6 Tips on Learning a New Language

Here are some tips on learning a new language that worked for me and for tons of my own students:

1. Have A Positive Attitude

Have a positive attitude towards learning a new language is key to your success.  Believe that you will conquer it and desire to conquer it. Decide what is the specific reason for your learning the language you chose, and strive towards that goal. As anything else you do in life, when learning a new language you should have a big enough motivation for doing so or you will get no where. The hardships along the way will distract you.

Most of the time young people study a foreign language just to fulfill school requirements. Others consider their own language hard enough , and don’t have any motivation for learning a different language. Still, others want to learn a new language, but don’t want to make any effort. These are the perfect ingredients for failure.

2. Stay Focused!

Remember, stay focused! Make up a schedule and follow it daily. Dedicate at least an hour of your day to the new language. Learn new stuff every day for at least twenty minutes, then, review it for ten minutes. Do fun things with the rest of your time. Be sure to use all of your language abilities: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Be creative! Find an interesting site online where you can put at least three of those into practice. After you do the listening you can pause and repeat it. If possible, use a mirror. If watching a video, imitate the facial gestures of the speaker when repeating what he says.

3. Learn New Vocabulary

As you learn new vocabulary, physically label everything you can in the house with the new words instead of making  the traditional flash cards. If the words in the target language have different genders, learn the proper article that goes with each word.  And every time you look at an object and see the label, you will associate the object to the word in the target language without having to translate it.  And you can say the words to yourself either silently or out loud. I suggest that you say them out loud, so you can hear yourself speaking the new language.

Learn whole expressions in the target and know their equivalent in your language instead of translating them word for word.  

Practice the new vocabulary! Repeat after listening to them until you feel comfortable with them. Then, talk to yourself, talk to the mirror, talk to friends, join a language forum and find someone who speaks that language and who’s willing to practice it with you.

4. Don’t Be Self-conscious

Don’t be self-conscious about making mistakes, after all mistakes are part of learning. Just be alert to recognize the mistake, what the correction it, and repeat it until you feel confident about it. Do your best to remember the correction next time you that word, expression or sentence. And most importantly, don’t let any hiccup stop you!

5. Don’t Worry About Your Accent

Don’t worry about your accent. Anyone who learns a foreign language will always have some kind of accent, some more some less. The only people who usually don’t have an accent are children who are born bilingual. That happens because they learn two languages at the same time as they grow up; one at home with their parents, and the other in the community and at school. They usually have no accent in either language. However, I have seen exceptions. 

6. Immerse Yourself In The New Language

Immerse yourself in the new language as much as possible: watch a lot of TV and movies; listen to music, read, and most of all, find ways to use the target language. Watching children’s programs and reading children’s books could be very helpful at the beginning. As you improve, you can graduate to watching more age appropriate programs on TV including the news.  If you’re already living in the country of the target  language, you can consider hiring a professional language teacher to help you speed up the process. As you use the new language, it will become a natural part of your active vocabulary.

 Don Quixote_opt

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