A Great Hack For Learning A New Language Faster

Clue: It’s in your hands

I am obsessed with learning things faster. I’ve embraced my impatience as a virtue, as it has led to the creativity that finds ways to cut learning time.

Learning a language takes more than Duolingo. It involves extreme immersion. Surrounding and submerging yourself with the language you want to learn so that it becomes second nature. My mother was an immigrant that learned basic English in a matter of months out of necessity. We often don’t have the same circumstances, but we need to create them if we really want to become fluent.


According to Steve Kaufman, linguist master and fluent in over 20 languages, it takes about 360–480 hours to achieve basic fluency, which at studying one hour a day, takes about 1.5 years.

The good news is that along my language learning journey, I found an easy hack that anyone can do to learn much faster and less likely to give up.

It’s in your hands.

Really, it is. It's your phone. You know, the device you stare into 7-8 hours a day?

Every phone has a language setting that you can change to your desired language. Change it to the language you are currently learning. The language in your apps and phone's capabilities will all change, forcing you to learn them. Your Google search results and emails written in English will remain in your home language, but a lot of the other main functions will have changed to the new one.

Why is this fool-proof and is guaranteed to work?

Because we look at our phones countless times during the day without even thinking about it. For me, “In Entrata” now means “Inbound”, and “Appena Aggiornato” means “Just updated”. I know it so well because I see it dozens of times a day with a second thought, I can take an Italian lesson and forget most of the words by the afternoon, but I know all these phrases by heart. They are the ones I use most and constantly build on.


It's simple but it's extreme. It may seem like too much of a jump for you and make you uncomfortable at first. Just Google search phrases you don't know initially and within days, you won’t need to anymore.

Fun Bonus

If someone else tries to use your phone, most likely they will be what the f@&k?!?!

Writer and guinea pig behind the Worst Runner. Experimenting with running and life.

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