How to learn any language in six months | Chris Lonsdale | TEDxLingnanUniversity

  • Published on Nov 20, 2013
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    Chris Lonsdale is Managing Director of Chris Lonsdale & Associates, a company established to catalyse breakthrough performance for individuals and senior teams. In addition, he has also developed a unique and integrated approach to learning that gives people the means to acquire language or complex technical knowledge in short periods of time.
    Jan-21-2014 Update. The video transcripts are now available via the following links:
    English Only:
    English + Chinese Translation:
    In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Comments • 18 491

  • Amy Chan
    Amy Chan 6 minutes ago

    1:51 that is an incomplete map of China!

  • Ella Santine
    Ella Santine 7 hours ago

    Learn new language is individually person

  • Beanbag Betty
    Beanbag Betty 18 hours ago

    I completely agree with him about emersion not working unless you know some basics. My husband is arab and I lived with his family in the Middle East for the last 2 years. His family members don't speak English and as much as I tried to learn a few key words, I cannot follow their conversations about politics, the economy and next door gossip. It's frustrating.

  • Caroline Japanese Evans

    After all, this theory is useful for learning European languages close to English, but not for learning Asian languages of different cultures.

  • Håvard Hardy Jørgensen

    i have tried to learn russian for two years. and im still terrible.. but i am now gonna change the way i am learning :)

  • Carla Morgana Moura M. Rodrigues

    This was great!!! Thanks so much for sharing

  • Viva Villain
    Viva Villain Day ago

    For some reason I thought this was going to be about JavaScript smh

  • Krzysiek Dziurowicz
    Krzysiek Dziurowicz 2 days ago

    Why is he shouting?

  • Dave Mitchell
    Dave Mitchell 2 days ago

    I have tried for 55 years to speak Spanish. I took 3 years in High School, 2 semesters in college and spend lots of time growing up in Texas where Spanish speakers abound. Then I took a job in Little Havana (Miami) for 4 years where NO ONE spoke English. I can read a little, speak & write a little, but can't comprehend much. And I'm certainly not fluent. I have come to believe that being able to learn a second language is a "knack" or "gift." Some people have it. Some don't. Even though I've pushed myself for decades, I don't have it.

  • K.L.
    K.L. 2 days ago +1

    I listened up to min 6:44 and did not learn ONE THING!!! I stopped the video at that point. He needs to take a course in not wasting time while lecturing.

  • Angeline Joyce Nakano

    Thanks ..awesome..

  • 周斯洋
    周斯洋 3 days ago +1

    Great talk but he did not use the right map of China...

  • Jorge Chávez Colmenares

    One curious thing happened to me when learning languages. The momment I started learning a third language, the second language fixed better in my mind. Then in the fourth language, the third language fixed better. I think I got to that because while learning the new language, I was comparing the grammar structures.

  • Arsalan Ahmad
    Arsalan Ahmad 3 days ago

    Any Polish person who could teach me Polish, I'd be happy to teach you English in return. What say?

    • Dan Ko
      Dan Ko 2 days ago

      what level do you have?
      I'm a native Polish speaker

  • Microprod
    Microprod 4 days ago

    i learned english in 2 years...

  • Nufosmatic
    Nufosmatic 4 days ago

    This is exactly the way Rosetta Stone is structured.

  • Ibrahim mohammed
    Ibrahim mohammed 4 days ago

    Ein sehr interessantes Video

  • Al Bogdanovic
    Al Bogdanovic 5 days ago +3

    I think a lot of people in the comment section are missing the point and were brainwashed into thinking there’s only one way to learn a language. Everything he says is 100% true! This is how I learned 2 foreign languages before I was 10 years old! You don’t need grammar, you don’t need to know how to read or write and it doesn’t need to be perfect! You just need to learn as many simple words as you can. You need to be able to say them and understand them! That’s it! Learn to speak like you learned to speak your first language! When you were 2 years old did you learn how to say “milk” or did your mom teach you grammar? Grammar came years after you learned how to speak!!! Then why the first class of a foreign language they teach you grammar and how to read and write when you can’t even say a single word in that language!! This is why everyone thinks it’s too difficult to learn a foreign language! It becomes too difficult too quickly!! And everyone gives up! When I first met my Russian girlfriend, I didn’t speak a word Russian! She thought I was a genius because within the first week I was speaking 35% of Russian! She asked me how many years did I learn Russian?? When I said that I never took a class in Russian she didn’t believed me! But shes very hot and that gave me the drive to learn Russian quickly!!
    Here is a simple way to learn a language: learn as many words as you can (no grammar, no writing, no reading, nothing), and don’t be shy or be afraid that you are not saying things perfectly! It doesn’t matter! It’s the simple process of learning! Think in that language, watch movies in that language.
    After you are able to speak the language, next step is learning to read, after that learning to write and the very last step is grammar!!! When first learning a new language, 95% of your Pronunciation will be wrong! But trying (and being wrong) is the first step to learning. You will perfect it as you go, the more times you say it the better it will be. You only have two goals: remember the word and for people to understand what you meant. If you can do those two simple things you already succeeded!

