If you’ve ever wondered how to learn a foreign language, this article is for you. Consider this: Your best way to learn a foreign language may be the opposite of the usual way!
The most important element is desire. Is this something you really “want” to do? Maybe it’s something you really “need” to do, like for your job. For example, maybe you way to qualify for arm foreign language proficiency pay. What is your motivation?
Second, you need to focus on communication. Yes, studying is critical, so as to learn and understand the grammar and vocabulary. However, the sooner you apply those elements in real-life situations, the better.
Find Your Sweet Spot for Learning
You may be thinking, how can I find time, this process must take time, and I’m already busy. Again, I circle back to your desire – is this really something you want or need to do? We all have leisure time, or down time, whether we’re commuting to work, hitting the snooze button to stay in bed just a few minutes longer, or watching television to wind down after a long day.
This “leisure time” can look different for each of us, but we all have it. Perhaps you have a desk job and your definition of leisure is to be out running, hiking or being active. Or perhaps your day job is outside and physical, and you yearn for a book on the couch in your free time. Define those pockets of time not already full with other things like work or sleep. Those are the times you utilize to fuel your desire to learn another language.
Language Learning Tips
Here are some tips to get you started on your way to learning another language. All these ideas interrelate, and together they will all help you succeed with this new adventure.
Tip #1: Make a plan
Set aside time to learn every day, those pockets of time you just thought through. Find a learning program which fits into that time — whether it’s driving, running or walking, reading in your recliner, or sitting at your computer.
Even if it’s only ten minutes a day – you are moving in the right direction to establishing a new pattern. You may find it tedious at first and you may want to give up, but stick with it. You may need to readjust your plan to accommodate your schedule, but do not stop. Having a plan and sticking to it is the first step to success.
Tip #2: Organize your time
Organizing your time may benefit you in more areas than just learning a new language. We often don’t realize that we actually have much more free time than we think. Be flexible and creative. Maybe you’re a visual person and need to write out a schedule on a calendar. You can juggle your time; you can make room for something that you desire.
Tip #3: Keep it regular
Make sure you dedicate some time every day to language learning. If you skip a day, you may lose a little of what you learned. Especially in the early days, being regular helps set the routine, and also your learning will be stronger and more sustained.
If you learn ten new words on Monday, review them on Tuesday for a few minutes before learning new words. Then progress to learn ten more, and review those on Wednesday, etc. Over time, the information will begin to take hold in your brain and you’ll gain more confidence over time in using it. Soon you’ll have a routine – but the important thing is to sustain and maintain!
Tip #4: Make it fun
Find ways to challenge yourself or be creative in your learning. Some people have great success with using a variety of different modes. Don’t limit yourself. When you acquired your first language, chances are your parents helped make it fun.
Maybe you want to watch a movie in that foreign language (make sure you have subtitles at first). Maybe you want to try to read a book (I’d suggest a children’s book at first with more simple language). The idea here is to supplement your learning to keep it fun and fresh.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything at first. It will take time. The key is to surround yourself with the sounds, inflections and other nuances of the spoken language.
Tip #5: Try Using It
What’s the point in learning a language if you’re not going to use it? There are many ways you can find to put your new language into practice. Set a goal, and plan a time when you will meet and talk with a native speaker. [Conversation Countdown will lead you through the steps to making this happen].
Don’t wait until you feel your skills are “perfect”. Mistakes are part of the learning process. It’s alright to make mistakes! If you don’t use it, you are defeating your own objective to learn.
Who better to help you learn where you can improve than to talk to a native speaker…live! [ITALKI provides the perfect platform for this task.] This is the best way to retain the information and become comfortable speaking. You’re using several different techniques at once: speaking, listening, getting immediate live feedback, and immersing yourself in the language and culture.
Tip #6: Stay focused
Don’t forget why you started this process in the first place. Rekindle your desire. Remember you don’t run a marathon without training – working up to it by running a little bit each day. You have to train for this too. If you put in the time, you will be able to do it. The more you believe in yourself, the more you remain focused.
Tip #7: Reward yourself
As you set goals and reach them – celebrate! It might sound a little bit indulgent, but you deserve it! If you made a plan and stuck with it to reach a goal, there’s nothing wrong with patting yourself on the back or maybe even taking a trip to the country you’ve been dreaming of. Language learning is not easy; it takes commitment, and you deserve to enjoy your milestones and success!