You've probably experienced a nice well-mannered young person approaching you on the street and asking if you would like to have a conversation. Usually these folks carry a name tag and they approach you to talk about God among other things. These are Mormon missionaries and they are well-known for acquiring languages super fast.
In this blog post, we'll analyse what makes Mormon missionaries so successful in learning new languages and if you can use any of the same approaches to help your language learning efforts as well. 🚀
Success never comes without effort
It may seem that Mormon missionaries speak the language almost automatically and after just arriving to your country they already can have a decent conversation with you. So it makes one automatically believe that they're using some special secret methodology. But in reality it's much more simple than that.
Before arriving to your country, each Mormon missionary goes through a 8-12 weeks program which includes at least 6-8 hours of language studies per day. So after knowing this you'd look at their skills a lot differently - it's not magic that they can speak the language. 😉
If you would take the same time to study with Speakly, you will get immensely better results, just by the mere fact that Speakly only teaches you the most statistically relevant words and sentences.
But nevertheless, it's awesome how motivated and persistent the missionaries are - because after going through the program, each one of them takes at least an hour per day to focus on learning the language that they need. ☝️
Answering the question "Why?"
For most language learners, the question "Why do I need to study this specific language?" remains unanswered or is not strong enough to motivate them to be consistent in their studies. The ones who have a strong enough "Why", reach their language goals with applications like Speakly super fast because they're just consistent.
But in Mormon missionaries case the "Why" is already in the formula. It's to preach their beliefs that they believe in deeply and it's enough of a motivation for them to be consistent - and really invest an hour per day into their studies. 😉
While going through their intensive learning course for 9-12 weeks, Mormon missionaries are guided to only use the foreign language during the 6-8 hours per day while they're in the training facility. Hence, they will just start using the language actively without the possibility to defer to their mother tongue, to ask explanations or explain themselves.
Hence, they are actually trying to use the language on a daily basis with other learners and that's one of the main keys for their success.
Empowering learners instead of belittling them
The learning system that Mormon missionaries use in their training facilities are interesting in many ways. For example, if somebody is struggling with French, Spanish or German, then the teachers will place this person, to have lunch next to people who are learning Arabic or some other much more difficult languages. And after seeing how difficult those languages are, the struggling learners will be motivated to continue on their current studies. ☝️
You all know that we become the 4-5 people that surround us - if these people around us are motivated and focused in taking on a task that is really challenging, then you will become a powerhouse learner as well. 🚀
What can you take away from all this to learn languages better?
You need to put the time in. Take at least 30 minutes every single day to focus on your language studies. And use solutions like Speakly that you can just enjoy without thinking about the logistics of the learning.
Answer the question "Why?" for yourself. Why are you learning the language - what's the deeper motivation behind it? How does the language really help your life if you achieve the results that you're looking for?
Even if you can't use the foreign language on a daily basis - if you're in your home country for example -, you can walk around and listen to Speakly listening exercises (and create a foreign language environment into your life) and every time you say a sentence in your mother tongue, try to think if you know how to say it in the foreign language as well (even if it's just small parts of the sentence).
Surround yourself with people who love to develop themselves and learn new things. If you're surrounded by people who don't like self-development and constantly improving themselves - by learning new languages, for example - it's very difficult to find motivation to do that.