  • CapitánZach
    CapitánZach 5 days ago

    I wanted to hear him speak Chinese...

  • Joohyung Jin
    Joohyung Jin 5 days ago


  • bernhard stork
    bernhard stork 5 days ago

    I've studied Latin for 7 years and can't speak Latin. Probably because I studied vocab lists and grammar, not the language.

  • Strong Faith
    Strong Faith 5 days ago +2

    In short: Limits are created by YOU, they don't exist in the Reality.
    Great Talk.

  • passerell
    passerell 5 days ago

    Hahah the drawing example is so lame!!!
    Wow he says. The second drawing still sucks donkey balls. Hahah

  • Beau La Rue
    Beau La Rue 7 days ago +2

    I had a serve head injury so I am relearning my native language American English and Spanish. It's hard because I live in the Philippines. Like Chris said its a work in progress, for me.

    • Kelly24
      Kelly24 4 days ago

      Sorry to hear that, I hope everything goes well for you 🤗

  • อามีเราะห์ 92

    My English is very bad.. but I understand what he say.

    • Dersim Kurdi
      Dersim Kurdi 3 days ago

      So your English isn't that bad at all.

  • CLuv
    CLuv 7 days ago +7

    If I was a teacher I would have a bag of oranges and everytime I see someone on their phone I would throw an orange at them

    • Strong Faith
      Strong Faith 5 days ago

      Maybe they were taking notes on their smartphones, there are app's agendas, you know?!

  • Philip Buckley
    Philip Buckley 7 days ago

    six months is way too Guatemala people take a two week class in Spanish and then go out and learn the language, on their own....from a foundation, of one to two weeks one should have enough to go and learn the rest....

  • Gladius Draco
    Gladius Draco 7 days ago

    But... Latin though.
    Probably nobody's first language is Latin.
    And anyone who ever knows how to speak it are mostly very hard to get to teach you.

  • Gladius Draco
    Gladius Draco 7 days ago

    Look at that repeating texture of a carpet.
    That's bad game design.

  • TheAngelic Emerald
    TheAngelic Emerald 8 days ago

    Ok but now I know what fire is in mandarin lmao

  • AJ B
    AJ B 8 days ago

    Learning language is not diffucult , but mastering language is very hard.

  • CaBoPs
    CaBoPs 8 days ago +1

    Can you apply this for guitar playing? Learning guitar in 6 months?

    • Heather Milnes
      Heather Milnes 3 days ago

      I think so. I am a guitar teacher and also play about a dozen other instruments.
      Each one ( apart from piano) probably took about 6 months. You do need to practice EVERY day though, ideally for at least an hour. Once you have learnt the skill you can reduce the practice and you should be able to retain what you have learnt for a long time.

  • Ly Nguyen
    Ly Nguyen 8 days ago

    Anyone can explain to me that Why Vietnamese = 30% mandarin + 30% Cantonese ? Cos i don't even realize this in my country ???

  • Unired J
    Unired J 8 days ago

    Good video to learn but there is a problem of the Chinese map showed there,

  • HeroIsLoading
    HeroIsLoading 9 days ago

    man this is 5 years old video

  • rph 2018
    rph 2018 9 days ago +1

    It broke my heart when he said spouses can't be of help in the process of language learning 😐

  • Guy Unger
    Guy Unger 10 days ago

    the girl studied Dutch for years without success, then moved to Brazil and became fluent in Portuguese in 6 months? That only proves what an overcomplicated language Dutch is

  • Chris Peytier
    Chris Peytier 10 days ago

    It takes less than 2 Years to be fluent in any langage, for anyone. Period. Anyway kid in the world IS fluent at 3 (other than pathologic cases if course) .

