The Official /int/ How to Learn A Foreign Language Guide Wiki

This page is for anons to share their own tips and methods for learning a language.

Disclaimer: Be very careful before adopting any methodology for language acquisition. If possible, verify that others have achieved a high level of fluency using such a method. Anon methods may be just fine, or even quite good, however there is no way to verify that they have achieved anything at all.

Methods of successful polyglots and language learners[]

Steve Kaufmann[]

  • Divides language skills into 2 categories (input, output) and 4 subcategories (reading, writing, listening, speaking).
  • Emphasizes to beginners the importance of input, i.e. reading and listening as opposed to output, i.e. writing and speaking. Input should be a mix of repeated and novel content.
  • After enough reading and listening he believes you will naturally begin to write and speak in your target language.

Benny Lewis[]

  • Believes in the "just start speaking, bro" approach to language learning. Relies heavily on immersion and constant feedback.


  • A pioneer of online language learning and modern language acquisition methods
  • "Michal and I learned to speak English impressively well (better than most non-native-speakers with English degrees and almost as well as native speakers) in less than 3 years without leaving our home country (Poland). In the process, we came up with a number of ideas for effective learning.Those ideas are explained on this website.

All Japanese All The Time (AJATT)[]

  • A method created by a guy named Khatzumoto
  • based on Antimoon
  • See more details here

Mass Immersion Approach[]

  • Based on AJATT (All japanese all the time) with various modifications by mattvsjapan
  • Though SRS is important, matt stresses that tools like anki should only make up 1/3rd of your total study time at the most. The rest of that time should be spent actively immersing yourself in the language.
  • Besides active immersion he recommends listening to audio while doing other things. This is called passive immersion, but it is only useful if you spend time doing active immersion first, e.g. listening to audiobooks you've already read while you're cooking.
  • Website for more info and detail

Bidirectional Translation[]

  • a.k.a double translation
  • popularized by Luca Lampariello

Anon Methods[]

Anon Method 1[]

Some anon from /lit/ made the following series of posts:



  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes just be sure to learn from them. Learning a language is a lengthy process, sure you might think your progress is slow at first but if you use the material posted in “GENERAL RESOURCES” daily what you learn will stick with you until the day you die. What you should focus on, is being able to simply get into a conversation with someone and express your thoughts and ideas in a clear and concise manner.You might even forget you know an expression and just find yourself using it. The less you have to think about saying something, the closer you are to fluency! Don't think of fluency in terms of years or months. Think of it in terms of "When will I be able to THINK in the language?With that in mind, don’t be discouraged by what you don’t yet know but be motivated in knowing that whatever knowledge you’ve gathered is there to stay.
  2. There is no big fucking secret. There are no shortcuts to this and there are no significantly better ways to learn a language than what can be found in this sticky. Using the tools at your disposal daily is the best thing you can fucking do. Even if it’s just playing a Pimsleur 30 minutes audio file as you’re steadily falling asleep, though I do recommend taking this seriously, make sure you use the language you’re trying to learn daily.
  3. Watch shows and movies in the language you’re trying to learn. Even playing a movie or listening to a song, in said language, in the background can help you get used to it. Got a particular TV show you like watching? Chances are there's a dub out there, waiting for you to watch it. Surround yourself with the language, learn the tones and the phonetic of it, make it so that your brain gets accustomed to hearing it. Again back to immersion. This will greatly speed up your learning process! Do this even if you don’t understand anything. Don’t be discouraged by a book in, let’s say, Spanish because you don’t think your skills are quite there yet. Even if it takes you a day to get through 5 pages that’s still progress! This also brings us to a very important point: Read a book!
  4. Read and/or listen until you find a word you RECOGNIZE, put this word in your flash card program that has been mentioned before. The flash card program IS VERY IMPORTANT. The flash card program is the closest thing you’ll find to a shortcut for language learning. Learn how to use it and use it well. After 200 words or so, put in sentences instead. Use example sentences from a dictionary where you are absolutely sure of the translation. Don't be an idiot and make up your own stuff! Doing your language reviews daily is, again, the key.
  5. DO NOT use a single resource for language learning! There are dozens of great apps and programs available to use, and most of them are free or at least have free trials. Expand yourself, don’t be afraid to explore! It can take you only 10 to 40 minutes to try them out and see for yourself.
  6. Interest is more important than utility. If your motivations are purely utilitarian studying may not be fun, but if you want to really experience the culture, read the literature, or live in those countries then you will always find yourself motivated to do at least a little bit each day.
  7. If it's a phonemic language like Russian, memorize the sounds and read the words out loud. The reading speed will increase exponentially with practice and your mind will get more used to the other script. If it's a character-based language like Chinese, memorize your characters. Chances are you won't be learning from scratch in the country where it's spoken, so start with the written part. Memorize, memorize, doodle the characters on a separate notebook, improve your calligraphy. The threshold for becoming fluent in Chinese is knowing 3000 characters. That's a shitload of unique symbols so practice practice, practice, and don't give up.
  8. GRAMMAR. Can't stress that topic enough. You can't go around repeating phrases Rosetta Stone gave you. There's a point where you need to actually think what you're going to say, and there's no set amount of memorized phrases that will help you avoid grammar. For this reason, it is recommended you start grammar early and continue with it every chance you get. If you don't like grammar very much, just do a maximum of say 30 minutes a day. Learn the structure of the language and its intricate details (i.e Russian and its pain-in-the-ass grammatical cases). Put that notebook and pen to good use and write shit down. Repeat it even when not necessary. Whenever you learn a new word, play with it and see what you can do using grammar. This is so important I really can’t stress it enough. Yes children learn a new language without grammar and yes you can do it too but years of hard study by ear could be turned into just a year of hard study thanks to the power and magic of GRAMMAR.
  9. Increase your memory skill by using color markers. For example: Instead of attaching a "der" or a "die" before a given noun use a marker: blue for masculine, pink for feminine and yellow for neutral. For Mandarin you can colourcode by tone. etc.
  10. Find native speakers, other students can negatively influence your language. Especially if you speak the target language with them. You might catch on to each others mistakes. Use and to find people.