Learn a Language Fast: Survival Checklist


Learn a Language Fast: Survival Checklist 

People all over the world learn English for their jobs. Many people you might encounter in hotels, restaurants and bars will speak some English. Despite the fact that you may not need to speak the local language when you travel, language for surviving a trip is an amazing place to start learning a new language fast. 

You need to get all of your survival needs met away from home. The best part is that language for travel and survival is presented in terms of real communicative tasks, and a gem for beginners of a language. All of the grammar and vocabulary is completely in context. Don’t spend your time on boring textbooks at first-focus on language for communication. Use this checklist to learn and set goals to get communicating in a new language. Use your target language dictionary, Google Translate, or a phrasebook (your own or one for travel- Collins and Lonely Planet make great ones).


Tasks are a language learner’s best friend, and can make all the difference in learning a language fast. Tasks can be simple. For example, greeting someone is a task. Tasks can also be very complex. For example, defining, explaining and defending your political views in a diplomatic way.

Using tasks sets you up for success to learn a language fast. Learning a task in a foreign language creates a framework for learning all of the words, phrases and grammar you need to complete it. You won’t be learning random bits of language.

I love to use task notebooks here to organize my words and phrases. The Goldlist method is a great way to work on the new vocabulary. In the Goldlist method, you essentially write down about fifteen to twenty words and phrases in the target language from the list in one column, and their equivalents in your native language. Review the list to see what you can easily recall. Don’t worry about what you didn’t learn. After a few days of new lists, make a new list of what you didn’t recall easily. Keep doing this. Lydia Machova does a great job of explaining this in this video.

I love to make my own phrasebooks. Try using Google Translate and creating your own personalized phrasebook on Google Sheets.

Another way to learn these tasks is through vocabulary columns. This is similar to the Goldlist method, but more intense and focused. You can also try creating your own playlists, too.

Ready to learn a language fast? Check out the tasks below and use one of the methods we talked about to get started.

You can use this list to assess your skills in a language, too. Just check off what you can do easily, and get learning what you don’t know today.

Looking for more ways to assess you skills and set goals? Get the workbook here.

Resources for Language Learning and Teaching

Leave a Comment