Learning a new language takes time and effort. Most of all, it takes knowing the right habits in order learn in a productive way and so you don’t forget concepts that might slip your mind. The best thing to do is develop habits or learn some tips that can aid you rather than impede your language-learning journey.
If you are planning on learning a new language this year, we created the ultimate list of actionable tactics to help you to feel more confident along the journey.
19 Actionable Language Learning Tips For Beginners
1. Start out small
If you’ve been planning on learning a new language, you want to take it easy on yourself. It’s often that new language learners tend to feel overwhelmed by the new grammar, vocabulary, and how quickly people speak. Focus on learning the basics and know that it can take years to feel fluent. Starting out small is usually the best language learning tip we can give for success over the long run.
2. Enroll in a class
Even if it is short-term, taking a class or two that focuses on your chosen language can reinforce concepts that you might have difficulty with on your own. Also, hearing vocabulary said aloud and among others can help you recognize how to correctly pronounce words while making friends.
3. Look up words
If you aren’t sure about what a word might mean or how you use it, make sure you take the time to look it up in a pocket dictionary. It’s much more likely that you will forget the word or why it is important to you if you don’t take a second or two to find out its meaning. It’s a good habit to get into so vocabulary sticks with you.
4. Use an app
More and more apps are now available for helping language learners feel good about their new skills. Using them occasionally can help you to keep those new skills fresh—and most of them are a blast, as well.
We’ve got a list of apps for you to check out when you are looking to use technology to fuel your brain.
5. Practice regularly
One of the most important habits you can pick up when learning a new language is to practice on a regular basis. In fact, if you can make it a habit to work on your new skills daily, you’re all the more likely to retain information that can easily be forgotten after putting it off a day or two.
6. Use breaks to use your language-learning skills
We all have a limited amount of time in our day, but knowing how best to use it can help you to fit in some practice that you might not have had otherwise. Consider listening to Spanish tracks on your commute or reading a book in German on your day off. By fitting it into your schedule in odd moments, your new language is likely to become more a part of your life.
7. Use a computer program
Computer programs are becoming more and more popular as students take to technology to learn another language. There are many to choose from, and all have particular strengths and weaknesses. However, they also serve as a good way to take your mind off work and into using your new language.
8. Listen to music
While you may not understand all the slang that fills music in another language, listening to the words spoken can help your brain get used to the idea of hearing new vocabulary and what the language sounds like. Check out some of the top artists who sing in your chosen language and see what the themes and words they use are.
9. Make new friends
Learning to speak a new language is often useless unless you have someone to speak with. Finding friends or conversation exchange groups can help to get you out of your comfort zone and can help you to actually use those skills you’ve been practicing for weeks.
10. Learn some slang
Knowing a language isn’t just about being able to speak it perfectly. While knowing the basics can help you to get around or understand on the surface, being able to have a conversation with locals requires a bit of the local slang and an open mind.
11. Play games
Face it. Sometimes learning a new language can be a little dull. Board games or apps allow you to see your chosen language in a new way. When you’ve picked a fun game to play that helps you to brush up on your skills, you hardly know that you are practicing!
12. Ask questions
One of the biggest problems many students face is not willing to ask enough questions about a difficult topic. If you are confused, one of the best ways to become unconfused is to ask for help or a solution. Ask online, teachers or anyone who you think can provide you with a good answer.
13. Cook the food
Food is such an important part of any culture, and incorporating it into your daily life can not only teach you new vocabulary, but it can also add some excitement and, well, spice to your language-learning. Part of picking up a new language is knowing how to use it.
14. People watch
While you might not always have hours to kill or be located in a place where your new language is spoken, one of the best ways to see and hear it is by watching native speakers. Grab a café, sit for a few minutes, and watch others interact with one another in your chosen language.
15. Find a speaking partner
Having someone who can hold you accountable for how often you speak and how much can be one of the greatest decisions you make. You can only learn so much from a classroom, and meeting someone regularly can help you with your conversation skills.
16. Go abroad
Even if you feel as though you aren’t 100% ready, the best way to develop skills that will last a lifetime is to dive right in. Travel to the foreign country that uses that language. Order in that language at a restaurant or try and make a new friend. Putting yourself in the deep end is often the best way to swim.
17. Make mistakes
It might be embarrassing at times, but making mistakes is often the best way to really learn what you are doing wrong and which skills need improvement. Most native speakers are happy to correct you kindly and help you with any questions you might have.
18. Learn key phrases
Most of us learn in chunks rather than a word at a time, and by memorizing some phrases that you are likely to use on a daily basis, you’ve already made a major leap. Also, once you have these memorized you are likely to push beyond them and find new contexts for them, as well.
19. Speak, speak, speak
Even if it ends up being to yourself, speaking the language is what you are learning a new language for. Try to copy sounds you hear from a foreign movie or speak aloud in class. You could also find a professional language teacher on Rype (free trial link). Whatever you do, make sure you say the words aloud!
We hope these language learning tips are helpful in creating long-lasting language skills that can you can build on for a lifetime!
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