Learning a new language is no easy feat. But it’s more than possible and it can even be a lot of fun. No matter which language you’re trying to learn, from Arabic to Portuguese or Chinese to Hindi, there are a number of helpful tips which will make the process more effective, quick and less strenuous.
Why Do You Want to Learn a New Language?
The first tip is to be confident about your motivation for learning a new language. Are you just doing it for fun or is it in preparation for living in a new country or culture? Do you need to learn the language for work? Finding out your motivation and keeping it in mind as you go through the language learning process will keep your energy up and make sure you are able and willing to commit daily to putting in the work.¹
Jumping Right In
One potentially hard but very rewarding tip is to jump right in to a language by immersing yourself fully in it. This can be done by living in a country where the language is spoken or surrounding yourself with a majority of media, people and lessons in that language so that your daily life becomes necessary to navigate in that language. This is the hard mode of language learning, but if time is of the essence this can definitely speed things up.²
Get to Know the New Culture
One of the best parts of learning a new language is learning about a new culture. This includes new popular music, books, television shows, movies, sports and foods. Try making a recipe from the new language’s culture or reading a children’s book or graphic novel in the new language. Play some music in the background even if you aren’t fully attention and let the new language’s rhythm and words and style seep into you. Even at a subconscious level this can boost your language learning. Watch foreign films with subtitles is also an excellent way to start learning more of the language.³
Having a partner – even online – while you learn a language can be an incredible asset. Whether this is someone you check in with on a daily or weekly basis or attend classes with, having a language learning partner can speed up the process and create a system of mutual motivation, fun conversational practice and better ability to track your progress and form an accountability system.¹
Relax and Have Fun
An important part of language learning is moving at your own pace and enjoying the time you spend learning a new language. Try to learn simple sentences and phrases without worrying overly much about getting 100% accuracy. Occasional mistakes while learning the style, tone and flow of a language are much better than being overly hard on yourself and slowly picking your way through each word with complete accuracy. Once you start to learn more words and phrases the fine-tuning and practice of the details and finer points can start.²
Another important language learning tip is to be realistic. Whether you want to move at a slow or fast pace and whether learning a language is for work and life or for pleasure, set reasonable and modest goals for yourself that are achievable. As you make steps toward fluency you will begin to feel more and more confident and commit more to the process. Whether you start by sticking post-it notes to ten household items per week and learning those words or attending online classes once a week and talking several times a week to a language buddy, you can check off a list of your progress and move forward knowing you are on the right path.³