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Top tips for learning a new language

Top tips for learning a new language

Top tips for learning a new language

Are you interested in learning a language, but feel that you aren’t quite ready to take the plunge? 

Learning a foreign language may seem scary at first because it’s completely new and unfamiliar. 

However, it’s not as intimidating as you might think. 

In reality, there are numerous ways around the hurdles of language acquisition, and we’re sharing all of our tricks in this guide to get you started on your language journey ASAP. 

Whether you’re contemplating learning a second language or are already onto your third or fourth, this list of tips is applicable to every type of learner. 

Here are our best ways to learn a language.

1. Determine your motivation.

Learning a new language is really fun. But something you have to get in your head is that it’s not just a new hobby to pick up and drop any time. It’s a complete lifestyle change, so it’s vital that you have the right mindset when learning a foreign language. If you’re moving to a new country, you’ll be more motivated to pick up the mother tongue. If your job requires you to travel and interact with foreign companies, you’ll want to learn different languages and cultural nuances to ensure business deals push through.

Think about why these famous polyglots learned multiple languages. Looking at Audrey Hepburn, one of the reasons why she was such a highly-regarded humanitarian was due to her ability to speak five languages other than English. Meanwhile, Noah Webster learned 20 languages in order to assess the etymology of words for his dictionary. 

It’s amazing what the mind picks up and remembers when you have the right motivation.

2. Set weekly language learning goals.

One of the top tips for learning a language is setting weekly goals. If you want to learn how to become bilingual, you have to make your goals more manageable. While a year can be more than enough time to master a language, having that extended deadline gives you room to slack off since you’re not technically holding yourself accountable until a year later. 

Not only do your goals have to be manageable, but they also have to be measurable in order to learn to speak a foreign language. If you want to give yourself a year to learn a language fluently, make sure you lay out smaller goals between now and then. Having weekly targets ensures that you won’t procrastinate, yet also ensures that you don’t take on too much work at any given time. You can start out with learning 10 new words a week, and then adjust your goals accordingly if you’re up for the challenge. 

Remember, it’s all about manageable and measurable goals.

3. Immerse yourself in the culture.

Admittedly, it was so much easier learning English or your native tongue as a kid. Although learning a language as an adult is more difficult in comparison, it’s also way more exciting. The secret to learning languages is understanding that language is more than just words—acquiring a whole new vernacular means you’re unlocking the door to a whole new culture. 

So if you’re thinking of adding a new language to your list of skills, or maybe wondering how to learn multiple languages at once, you need to create an immersive environment. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to move to a country where your target language is spoken. You just have to immerse yourself in the culture. 

Think food, pop culture, foreign language news stations, podcasts and more. Foreign media opens you up to the world that your target language is intertwined in. 

4. Acknowledge your learning curve.

Listen. There are bound to be bumps on the road. You can be diligently practicing every day, yet still can’t seem to nail a certain grammar concept or remember how to write a specific character. It’s okay. We’ve all been there, and it’ll continue to happen for as long as we’re learning new languages. 

There are days that might seem more difficult than others, especially when you compare your progress with fellow students. And then you’ll wonder if you’ll ever be good at learning languages. 

The answer is yes, but understand that foreign language acquisition doesn’t happen overnight. Despite not witnessing other people’s struggles, know that frustration is normal and is a shared experience. Just keep trying and practicing. Persistence and perseverance will get you through those hurdles. 

And whenever you need help, just ask! One of the most admirable qualities of the perfect language learner is that they’re not afraid to ask for help when they encounter bumps in the road. 

5. Have fun with it!

If you find yourself asking, “Why can’t I learn languages?” chances are that you aren’t enjoying the process. 

Acquiring a new language doesn’t have to be all about textbooks and fluency tests. What people often forget is that you need to have fun learning if you want the language to stick with you in the long run.

Regardless of whether you’ve already made headway in your journey or are still confused about how to start learning a new language, you need to tailor your learning according to your interests. You’re way more likely to remember expressions and words when the subject matter aligns with your hobbies or is relevant to you. If you want to learn a language fluently, apply that language to the things you care about and love. 

Fun means something different to everyone, so don’t feel compelled to turn each study session into a game show. If you love cooking, make some tapas by looking up recipes in Spanish. If you love Netflix, binge-watch a K-drama. If you’re a gamer, follow a Twitch user that speaks your target language.

Brief Source: FluentU