A quick Google Search educates me that ‘fluency’ is being able to express oneself easily and articulately.
That’s really all there is to language. Expression of oneself and getting others to understand you.
So why is learning a new language considered as a big challenge?
Because most people give importance to such things as grammar, being perfect and more than anything – worrying about being wrong!
You may not recollect your earliest memories of learning your first ever language from your parents or teachers, but just watch a kid learn – not in school or pre-school, just with elders around. What does s/he do? Copy. Parrot. Mimic. The first words of a kid are most likely to be ‘pa-pa’ or ‘ma-ma’ (or ‘co-ffee’ in my case).
That’s how i ‘hack’ languages personally – by simply copying and mimicking people who speak in their native language.
If you asked me to dissect language and allocate grades to the most important parts of it, here’s how it would look like:
1. Focus on Pronunciation & Accent
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it that really matters.
I’ve done wonderfully well communicating with locals with grammatically murdered words that sounded right, while others had a tougher time using the correct words but sounding alien.
Use Case: Most people just say ‘Buenas’ in the day, and not the otherwise correct ‘Buenas Tardes’ in South America.
2. Master some local phrases / slang words
Another fantastic hack that is guaranteed to get you more friends anywhere is using local phrases and slang.
Leading an experimental life as a digital nomad, I started traveling in 2007 while choosing to shuttle between Goa and Mumbai as 'home'. An epic life-changing trip to South America an year later gave birth to this blog, Exotic Gringo.