special gift for language learning, either. It’s all because of the methods they use. Practicing with the latest and most effective techniques, along with a few expert tips, is a recipe for success.
It can work for you, too! MosaTraining combines all of these tips and techniques into one comprehensive, hands-on approach to language learning.
Today I speak six languages. What have I learned along the way? A lot! But there 5 key lessons I’ll carry with me forever. Now, I want to share them with as many language learners as possible, because I know a lot of you are in the same position I was all those years ago, when I didn’t have a single foreign language under my belt.
If I was able to learn so much French in just five months, it’s because I was extremely motivated. I thought I was motivated enough to learn English, but the truth is that I wasn’t. The fear of not being able to attend classes in French or to get by in my everyday life pushed me to study every single day for many hours over a period of five months. These were strong sources of motivation for me.
If motivation is an issue for you, here are a few articles I really recommend:
- How to Maintain Language Learning Motivation and Stay on Top
- Overcoming a Lack of Motivation When Learning a Language, and Coming Out of it Stronger!
- Video: 5 Factors That Motivated Me to Learn 6 Different Languages
It’s essentially about finding a great reason to learn a language, and reminding yourself of that reason on a regular basis.
Confidence in yourself is vital. For many years, I was convinced that I wasn’t good at languages and that those who are fluent in multiple languages have a sort of special gift. But when I proved to myself that I was capable of learning different languages, it was like smashing through a wall that opened up a world of possibilities.
That’s why after learning French, I decided to finally master English. And when I succeeded, I kept going! I then learned Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, and German. What I was missing most was self-confidence. Now, I’m fluent in six languages.
And this is one of the most important messages I want to share with you today: you and anyone else out there can learn a foreign language. Even if you’ve been struggling for years, you can do it. You need to believe in yourself and trust me. If I was able to do it, you can do it. That’s why here at MosaLingua we focus a lot on the psychological barriers that any language learner has to overcome. If you don’t get rid of them, you can’t succeed.
We focus a lot on confidence and overcoming mental obstacles in our speaking-focused course. We don’t want to just teach you how to speak a foreign language. We want to teach you how to speak it proudly and to actually enjoy it! If you struggle with self-assurance, check out the MosaSpeak course page to learn more.
Learning a language can be a long process, so it’s a good idea to use learning material you actually enjoy. And this is one of the so-called secrets of many polyglots. They succeed because they know how to learn many languages, and how to enjoy the process all the while.
That reminds me of a line I found in a book I’m reading right now: Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar. At one point, he says: “Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain, nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.”
And I think this can be applied to learning a language: if you want to succeed, you need to enjoy the process of climbing toward the peak of the mountain.
You may have to try lots of resources before you find the ones that click for you. To get you started, browse our selections of resources for Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and English learners: The Best Online Resources for Language Learners
If you need more assistance picking out resources that meet your specific learning needs, this article can help.
A good method is one that gives you results quickly, because if you get quick results, then you’ll be more motivated and have more self-confidence. As I said, these are vitally important to your success. There are many methods that work: you just need to find the one that best suits your learning style.
You can find all the tips you need on how to become multilingual on both our blog and our YouTube channel. And you can even use the very same method I used to learn six foreign languages. It’s just one possibility, but I can assure you that it’s really enjoyable and, more importantly, it’s incredibly effective.
How hard is it to learn multiple languages? As I said, learning a language takes time because it’s a skill that you acquire little by little. It’s a lifelong process that never ends because you can always improve—even in your native language. But if you’re patient and progress step by step, you’ll discover how incredibly rewarding the whole process is and you’ll reap the incredible benefits of speaking more than one language.
At the beginning of this article, I told you that I went from zero to six foreign languages. This might seem impossible for many people. But honestly, the hardest part was just going from zero to one language. Going from one to two was still tricky, even if I’d already proved to myself that I could do it. But after learning French and English, it was rather easy to learn the other languages I speak.
To summarize our tips for learning multiple languages, here are the five lessons I’d like to share with you today:
- strong motivation is key;
- believe in yourself;
- choose learning material that you enjoy;
- use a method that delivers quick results;
- and be patient.
I really hope you found this article useful and that you will use these lessons to learn one or more foreign languages. As for me and my team, it would be our pleasure to help you succeed if you need a hand.
Happy learning, and good luck!
You can also listen to me talk about these lessons in this video. It’s in English, but there are subtitles in 5 other languages if you need them. Click the Settings icon (⚙️) to turn them on. You can also slow down the playback speed.
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If you liked this article, you might also be interested in these related topics:
- Watch my interview with Hyperglot Elisa Polese on Learning Foreign Languages [VIDEO]
- Need a little help fitting all that study time in? Time Management Skills for Language Learners [VIDEO]
- Get inspired to learn many languages by 34 of the Most Inspiring and Famous Polyglots in the World