Language Recipe

10 Steps to Learn any Language

Some cooks prefer to exercise their creativity by spontaneously creating a meal with a variety of different ingredients. Others prefer to have the ingredients and follow a predetermined recipe. A recipe is a systematic list of instructions that streamlines any activity. Nevertheless, even when two people follow the exact same recipe, their dishes don’t turn out the same. Not all recipes will work for every cook. The best recipes are based on a vast amount of experience and numerous trials and errors. The best recipes create the most delicious meals. The best recipes have the highest success rate. This cooking analogy can be extended to language learning. 

The language recipe organizes the tools of learning—the most important variables that influence language development—into a 10-step process: 

      1. Have a clear goal and vision of your future self.

      2. Figure out whether you prefer input-then-output or output-and-input.

      3. Find quality input material and quality output opportunities.

      4. Create good study habits and use efficient learning strategies.

      5. Develop a strong inner game

      6. Join a community or find a language partner/friend.

      7. Learn and live the culture

      8. Hire a skilled, experienced teacher. Or at least, find ways to receive specific, timely, and relevant feedback.

      9. Continuously monitor and tweak your motivation

      10. Have fun and be patient

People who want to save time and uncertainty can follow a language learning recipe. When students fail to improve, it’s not because the recipe is bad, but because they haven’t been disciplined enough to follow the program. People say they want to learn a language, but are they following a recipe that gets them there? Are they relying on short-term inspiration bursts, or are they really committing to their goals? Do they actually put in the effort and stay patient enough to see the results? Short-term motivation has its benefits but sustained progress requires good habits. Good habits are the key to language fluency. Follow the recipe in the beginning; and when you’ve built up enough experience, don’t be afraid to change it up.