Need some tips for learning a new language? There are countless perks to being bilingual, from being able to bridge language gaps, to being able to impress employers and your friends with your knowledge of a second language. However, it can be intimidating, because it takes time and dedication. Here are the top tips for learning a new language.
1. Realize That It Will Take Time
The language you are learning was not created in a day, and you cannot learn everything about it in a day. Native speakers of any language do not even know everything about their own language, so do not be too tough on yourself if it takes you a while to master it. Taking your time is one of the best tips for learning a new language that I can give you.
2. Listen to Music
Listening to music in the language you want to learn helps substantially, and it allows you to be exposed to the culture as well. When you find songs in that language, make sure to look at the lyrics as you listen, and try to sing along to help you with your pronunciation. Keep in mind, you cannot translate a song literally, because it will lose its artistic meaning, but you can get a rough idea of what the song is saying. The more you listen to a song over and over, the better you will understand it and can sing along, so find catchy ones!
3. Watch Shows
You can find shows in the language you want to learn, and have the captions IN THAT LANGUAGE! Yes, you will be tempted to put them in your native language, but if the captions are in the language you want to learn, you can tune your ear on how the actors pronounce words, and understand what they are saying. You can always pause the show to look up any words you do not know (another reason why captions are helpful), but with most tv shows, you can use context clues of what is happening in the scene to figure out what they are saying.
4. Talk as Much as Possible
Even if you are not in an area where people speak the language you are trying to learn, speak that language to your close friends and family. They will force you to translate what you are saying to them, allowing you more practice to switch from your native language to a new language.
5. Read Easy Books
Find novels that are low reading levels (even children books, if you completely have no foundation in that language), and circle or highlight the words and phrases that you do not know. Then look up what they mean, and re-read the book with your newly found knowledge. WARNING: Do not look up phrases longer than a sentence, because Google translate can only translate so much before it messes up and gets it wrong, which is why you want to start off with very easy books where you would not have to translate much.
6. Find Workbooks
Go to your local bookstore and find workbooks in the language that you are learning. This way you are given a starting point and a curriculum to follow. The workbook will enable you to work on your writing skills in that language, which is important because when you speak you can get away with mistakes, but when you write a language, any spelling or grammar mistakes are blatantly obvious
7. Get a Better Understanding of Your Native Language
The best way to learn a new language is to learn an aspect of your own language, and then translate that to the language you are trying to learn. For example, study what verbs are, and how they work in your language, and then figure out how they are used in another language. While it makes the concepts you learn easier to grasp, it also enhances the control and understanding you have in your native language.
8. Think in That Language
When you are looking at various objects, think to yourself what they are called in the language you are learning, and if you do not know what it is called, look it up. When you count, count in that other language. Get to the point where people may speak to you in your native language, but translate what they are saying to the second language in your head. Forcing your brain to work overtime will sharpen it up, and immerse you deeper into whatever you are learning.
If possible, go a place where that language is prominently spoken, and listen to the people around you as they speak it. If you feel bold enough, even try to strike up a conversation with someone. However, if nowhere near you that language is spoken, and you cannot afford you travel, find websites that allow you to talk to native speakers of that country and strike up a conversation with them. But if you can, immersion is the best way of learning a new language, because you have to learn it out of survival.
10. Have Others Learn with You
Learning a new language does not have to be a solo personal journey. It is more fun to embark on the journey of learning a new language with friends or family, that way you can hold each other accountable, as well as practice that language together.