Tips and Tricks for Learning a New Language
Learning a new language has many advantages, including making you more competitive in the job market, helping you discover new cultures and meet interesting people, as well as keep your brain sharp all throughout your life. In addition, speaking a different language can change the way you see the world, expand your horizons, and help you shift your perspective as you switch and forth between different languages. To put it simply, learning a new language is one of the most rewarding and enriching skills you can acquire. So, what is holding you back from picking up another language or two? After all, you are already completely fluent in one language, so you certainly have what it takes to learn another one. Here are some tips and tricks to make the process easier and more fun:
1. Start with the most common words
Dos cervezas, por favor! The most common words of any language are also the most useful ones, and learning them can help you get a jump start on tackling a new language. For example, in the English language, the 300 most commonly used words also make up about 65% of the all written material. Building a basic vocabulary will be of great help to you when learning a new language because even if you will not be able to understand each word of every sentence, you will be able to pick out key words and extrapolate the general meaning. Here is a useful trick to retaining new vocabulary in your memory: each time you learn a new word, try to use it in a sentence right away, and then again, as soon as an opportunity presents itself.
2. Be consistent
Language learning is based on repetition. In order to see an improvement in learning a new language, making a consistent effort is key. The best way to stay consistent in your endeavor to learn a new language is to make its practice into a daily habit. From watching a film or reading the news in the language you are trying to learn, to speaking it with your friends or colleagues, there are many ways to incorporate practicing another language into your daily routine. In today’s modern world of technology, acquiring new language skills every day is easier than ever. There are many free online tools and mobile apps to help you reach your goals, and also turn the learning process into a fun game. So, use it or lose it!
3. Embrace making mistakes
Making mistakes is an unavoidable and necessary part of the process of learning a new language, and can make you feel discouraged, awkward or even intimidated when practicing your language skills. However, making mistakes when learning a new language is actually a good thing — every time you make a mistake, you learn something new! Look at it this way: the more mistakes you make, the more you learn. Embracing mistakes as learning tools is important for helping you to understand the rules and the limits of a new language. And, if you are still feeling shy about the way you pronounce words in your new language, rest assured that the native speakers will probably find your mistakes endearing and appreciate the effort you are investing into learning their language. Just remember: without mistakes, there is no progress.
4. Try language exchange
Finding language exchange partners is a great way to not only learn and practice a new language, but also make new friends. Learning from a book has its benefits, but practicing your conversation skills with a native speaker is will take your language game to a whole new level! Having real, face-to-face interaction with a native speaker will help you perfect your spoken skills and pronunciation, and will keep you motivated. So, how do you find a language exchange partner? First, you may want to try looking for language clubs in your own community. In addition, there are many online language exchange communities and forums that can help match you up with someone who wants to learn your language. The more you speak, the quicker you will improve.
5. Visit a country where the language you are learning is spoken
What better way to make progress in learning a new language than to immerse yourself in the environment where it is spoken? Interacting with locals and enjoying a new culture provides an excellent opportunity to boost your language skills while making unforgettable travel memories. A change of environment will expand your worldview, and also force you to get out of your comfort zone, forcing you to speak in your new language while improving your grammar, vocabulary and knowledge of the local culture. By traveling to another country where the language you are learning is spoken, you take the courageous step of putting yourself in a situation where growth is inevitable and you have no choice but to use your other language, thereby exponentially accelerating your learning process.
Eugenia Petoukhov is a Canadian-based researcher and scientific writer. She is particularly interested in the inner workings of the brain, as well as in molecular and experimental medicine.
Hi! We’re Team Neuro, aficionados of all things brain-related, from creativity to working out. With backgrounds in art, science, and athletics, we love delving into all the potentials of the human body.
We also created the world’s first sugar-free nootropic energy gum that utilizes the effects of caffeine and L-theanine, made to help you optimize your mind — anywhere, anytime. Find out more here.