Ten Tips for Learning Languages

4 min read

Want to learn a new language but not sure where to start? Looking to broaden your personal, professional, and cultural horizons through new languages? Well, here I am to encourage you because it’s time to challenge your intelligence and explore new ways of perceiving the world! Please don’t hold back and hesitate because I assure you that you can learn and express yourself in another language. The proof? You learned your native language when you were little, tiny.

So, stick around, and I’ll tell you how to make it happen!

Take a look around and pay attention to children because they will give you the key to learning another language. First, a baby appears captivated by a world of sounds they can’t decipher. Still, gradually, they start connecting those sounds to objects and concepts. Language acquisition in little ones follows a predictable sequence: in the first six months, there’s babbling and cooing, first words emerge around the age of one, vocabulary explodes around two, grammar and structure develop between ages 2-3, and linguistic skills continue to improve as they grow. The pace of learning varies among children, but it’s clear that interaction with adults and other children is crucial for their linguistic development.

Now, you might say, “Sure, but a baby has a blank, adaptable, and absorbent brain, capable of learning any language effortlessly through play.” And that’s true. However, the process is the same: first, passive acquisition of vocabulary and grammar, then you start speaking, even if it’s awkward, with imperfect pronunciation, without conjugating verbs, and using a telegram style of communication. “Want water,” “where bus,” “how much product cost”… like the Yodah…. 

The key to learning any language is to dare, take the plunge, feel no shame, get your message across in any way possible, and interact with other speakers. I have good news for you. You no longer need money to practice a foreign language, meaning you don’t have to travel to the corresponding country and live there for some time. It’s no longer necessary. So, hang on because I’ll tell you later where to efficiently practice a foreign language at zero cost.

But first, listen to the ten tips I will give you to achieve the goal of learning another language…

1. Set Specific Goals

Establish clear and specific goals before starting. For example, “I want to be able to hold a basic conversation in French in six months” or “I need to improve my English skills for my job.”

2. Choose a Motivating Language

Learning a new language requires time and dedication, so pick a language that interests you. If you’re into the culture and music of a particular country, that could be a great starting point. But also if you have a significant other who speaks the language you want to learn.

3. Language Immersion

Immerse yourself in the language as much as possible. Listen to music, watch movies, series, or TV shows in that language. This will help you get used to the sounds and rhythms of the language. For example, listen to a simple podcast before bedtime. My favorite in German is Slow German. It improved my comprehension and, over time, even helped me fall asleep with a newly learned German phrase.

4. Online Classes or Resources

Consider taking online classes or using resources. Platforms like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, or Coursera offer quality language courses. Use mobile apps like Memrise or Anki to practice vocabulary and remember new words effectively.

5. Read and Write Regularly

Read books, newspapers, or blogs in the language you’re learning. Try writing diaries or messages in that language to enhance your writing skills. Back in college, I covered my room with Post-It notes featuring words and phrases in German.

6. Establish a Study Schedule

Dedicate time consistently to studying the language. A consistent schedule will help you maintain steady progress. Learning a language involves many hours. The more time you dedicate, the better results you’ll achieve. A consistent schedule will help you maintain steady progress. For example, two hours every day. Four on weekends, and so on

7. It must become an obsession

Learning a foreign language is different from studying any regular subject. A language must become almost an obsession. It’s not so much about memorizing and storing words and structures but about living the language and perceiving through it… for example, how would this be said in Chinese, I’ll repeat it again and again until it sticks…

8. Don’t Fear Making Mistakes

Don’t be afraid to speak and make mistakes. Errors are a natural part of the learning process and will help you improve.

9. Patience and Persistence

Learning a new language takes time, so be patient with yourself. Celebrate your achievements, even the small ones, and maintain a positive attitude throughout the process.

Example: If you decide to learn French and your goal is to be able to communicate on a trip to France in six months, you could start by taking online classes twice a week, watching shows in French during your free time, joining conversation groups in French, and keeping a journal in which you write your thoughts in French. Don’t forget to celebrate each milestone, like when you can order a meal in French at a local restaurant.

You’re ready to start speaking if you’ve done your homework, followed a method, and learned at least 200 words. So, here’s the most crucial tip…

10. Practice Conversation

Oral practice is essential. Learning a language without speaking to others is like learning to swim without getting wet. It’s pointless. So, find a language exchange partner or join conversation groups in your area. If that’s not possible, don’t worry. As promised, here’s a list of free apps to connect with native speakers or other learners like you.

1. HelloTalk: Allows you to speak with native speakers of over 150 different languages. The app allows users to communicate through text, voice calls, or video calls to facilitate interaction and learning.

2. Tandem: Connects you with native speakers worldwide, so you can practice your language skills. You can chat, make voice and video calls, and send audio and text messages.

3. Busuu: Offers online language courses and allows you to interact with native speakers of the language you’re learning. The app offers a variety of languages, from the most popular, like English, Spanish, and French to less common ones, like Turkish and Arabic.

4. Speaky: Allows you to converse with native speakers worldwide to achieve fluency in the language you’re studying. You can chat, make voice and video calls, and send audio and text messages.

So, what are you waiting for? Learning a language has never been so easy and affordable. All you need to do is put in some effort, time, and, most importantly, dare to practice. The reward of being able to express yourself in another language is priceless.

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