Tips on how to learn a new language
Learning a new language is undoubtedly one of the best decisions one can make: it improves the way you think, enriches your knowledge and opens so many doors, both personally and professionally. However, many may argue that despite being very useful, it is also a difficult target to reach.
Learning a new language doesn’t have to be tough anymore. Here are some tips that helped me learn languages faster:
1. Start with vocabulary
Grammar is obviously important, but even more crucial is vocabulary. The whole purpose of a language is to be able to communicate and understand other people. Even if the grammar is not always correct, people are still able to understand what you’re trying to say as long as you give them a few keywords. Knowing vocabulary first offers more chances to make yourself understood when trying to speak that specific language.
2. Listen to music in that language
From a personal point of view, I don’t remember actually learning English. Listening to music as a kid, either on YouTube or TV, helped me remember certain words and phrases without even realising it. Constantly hearing the language in the background makes your brain stock certain words in your memory without knowing it. Try leaving the TV on while doing chores around the house and you might pick up vocabulary instinctively!
3. Watch movies in that language with subtitles in a language you can understand
Another good option is to watch movies in the language you are trying to learn using subtitles in a language you can understand. By doing this, you would be able to hear words and translate them at the same time. You will not always remember everything, but the more you do it, the easier it will become to remember vocabulary and expressions!
4. Practise with a friend
Speaking is an essential stage in the process of language learning. The whole act of burning off your brain cells in the course of finding the right words to use in a conversion can be very useful. The more you try, the easier it becomes to find your words the next time. Even if you don’t remember a certain word, replace it with something similar or try to explain it using some words you already know. People will still understand you and it also helps you become more confident about your speaking skills. Find a friend, who can be either on the same level as you are or more advanced, and try carrying everyday conversations in that language.
5. Watch cartoons or children’s shows
Following the same pattern as the above mentioned one, watching cartoons or children’s shows can also prove to be effective. Especially if you are a beginner, children’s shows are slower and explain things better, which might be useful when you are trying to learn the basics of a language.
6. Travel to a country where that language is being spoken
Even though this option is not available to everyone and it might be difficult for some people, it is indeed very helpful. I studied German for a year at university in London, but I only felt confident to speak it and I learned words so much faster while living in Germany for a month. Being surrounded by German people and seeing all the street signs, café menus and subway maps in German truly helped me catch up on my vocabulary.
After that, you can focus more on grammar and complicated structures that you don’t use that often in the usual conversations. Learning a new language is a challenging experience even for the smartest people. Don’t let yourself be discouraged by the scary grammatical structures or sophisticated words. Keep practising and you will surprise yourself eventually when you will realise how smooth this process can be!