  • Springs Elim
    Springs Elim 11 days ago

    Blah blah blah

  • 667Gullin
    667Gullin 11 days ago +1

    There are FOUR PRINCIPLES!!!!
    1. Focus on language content that is relevant to you.
    2. Use your language as a tool to communicate from day 1.
    3. When you understand the message you will acquire the
    language unconsciously, i.e comprehensible input (Krashen, et al)
    3. Language is not about accumulating a lot of knowledge but
    is rather a type of physiological training.
    5. Psycho-physiological state matters - you need to be
    happy, relaxed, and most importantly, you need to be tolerant of ambiguity.
    Don’t try to understand every detail as it will drive you crazy.
    There are FOUR PRINCIPLES!!!!

  • José Damián Bazaga Ruiz

    If your face is hurting, you are doing it right. I can dig it.

  • slippyg
    slippyg 13 days ago

    Hmmmm 6 months? Yeah right...

  • Mohamed ahmad
    Mohamed ahmad 13 days ago

    Great job

  • TuneLola
    TuneLola 13 days ago +1

    It's probably better to get a language SIBLING than a parent, someone who's learning your native language. It can be super embarrassing to speak a new language to someone, but if you're both learning then it's easier. My grandfather got remarried to a native english speaker when I was little. She knew no swedish, I knew no english. We taught each other and now seven years later we're both fluent.

  • Lisa Behrens
    Lisa Behrens 13 days ago +1

    So , if you are worried/stressed/upset, you won't learn.
    But his colleague learned to type Chinese in 48 ours because she was under incredible amounts of pressure.
    Makes sense.

  • Live Love
    Live Love 13 days ago +1

    U talk too much can't u say simply listen first copy and speak

  • Paula Osbourne
    Paula Osbourne 14 days ago +1

    does he mean by Normal, infact what does he call normal, after all he studied phychology

  • 1MinuteFlipDoc
    1MinuteFlipDoc 14 days ago

    shout out to the asian ladies in row 2! :)

  • 1MinuteFlipDoc
    1MinuteFlipDoc 14 days ago

    why i dont think sesame street is a good tool for learning english - the puppets dont have natural lip movement.

  • 1MinuteFlipDoc
    1MinuteFlipDoc 14 days ago +1

    12:08 dont go for it!!

  • Sean Li
    Sean Li 15 days ago

    i am Chinese and i want to learn English. But my phone can't get FB, viber, whatsup these kind of application. Who want to learn Chinese and are good at English can make friends with me in WeChat. My WeChat id is xtyta1983. We can help each other , thx!

  • Julie Sarwara
    Julie Sarwara 15 days ago

    Best advice in a long time.

  • icedoutelite
    icedoutelite 15 days ago +1

    I learn to speak jiberesh in less than 1 sec.

  • Aleksandar Milanov
    Aleksandar Milanov 16 days ago +3

    Go check out Laoshu50500 on RU-clip, if you ever feel giving up on a language, he is the man to bring ya back

    • AbbyHardcore
      AbbyHardcore 14 days ago

      Aleksandar Milanov hes incredible!!!

  • Nickel Chrome
    Nickel Chrome 17 days ago

    All is focused on face to face conversation, but that's only a little part of language use. For all situations you need 10 000 words, because the 2% (much more in that case) are likely to contain the words that are essential to the meaning. That's not icing, that's just what language is made for: to express ideas, not merely small talk.

  • Nickel Chrome
    Nickel Chrome 17 days ago +13

    The people in the back, can you hear me clearly? OK, SO I'LL YELL JUST TO MAKE SURE.

    • Nickel Chrome
      Nickel Chrome 5 days ago

      +Jake Smith Because I hate when someone yells at me. He has not to, if what he says is right.

    • Jake Smith
      Jake Smith 5 days ago

      Instead of complaining why don't you try understanding what he's actually saying?

    • Jennifer Hayes
      Jennifer Hayes 9 days ago

      Hahaha, yes, I was thinking the same thing

  • Optimus Prime
    Optimus Prime 17 days ago +10

    This was harder to understand than another language.

