The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #17 September / October 2015
Easier Way to Learn Languages Fast
by Teddy Nee
September / October 2015 | 

For some learners, learning one language is already a mission impossible. What about learning more than one? Although it may sound impossible to do, there are tips and tricks on learning languages faster and easier, which you do not learn in school.

Languages as a group

All languages belong to their own language families. Some of the popular families are Romance, Slavic, Germanic, and Sino-Tibetan. Languages are grouped together because of their historical relationships, grammatical structures, or geographical places of origin.

There are languages named differently or using different scripts because of political reasons, such as Hindi and Urdu. There are also several variants of a language because of geographical differences, such as Hokkien dialect spoken in Fujian Province, Taiwan, The Philippines, Medan City, Singapore, and Malaysia.

From here you can learn that language learning is not only about learning the grammar or vocabulary, but also learning about the story behind its evolution.

Same family, same genes

Throughout my years of language learning experience, I have come to realize that learning languages of the same family that you already know is the faster way to excel. As an example, in general, European speak better English than Asian.

A Spanish speaker will recognize many Portuguese words even without learning it because both languages are from the same family, Romance language. I mention this based on my personal experience of acquiring Portuguese in a short time because of my knowledge of Spanish.

These languages are like human beings where they "share" the same genes from their parent language, which might have become extinct.

For Romance languages, Latin is the parent language. I read once an argument claiming that Latin is not dead, but it had evolved into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian.

However, please note that these similarities could cause confusion at the same time. Imagine when you are speaking in language A and thinking in language B. That’s horrible! To be honest, I often make that mistake, but soon after that, I remember it so I will not repeat the same mistake again.

Practice makes perfect

On top of everything, regular practice plays a major role in language learning. Believe it or not, you will forget any languages, even your native language, if you don’t use it for a certain period of time.

Internet definitely has changed our way of life and way of learning. You can navigate your browser to any news websites, listen to radio, or even watch TV online, in any language. I do it all the time, every day. Therefore, I don’t have learning schedule, I use foreign languages all the time.

Don’t be frustrated when you do mistakes because it is completely natural. It is totally wrong if you have never made any mistakes in your learning. That just against natural law.

Finally, which language are you learning and what are in the same language family?

Teddy Nee began his language learning journey at an early age. He learned 3 foreign languages, namely English, Chinese, and German, in high school. His passion for languages continues throughout his time studying in the university where he is enrolled in an international program. For more information about him, please visit


Easier Way to Learn Languages Fast
Writer: Teddy Nee
Teddy Lee: Teddy Lee (copyrighted)
Petey: Language clouds

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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