I’m quite good at learning new languages, understanding how it works. I’ve always been fascinated with other cultures, with grammar and with vocabulary, and that has really helped me develop my language skills.
Now I must say that everyone is different, react to different methods differently, and learn at different paces. Some people may learn a new language in 6 months, others in 1 year, I’m only going to touch on what has helped me learn new languages.
- Start with grammar. No matter what language I’m learning I need to have a sense of its grammar first. I find that knowing a lot of vocabulary but none of the grammar really demotivates me, as I’m not able to use anything in conversation. Of course I start learning vocabulary shortly after, I just make sure I’m not forgetting the grammar.
- Familiarise yourself with the culture. Knowing the culture and how people act really helps understanding speech patterns and how people react to different situations.
- Watch TV. I cannot stress how important this is. Not only does it help understand the culture, but if you listen to it enough you’ll start getting vocab and phrases you’d never learn from a book. Pro-tip: I’d started watching foreign TV shows with subtitles in your own language. When you feel comfortable, move on to TV shows with subtitles in its original language, this will really help you understand the different accents and improve your spelling. When you understand most of what’s going on, take out the subtitles completely.
- Find a good app/studying tool. Innovative Language is my favourite app for learning new languages and has helped me a lot, offering lessons, lesson notes, flashcards, vocab lists, word of the day, culture insights, etc. It is paid, however (very cheap).
- Find your motivation. You must really want to learn a language, otherwise keeping your motivation up can be hard. Make sure you have a good reason why you want to learn a language – you’re about to move, you’re visiting the country, you love the language, you have a significant other who speaks it, etc. There are many reasons why you’d like to learn a language, just remind yourself.
- Listen to music. And research the lyrics. If it’s songs you love, there are all the more reasons for you to familiarise yourself with the pronunciation and what it means.
- Talk to someone. This one, as a mostly introverted person, I find very hard to fulfil. However, nothing helps you understand the language and improve your accent more than talking to a native and carrying a conversation out.
- Read a lot. Reading a lot helps your vocabulary immensely! Keep reading good books (pro-tip: if you’re just starting out, start by reading kids’ books that you’re familiar with and learn new words that way).
These are just some tips that have helped me. I will write some more here or explain how I learned English in another blog post 😊
What languages do you want to learn?