    • Kikon Sketches
      Kikon Sketches 10 days ago

      "How to Learn a Language: INPUT (Why most methods don't work)"

      Channel: what i've learned

      i feel like this channel does a better job at explaining it or "How to Acquire any language NOT learn it!"

      channel: Poly-glot-a-lot

      the videos about under an hour long but very informative, not perfect but also a good video in my opinion

  • Nickel Chrome
    Nickel Chrome 17 days ago +1

    That is all rubbish. Why does he yell? He only want us to feel guilty. You certainly won't learn a language in 6 months, even people who learn lot of languages take at least two years, but you'll think it is your fault, and that'll be done. I was one of those who can't learn a language, regularly punished in school, and now I can speak four of them, all by myself. One of the key points is to never feel guilty, but be content with your progresses, whatever they are, that's already a big achievement.

  • Moisés Henrique Silva Araújo

    My first language is brazilian portuguese and I have learned a few words in English. Nowadays I can watch videos without subtitles. The best way to learn anything is: Have a BIIGGG "WHY". When you truly NEED something, in the botton of your heart, you'll find the best way to get it! I learned some English because I wanted to be a great Poker Player and the best books and teachers about Pokers were in English. That was my BIG Why!

  • ハッピー骸骨
    ハッピー骸骨 18 days ago

    First step is to learn about English for Japanese like me.

  • kevin shortt
    kevin shortt 19 days ago

    I'd say that method would work for me too if I had his brain 😂

  • 2Hedz
    2Hedz 20 days ago

    I thought the brain exploding joke was great.

  • Vijay Mohan
    Vijay Mohan 20 days ago

    I can speak English, Hindi, and Rajasthani.

  • jpchen0321
    jpchen0321 21 day ago +83

    The audience is terrible, so many great jokes spread around the presentation

    • slimj olshea
      slimj olshea 6 days ago

      +JRB Productions was thinking the same

    • JRB Productions
      JRB Productions 13 days ago +4

      His mic probably records only his voice. And the audience laughter will be too soft, so it gets filters as 'noice'.

  • Tony Ahn, Jr.
    Tony Ahn, Jr. 21 day ago

    "Fluency" in six months is not a realistic expectation. Growing up in a multilingual family, my parents and grandparents spoke a combined set of no less than a dozen different languages. Yet, English was the only common language in our home. I am "conversational" in 3 languages, one native, one via 4 years of formal study, and one by visits to a foreign country over the past decade. Everyone learns differently, and some people's brains are "wired" to learning languages more easily. The two most important aspects in learning anything are, *Desire*, and *Practice*.

  • Jamais Vu
    Jamais Vu 21 day ago

    Dutch Vanderlin? that you man?

  • Mikko Valencia
    Mikko Valencia 21 day ago +1

    Here's the best solution:
    Replace your mouth, then put a Google translate mouth. Done.

    • Mikko Valencia
      Mikko Valencia 20 days ago

      +just s0me0ne yeeee

    • just s0me0ne
      just s0me0ne 20 days ago

      But then you will need a google translate brain or ears too?

  • Mikko Valencia
    Mikko Valencia 21 day ago +5

    Here's the best solution:
    Replace your mouth, then put a Google translate mouth. Done.

  • Anthony AT
    Anthony AT 21 day ago

    If anyone wants to use a practical implementation of these methods (actually better) to learn Spanish, I strongly recommend looking up "Synergy Spanish" (Marcus Santamaria). It's the best possible method. i taught myself conversational Spanish in 4 weeks with minimal, casual "effort". Like French, I still find it hard to makes sense of the sounds when I hear foreign languages though.

  • Noah McCoy
    Noah McCoy 22 days ago

    This dude's accent throws me off so much lmao

  • gerryjtierney
    gerryjtierney 22 days ago

    Clickbait title, patronising delivery.

  • Umar-Faruk Adama
    Umar-Faruk Adama 22 days ago

    someone should help him and laugh lol

  • am m
    am m 22 days ago

    shut up and get to the point man, geez!

  • The Person
    The Person 22 days ago

    'Brain soaking' sounds a lot like 'immersion' to me... Bit of a contradiction there?

  • Nigel 900
    Nigel 900 23 days ago


  • Pocho Nieves
    Pocho Nieves 23 days ago

    I know English and Spanish... I can communicate with 80% of the world...
    I win!

