How to Learn but not Master Languages

Summary of Tim Ferriss’ suggestions for quickly deconstructing and learning any language (more detailed information on Tim’s site found here)

  1. Deconstruct the language –
    • Are there new grammatical structures which will postpone fluency?
    • Are there new sounds that will double or quadruple time to fluency?
    • Is it similar to languages I already know?
    • How difficult will it be and how long would it take to become functionally fluent?
  2. Translate these sentences to gain a simple understanding of how verbs are conjugated, fundamental sentence structure and will expose noun cases
    • The apple is red
    • It is John’s apple
    • I give John the apple
    • We give him the apple
    • He gives it to John
    • She gives it to him
    • I must give it to him
    • I want to give it to her
    • Is the apple red?
    • The apples are red
    • I’m going to know tomorrow
    • I can’t eat the apple
  3. Understand the different sounds of the new language and get examples of each exception. Also, try to get phoentic spellings in your native language if possible
  4. After these steps, you will better be able to determine if the target language is worth your investment and then you can put in more focused training