How to Learn Any Language in Less Than 90 Days

how to learn a new language

Reaching fluency need not be a long process. Nor does it need to be expensive.

If we have the right framework for learning faster, anyone with dedication can reach conversation fluency in any language in 90 days.

For the Type-A learners out there, reaching fluency in 60 days is within your grasp.

The following principles can be applicable for learning any skill faster, not just languages.
But we’ve tailored this post specifically to maximize your language learning abilities.

Let’s start with 3 important principles in how to learn any language:

1. Effectiveness (What)

If you try to take down a tree with a dull axe, it doesn’t matter how hard you hit it. You won’t get anywhere.

This logic applies to language learning.

We need to prioritize the materials we choose to learn in the limited time span we have, that will help us reach our goals faster.

Which brings us to the 2nd principle:

2. Adherence (Why)

There have been multiple, inspiring stories of middle-aged women who gathered up the strength to lift up a car by themselves to save their children.

If we have the right motivation to push us, we can achieve anything that we want.

In other words, we can have the most effective materials infront of us, but if we don’t review and expose ourselves to the material, it’s useless to us.

In language learning, we can simplify this into two core methods:

a. Content choice – expose yourself to topics that you truly enjoy reading, listening, or watching about in English.
If you can’t stand politics, then it doesn’t make sense to read about it for the simple goal of improving your skills.
It is not sustainable.

b. Learning method – how do you best learn? If you’ve always loved reading, then read books in the foreign language.
If you’re a social butterfly, and enjoy human interaction, then find a language coach that can interact with you and keep you accountable. The key here is, don’t do anything you won’t do in your regular daily routine.

3. Efficiency (How)

The last principle is figuring out the “how.”

You may have the best materials and motivation, but if it’s going to take you 10 years to accomplish your goal – it’s not worth your time.

How will you reach your goal in the shortest amount of time?

This brings us to…

The Pareto’s Principle

If this is your first time hearing about the Pareto’s Principle, read this article on learning faster.

In summary, Pareto’s Principle dictates that 80% of our desired results come from 20% of our output/effort.

We can transfer this principle into language learning.

We may be able to reach 80% fluency in 90 days, using the most effective and efficient learning process; if it takes 5 years to reach 90% fluency, it doesn’t make as much sense for us to invest in a diminished returning process.

This applies to any skill from sports to instruments to public speaking.

Now, it’s not to say that you shouldn’t invest the extra time reach 100% fluency, as long as your motivation is there.

Our personal coaches are here to help you with whatever your goals may be, whether it’s wanting to become 100% fluent, enough to be able to communicate with your family/friends, or simply maintaining your current skills.

Now let’s get to the meat of any language learning – words.
Here’s how to learn any language in less than 90 days with 5 core simple steps.

1. Start with the most common words

Top 100 Most Common Written Words in English

1. the
2. of
3. and
4. a
5. to
6. in
7. is
8. you
9. that
10. it
11. he
12. was
13. for
14. on
15. are
16. as
17. with
18. his
19. they
20. I
21. at
22. be
23. this
24. have
25. from
26. or
27. one
28. had
29. by
30. word
31. but
32. not
33. what
34. all
35. were
36. we
37. when
38. your
39. can
40. said
41. there
42. use
43. an
44. each
45. which
46. she
47. do
48. how
49. their
50. if
51. will
52. up
53. other
54. about
55. out
56. many
57. then
58. them
59. these
60. so
61. some
62. her
63. would
64. make
65. like
66. him
67. into
68. time
69. has
70. look
71. two
72. more
73. write
74. go
75. see
76. number
77. no
78. way
79. could
80. people
81. my
82. than
83. first
84. water
85. been
86. call
87. who
88. oil
89. its
90. now
91. find
92. long
93. down
94. day
95. did
96. get
97. come
98. made
99. may
100. part

The first 25 words make up about 1/3 of all printed material in English. The first 100 comprise 1/2 of all written material, and the first 300 make up about 65% percent of all written material in English.

Now because our goal with this guide is to reach conversation fluency, let’s review the top 100 most common spoken words in English. Keep in mind that the most common words as used in speech are quite different, and this applies to any target language.

The 100 Most Common Spoken Words in English

1. a, an
2. after
3. again
4. all
5. almost
6. also
7. always
8. and
9. because
10. before
11. big
12. but
13. (I) can
14. (I) come
15. either/or
16. (I) find
17. first
18. for
19. friend
20. from
21. (I) go
22. good
23. goodbye
24. happy
25. (I) have
26. he
27. hello
28. here
29. how
30. I
31. (I) am
32. if
33. in
34. (I) know
35. last
36. (I) like
37. little
38. (I) love
39. (I) make
40. many
41. one
42. more
43. most
44. much
45. my
46. new
47. no
48. not
49. now
50. of
51. often
52. on
53. one
54. only
55. or
56. other
57. our
58. out
59. over
60. people
61. place
62. please
63. same
64. (I) see
65. she
66. so
67. some
68. sometimes
69. still
70. such
71. (I) tell
72. thank you
73. that
74. the
75. their
76. them
77. then
78. there is
79. they
80. thing
81. (I) think
82. this
83. time
84. to
85. under
86. up
87. us
88. (I) use
89. very
90. we
91. what
92. when
93. where
94. which
95. who
96. why
97. with
98. yes
99. you
100. your

If you can focus on familiarizing, or better yet embedding these words for the desired foreign language in your memory, you’ve covered about 1/2 of what you’ll need to use when having a conversation.

