Learning a new language can prove to be beneficial in more ways than one; not only will you be able to communicate with locals when you’re traveling to the place where the language is spoken but it might open up a world of job opportunities for you. Besides, you get to make an impression on your friends and family (Believe me, that’s the most thrilling part). Learning a new language makes you a better learner over all (more on that in a later post); you also develop a new perspective to look at your own culture, your own mother tongue.
Listed below are some of the tried and tested ways to learn a new language in a competent manner. I’ve personally tried all of them and they’ve worked out very well for me. Hope they help you too 😀
1. Know why you’re doing it & set a goal for yourself
Why do you want to learn a particular language? Why German, why not Mandarin Chinese? Is it because you’re traveling to Germany this summer or because you want to apply for a job opening at your dream company? Being conscious of the objective behind learning anything is a sure shot way to keep yourself motivated during the process. Set a goal for yourself and push yourself to reach it.
2. Learn it with a friend, maybe?
You’re often bored to go to class all by yourself? You can’t muster up the courage to speak up in class? Find a friend who is interested in learning a language and keep each other motivated. You can practice your newly acquired skills with them, participate in cultural activities happening in your city and even travel together! Learning with a partner will certify that you have at least one other person to practice the language with.
3. Change the language setting on your phone
This, I promise, is the best way to pick up new words and phrases on the quotidian. In today’s day and age, when we’re perpetually glued to our phones and computer screens, there could be no better technique to learn something whilst spending precious time browsing Instagram and Facebook.
4. Listen to music & the radio
This is going to help you keep up with the actualities in the country whilst building your verbal and auditory skills. Also you get to listen to some really good music! 😀
5. Watch local TV shows & movies
Thanks to Netflix, we have very easy access to all kinds of shows (available in many languages). You can watch your favorite show (I binge watched all 4 seasons of Orange Is The New Black in French ) in Spanish, French or German (WITH SUBTITLES!!! YESSSSS) or you could watch local shows eg. Narcos (LOVE IT!!!). Moreover, you can now watch some of the best classics in foreign languages without being lost in translation. You get an insight into the culture of the place, you learn really cool ways to speak (in different regional accents) and a lot of colloquial slang! So, if you are going to spend all weekend Netflixing & Chilling, you may as well make the best of it and actually learn something.
6. Talk to yourself
This may sound silly, but we talk to ourselves all the time. Now, the next time you’re thinking about what to wear to the Christmas party or when you’re rehearsing what to say to your crush, think in the language you’re learning. Replace the words you don’t know with English or whatever other language you use to think.
7. Pay attention to grammar
Learning the grammar of a new language may seem very tedious and often frustrating; what with all the similar looking conjugations for different tenses and tens of types of pronouns that you never realized existed in any language. But if you want to be proficient, grammar plays a pivotal role. You want to be taken seriously and be fluent when writing a formal letter for a job or having an important conversation with autochthones.
P.S.Grammar can be made very interesting using games,quizzes and other fun ways to learn it. 😀
8. Converse with native speakers
You used to have to travel to really put your language skills to use. Now all you need is a smartphone, an internet connection, and a sense of adventure. 😀 Welcome to Tandem *drumroll*. I first came across Tandem a year ago when I was learning Spanish and Portuguese and I jumped right into it. Tandem, available on both iOS and Android, is an application where you can practice your language skills (chat / voice call / video chat) with indigenous speakers of all languages under the sun whilst teaching them your very own mother tongue, if you like! (*excitement level 101*) You can also hire tutors at very affordable rates for a one-to-one lesson on a topic of your choice. Could it BE any easier?!
9. Get out of your comfort zone
Let go of any inhibitions. Embrace your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers you hear speaking the language you’re learning out of fear of committing errors. In fact, strike up a conversation with them! They will be appreciative of you trying and this will be a huge boost in confidence. Participate in cultural activities happening in and around your city. You’ll end up meeting like minded people you can practice your language skills with.
10. Have fun with the language
Use post-its to label common objects in your house in this new language eg.tables, chairs, kitchen appliances, etc. The more you see it, the easier it gets to memorize. Record yourself singing songs in the new language, go to karaoke bars, document your thoughts! The more you invite a language into your daily life, the more your brain will consider it useful and actually care about it.
Which languages do you speak? Do you know of any other methods to learn languages? Please comment below. 🙂
P.S. Don’t forget to learn your mother tongue first! 😀