Chris Lonsdale Ted Talk: How to Learn Any Language in 6 Months

The below video features Chris Lonsdale, creator of Kungfu English and author of The Third Ear, explaining how anyone can learn and become fluent in a second language within six months.


Unfortunately, Lonsdale doesn’t detail what he means by “fluency,” as the definition often differs to each language learner. Based on the 14-minute mark of the video, it’s likely he’s referring to the ability to comfortably engage in every-day conversation, as he states: “In English, 1,000 words covers 85% of anything you’re ever going to say in daily communication. Three thousand words gives you 98%… You’ve got 3,000 words, you’re speaking the language…”

We highly recommend you watch the full video; whether you believe it’s possible to learn a new language in six months or not, Lonsdale offers sound studying advice. Here are a few of our favorite tips:

  • Practice mixing the language around. Lonsdale says, “If you’ve got 10 verbs, 10 nouns, and 10 adjectives, you can say 1,000 different things.” Just like how babies learn their first language, it’s important to experiment and create new phrases.
  • Get a “language parent.” Lonsdale defines a great language parent as someone who will work hard to understand what you’re saying (even when you’re wrong), uses words you already know, confirms understanding with correct language, and does not correct your mistakes. (The latter idea is surprising for many, but current linguistic theory states that, for children, making errors is a vital part of learning, and correcting these issues is pretty much pointless. This concept doesn’t really differ for adults.)
  • Study the face – specifically the mouth – of a native speaker. Languages differ greatly in pronunciation, and many use sound formations that aren’t found in your first language. Lonsdale argues that you may need to teach your body how to make certain vocal movements, and the best way to do this is learning from an expert!

Dynamic wants to know: how quickly have you become fluent in a language? What language learning trick helped you the most?