    • Nigel 900
      Nigel 900 23 days ago

      Entonces construye la pared, Amigo!

  • Thai Ito
    Thai Ito 23 days ago

    please speak in Thai

  • Max Hope
    Max Hope 23 days ago

    Vietnamese is 30% Mandarin, 30% Cantonese? I've been to Vietnam many times but I didn't understand 1%, I speak both Mandarin and Cantonese.

  • f d
    f d 23 days ago

    Hmoot ang meeg? Aaang hmif oot aaaang!!

  • Francisco lobo
    Francisco lobo 23 days ago

    Pero no se enoje 🤣

  • Kimberley Rourke
    Kimberley Rourke 23 days ago

    This is so interesting. I'm an English tutor and I incorporate a lot of this stuff, previously without really knowing why, and my style is exactly like that of a "Language Parent" but I never thought about it in that way before. I knew it was important to increase a learner's confidence by not interrupting every few words to correct mistakes, but this explanation makes a lot of sense. Hopefully I can put it to use learning Italian!

  • Yacine Damak
    Yacine Damak 23 days ago

    I hate long introductions , especially presented in a systematic manner. There is a huge lack of intuition here, nevertheless, the content still considerable.. i just want to suggest a more pedagogic efficient manner to present and explaining things ( subjectively i assume)

  • Paula Martins
    Paula Martins 24 days ago


  • akelly929
    akelly929 24 days ago

    It's proven to only take 30 days or less if you do it 10 hrs a day for 30 days
    Eat sleep, and language. That's it. But you must take a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day.

    • J D
      J D 23 days ago

      Further explanation please

  • Andrew Gosselin
    Andrew Gosselin 24 days ago

    What bars most of us from trying a new language? The guts the speak up.

  • Scott Herford
    Scott Herford 25 days ago +13

    Duolingo works for vocab, pimsleur is wonderful for the ear, pronunciation and it's easy to.use while driving. 100 days, done.

  • david simon
    david simon 27 days ago +2

    I would be curious how many languages does Chris fluently speak?

  • Liam Duffy
    Liam Duffy 27 days ago

    Mate, take a breath. :-)

  • V Ad iM счастин

    10:32 #3 this mistake, fix the slide #4

  • Pips Piper
    Pips Piper 29 days ago

    Currently, I'm learning Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish, and Japanese at the same time. I don't know how, but learning 4 languages at the same time help me to memorize even better. I know that I won't be able to be fluent in any of the languages in 6 months but I am just learning for fun. Yes, I do embrace some of the techniques that this guy recommends and I feel that I am on the right track.

  • Flaphand
    Flaphand 29 days ago

    Take a breath dude, damn.

  • El trovador Mudo
    El trovador Mudo 29 days ago

    I am russian who lives 22 years in Spain so i speak russian and spanish like a native. I learned english by listening to music and translating the lyrics while reading them on the screen.

  • Ben Williams
    Ben Williams Month ago

    Wonderful! Thank you for making this video! 😄👌👍💙🙏

  • Carlos Mora
    Carlos Mora Month ago

    Someone knows which is the app for copying face? min 16:32 thanks guys

  • xBris
    xBris Month ago

    The main message of this video is, that he really thinks highly of himself. This talk was quite pointless. The 5 principles are just catch phrases - at least some of the 7 actions seem to be helpful.

  • João Ferreira
    João Ferreira Month ago +4

    Thank you...this video showed me that learning a language is not a impossible task. Today, after 3 months watching youtube videos, my Spanish is better every day.

  • Stephanie Deym
    Stephanie Deym Month ago

    I am a native German Speaker and i can speak english just because i wanted to see my favourite show in its original language.

  • ziqi
    ziqi Month ago +6

    He said immersion doesn't work, but I would totally disagree with that. What he said about those Chinese people who have been living in the US but failed to pick up English is already biased: a lot them are not really immersed in the English speaking community because their families, friends, and roommates all speak Chinese, and they definitely spend more time on Chinese social media than English speaking forums. As such, of course their progress in English learning wouldn't be obvious.

  • Shamim Mir
    Shamim Mir Month ago

    Language learning takes lots of years...u wont learn in 6 months.. language is long process...

  • Sutton Johnson
    Sutton Johnson Month ago

    I take it this includes sign language?