Beyond the 500 most common words, you should make the decision by your desired subject matter.
Ask yourself “How will you be using the language?”

2. Start memorizing 30 words and phrases per day

Why 30? Because in 90 days, you’ll have learned 80% of the language.

Knowing 80% of the occurrences is sufficient enough to reach conversation fluency, with the ability to have a fluid conversation with any native speaker you encounter.

This great article talks about the number of words in the Russian language.

the 75 most common words make up 40% of occurrences
the 200 most common words make up 50% of occurrences
the 524 most common words make up 60% of occurrences
the 1257 most common words make up 70% of occurrences
the 2925 most common words make up 80% of occurrences
the 7444 most common words make up 90% of occurrences
the 13374 most common words make up 95% of occurrences
the 25508 most common words make up 99% of occurrences

This may vary depending on the language you’re targeting, but you can expect it to be around this range.

In order to speed up the memorization process, we recommend you use a technique called Mnemonics.

Mnemonic’ is another word for memory tool. Mnemonics are techniques for remembering information that is otherwise quite difficult to recall.

A popular mnemonics that most of us were taught in school

3. Work with a language coach

Whatever goal you have in life – health, love, business – having a coach can not only guarantee you reach your goal, but it will accelerate your goal.

This is why the top-performers in any aspect of life, pay tens of thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars to have a dedicated coach that works with them. It makes sense because having a coach saves them years of struggle and has a direct return on accelerating their achievements.

Language learning is no different.

Having a native speaking professional, who is dedicated to helping you reach your goals is pivotable to your progress, especially when they know your personal goals, learning style, and knowledge gaps. Maybe you need someone to explain specific grammar rules that you’re struggling with, or sentence structures that can be corrected with a simple exercise.

Once you have the basic foundation of the language, you need someone to play catch with (i.e. practice speaking the language and receive immediate feedback). Your language coach can have a deeper conversation with you on a regular basis, and unlike a normal conversation partner, they have the professional experience to recognize the same patterns of mistakes you’re making, and put you in the right path. Get started with your personal language coach for as little as a $1 a day.

4. Schedule it

The #1 rule to efficiency and productivity: scheduling.

Language learning is about building a new habit, and forming habits come from weekly, if not daily, rituals.

With a simple tool like Google Calendar, you can set organize your day around your learning schedule.
It can be as little as 15-30 minutes in the morning before your work, or during lunch hours.

scheduling google calendar

Google Calendar will also set reminders for you, and you can have this integrated into your phone.

The app that we recommend is CalenMob, their friendly UX and interface is intuitive and straightforward to use.

Link to download CalenMob on iTunes

Link to download CalenMob on Google Play

With 45-60 minute a day and the right techniques, you have the abilities to memorize 30 words per day.

5. Immerse yourself 

By Day 60 (around 1,800 words), you’ve probably reached a point where you can understand basic conversation.

This is when you should think and talk in the foreign language as much as possible.

At the bare minimum, immersing yourself starts with working with your native speaking language coach on a weekly basis to familarize yourself with conversation style, tone, timing, and even learning cultural slangs (this will truly set you apart from foreigners).

Take it further, and start watching movies and TV shows with Spanish subtitles. Netflix provides subtitles for multiple languages which you can access (we’re not affiliated with Netflix). After a few movies, you’ll notice similar patterns of expressions that the characters use, but translated into conversation style. Keep in mind that expressions in other foreign languages are not always a direct translation of what you would say in English.

This is important to note because most of us think in our native language and perform a direct translation when speaking a foreign language.

You could even download some podcasts or audiobooks that are in your foreign language, whether it’s solely for entertainment or for language learning. It may be difficult at first, but the mere exposure to hearing people have a conversation can be powerful in familarizing yourself and triggering memories in your brain.

As we mentioned in the beginning, adherence is critical in immersing yourself in the foreign language.
And the best way to do this is to avoid creating unexisting obstacles in your daily routine.

If you watch action movies regularly, continue watching action movies, with subtitles.
If you enjoy reading about basketball highlights, read about baskeball highlights in Spanish.
If comedy is your thing, don’t listen to boring vocabulary tapes, keep enjoying comedy in your foreign language.

To summarize: build language learning around your lifestyle, rather than building your lifestyle around language learning.

We hope this piece contributed in any way possible in your language learning journey, and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

If you want to join our free email course on how to learn a new language in 90 days, click here to join!

Sean is the CEO of Rype (24/7 unlimited private language lessons for busy people). He loves to travel while investing in & building businesses.

  • Zakaria

    Great article, extremely well written.

    • Sean Kim

      Gee, thanks Zakaria! We also saw that you booked a free trial lesson with us. See you inside the family soon!

  • Joe

    Pretty much copy pasted Tim Ferris + Benny Lewis post. Great content, and good additions of your own, give credit to the original 😉

    • Great point, we often write so many articles (guest post + blog posts) that we miss these. You’ll see in our other posts, that we always give reference to our sources. Thanks!

  • Learning words by optimising, as you suggest, may work to pick up the very basics – and it may indeed be a sensible way to do it. You will, however, needs to read longer texts or interact with speakers on a sustained basis in order to pick up more vocabulary and be able to understand native content. We have been working on the former, i.e. reading, for example, at

    • Sean Kim

      That’s great Linas, definitely agree this is not enough. Which is why we suggest our audience to work with a private coach!

  • Marc

    Hey all… for a complete method to learn any language on your own, I found this website which isn’t bad: