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15 Tips For Learning a New Language

One of my 2018 goals is to learn a language and stick to it! I’ve often flip-flopped between which language to learn and how to go about it, and I’m now going to start taking it seriously. So, in my time learning languages, I’ve picked up on some tips that make it easier and more enjoyable!

I find it’s imperative to know why you’re learning a new language in the first place! If your reason is something serious and achievable, then it's going to keep you motivated in the times you feel like quitting. The language I’m currently learning is Korean and my reason for this is so I can be able to speak and read it when I eventually visit! This keeps me motivated for the days I don’t feel like it’s possible to learn it.

This is the second most important tip, and that is to be consistent and frequent. You have to make sure you have a schedule in place to make sure you’re not going for long periods without learning anything at all! Even if you can only spare 2 days a week, make sure those two days are very productive with your language learning. Being consistent and frequent ensures you retain a lot of information and you don’t forget it.

Learn vocabulary early on! Trust me on this; nothing is worse than understanding the grammar but not the vocabulary. I recommend a separate notebook for your vocabulary because it makes it easier to review everything afterwards. Also, learn vocab that you’re going to actually use. There’s no use knowing words to do with business if you don’t even do business or talk about it in your daily life. Useful vocabulary is food, animals, colours, jobs etc.

Learn words that are always popping up in your target language. This will make sure you have a good base for you to make simple sentences and understand simple sentences too.

If you’ve taken a GCSE language, I’m sure your teachers have told you this over and over again, but it’s true! Don’t get me wrong; Translate is great if you want to translate a word or small phrase because it can do that pretty accurately. But, if you want to enter an entire paragraph in there, don’t expect 100% accuracy. You don’t get the nuances that are in your target language and… honestly have you ever heard of anyone becoming fluent in anything by using Translate??

Get out there and make some Spanish speaking friends, or Chinese speaking friends, or German speaking friends! Just make sure you go about it in the same way you’d make any other friends! If someone knows you only want to be friends with them just so you can learn their language, they’re gonna be put off by you, so make sure you’re genuine with it. Having friends that speak your target language can make learning it easier because it’s one way to immerse yourself in the language and learn how the natives speak it by learning slang and all the nuances.

If you are unable to make friends in your target language, then the next best thing is to use an app! Duolingo is a great app that has a lot of different languages, and encourages daily learning to retain as much information as possible. Another great app is Memrise which teaches you essential grammar and vocabulary. HiNative is another amazing app that connects you to native speakers around the world. You can ask them questions and get corrections, while they try to learn your language too! How great is that?! Definitely search around for some apps that can try to help you out with learning your language.

If you really immerse yourself in your target language, you’re gonna improve at a faster rate than if you don’t take any steps to do so at all. I listen to Korean music, and watch Korean movies and TV shows because it honestly helps with retaining and testing all the vocab and grammar I’m learning. If you also want to, books and newspapers are a great way to immerse yourself too. When I did GCSE Spanish, I changed my phone language to Spanish and read Spanish newspapers, and it helped with learning new words and testing old ones. Give it a try and I guarantee it will work for you!

If you really want to shock your system, then literally immerse yourself and go visit the country! If you’re surrounded by people who don’t speak the same language as you, you’re gonna be forced to learn the same language as them! If you can take a few months (or if you’re lucky, a whole year!), then go out and live in the country and learn as much as you can. It’s something I would seriously love to do one day!

It may sound weird, but speaking to yourself can actually help you remember everything you’ve learned! I speak to myself in Korean and sometimes Spanish to help me retain all of the information I’m learning. You may feel really weird but just take some time to read something out loud in whatever language you’re learning and see how you improve!

If you search up the word bailamos in a Spanish dictionary, it won’t come up! What you have to do is look for the unconjugated form of bailamos, which is bailar and then conjugate it yourself. This is the same for a lot of other languages too, so make sure you understand conjugation in order to search it up! Learning how the dictionaries work will make it easier to use, so do this as early on as possible!

If teaching yourself a new language is too difficult, then taking a class may be a better option for you. They’re more structured and you get taught by someone who’s either a native speaker, or they’ve been in your position and now they’re fluent! It’s definitely a viable option and if you live near language classes for beginners, definitely take advantage of the opportunity!

If I had a £1 coin for every time someone had something negative to say about me learning Korean, I’d be rich! Try to push out any discouraging comments from people who don’t have anything nice to say about you because at the end of the end of the day, who’s gonna be fluent in a new language?? Not them!

You learn from mistakes! If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not gonna learn anything! If you pronounce something strangely, or you use the wrong grammatical forms then don’t sweat it! Just take it on board and learn from it!

How else are you going to want to learn a new language! If you love the language and culture of the country you’re interested in, then you’re going to succeed regardless of any obstacles. Make sure you’re learning a language you love and fully enjoy yourself while you do it. It may be difficult at the beginning, but 2018 is all about trying new things and getting them done, so have fun with it!

And those are my tips for learning a new language! I hope they help someone out there and if they do, give me a comment telling me what language you’re gonna start learning!