Learning a foreign language is a must in today’s world. It doesn’t only help you to develop new career options and communicate with people from all over the world, but it also expands your mind and cultivates creativity.
You can keep saying that you don’t have enough time, or that it’s too difficult to remember words in a foreign language, or you can simply start learning it. It’s never a waste of time. If you want to start learning a foreign language and give your brain a boost, check out these tips:
Make a Plan
A lot of people find it difficult to stay motivated while learning a foreign language. If you don’t want to give up on your way, set up clear goals for yourself. Take all the available materials (books, podcasts, online lessons, etc.), and create a learning plan. To learn a new language faster, make the studying process a part of your daily routine.
Polyglots are not gifted, they are hard-working. As you can understand, it’s not about talent. It’s all about making an effective plan and sticking to it.
Make sure to set an ultimate goal for yourself. Ask yourself one question, “Why do I want to speak this language?’. The answer to this question should motivate you to keep going, no matter what. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses and you will succeed.
In order to express yourself and understand others, you should start building your vocabulary. Learning new words can be pretty exciting. For instance, you can play Scrabble with other students or native speakers. At the very beginning, you might need to use a dictionary or unscramblex to play the board game. Later, you should try playing without assistance.
To build your vocabulary from scratch, you should put language stickers with new words all over your apartment. Also, you should start reading books in a foreign language. At the very beginning, it’s better to choose books for kids since they contain illustrations (it can help you understand the text better).
Listening alone can be difficult for beginners. That’s why it’s recommended to watch movies with subtitles in a foreign language. At any moment, you will be able to stop the film and translate certain words. Once you feel comfortable enough, you can turn off the subtitles and focus on improving your listening skills.
Improve Listening Skills
Listening comprehension is more important than grammar and spelling. If you can speak (at least you think you can), but you can’t understand what others say, it’s a big problem. Of course, in the beginning, listening to something you don’t understand can be annoying and frustrating.
That’s why you should carefully choose what to listen to. For instance, you can watch your favourite movies in a foreign language. Or, you can listen to a podcast on your way to work. Other people might speak too fast or use a lot of slang, but it shouldn’t discourage you. Keep in mind, at some point, you will understand what they are speaking about. Now, you just need to give it some time.
A lot of students think that they will be able to speak once they expand their vocabulary and learn every grammar rule. Look at toddlers – they don’t know any rules, they just say everything they know. You should have the same approach when learning a foreign language.
At first, start talking in a foreign language to yourself (even though all you know is ‘hello, have a nice day’). Also, start reading out loud and get used to new sounds. If you listen to podcasts or watch a movie in a foreign language, make sure to pause it and repeat full sentences, and try to copy the tone.
Once you know at least some basic nouns and verbs, you can start a conversation with another person. Find someone who speaks the language very well and then offer them a language exchange. If you can’t find anyone in your city, go online. You can have language exchange classes on Skype. Also, consider finding a tutor. Once again, it’s better to study with native speakers. You can easily find them on Facebook and different language learning platforms.
You shouldn’t be afraid to speak a foreign language with native speakers. You have the right to make a mistake because you are learning. Consider one-on-one meetings at the beginning. It can give you a chance to control the speed of the conversation and ask questions. Keep in mind, some people are less patient than the others. Not every native speaker will be eager to explain to you some grammar rules or the meaning of the word. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t take this personally.
The Bottom Line
In order to learn a foreign language fast, set yourself realistic mini-missions, and create a schedule. You should improve your listening comprehension and build vocabulary to express yourself freely. Try to immerse yourself in a foreign language totally – listen to podcasts, watch movies, read books, and follow foreigners on social media.