Learning a new language can be a positive or negative experience depending on how you do it. To completely have mastered a language you’ll need to be equally good in listening, reading, writing and speaking. Most learners are on different levels depending on their studying routine and their access to learning material.
Think of learning a language as a journey on a stairway. You have to take all the steps or at least every second or third to reach the top. You can’t just teleport yourself to a different level – you have to work hard to improve as you are progressing up the stairs. Here are a few tips that might help you accelerate that process.
1. Get yourself some sort of media to listen to.
There are radio and television apps all over the app stores. Even if you’re just beginning to learn a language, simply listening to natives speak, is really important. You will be fluent much faster than everybody who studies books all day, since you will pick up many more words, phrases and just the sound and feeling of the language much faster than them.
2. Love YouTube. It is the best that has ever happend to you!
YouTube is a big community that has representatives of all countries and languages you can imagine. Firstly you will find a lot of native speakers of you target language that will get you used to the casual and colloquial part of the language. Secondly you can find tons of learning videos where people explain their language to learners. From grammar to podcasts to audio versions of Harry Potter books – YouTube has them all.
3.Buy books in you target language that you have already read in you native language!
I tried to read Harry Potter in french, which I’m learning at the moment and I was really surprised about how much I understood oder could understand trough the context because I’ve already read the books in English.
4. Read parallel texts
These are really useful. You usually have a page in your language and then a page in the language that you are learning. Like that you don’t necessarily need a dictionary to understand what is going on.
Trough reading you also learn a ton of new vocabulary. Here it isn’t necessary to understand every word. Just look up the pronunciation of your new vocabulary, since it is tricky in some languages and you don’t want to memorize it the wrong way.
5. Use platforms like lang-8 to get corrected by natives.
Lang-8 is a website and app, where you can post as you would on a blog. The only difference is that you don’t post in you native language but in you target language. Natives of that language can then correct you text and you can ask them about things you don’t understand. You can also correct texts of people that are foreign to your language.
6. Try out hello talk or similar apps
The principle of hello talk and similar apps is that you can text Natives of you target language as you would text on a normal messenger app. In the chat you have tools to correct the other persons mistakes. In comparison to lang-8 you can here practice the casual speech and you don’t have to write a big text but you’re rather having a conversation in a written form.
Hello talk can also be used as speaking or listening tool since you can also send voice messages. Since you get in contact with natives easy that way, you can also exchange contact information and continue learning over Skype.
7. Try the website and app Italki or similar sites
Italki is a website that helps you connect to native teachers of you target language. The teachers cost money but they can help you understand the grammatical concept or explain things that differ between languages much better than any grammar book. You can also connect with other students that study your language and then you teach each other. Just remember that Natives can’t really explain the grammar of their language to you, unless they are a teacher.
8. Talk to yourself
To become a better speaker of you target language you must actually speak it and here it isn’t enough to only do so at your lessons. Mumble to yourself while doing you work, look in the mirror during you bath routine and tell yourself how amazing you are, record yourself on your phone and then listen to it and try to detect pronunciation or grammar mistakes.
When it comes down to it, you’ll need to invest a lot of time in a language to be fluent but following these steps might shorten the time in comparison to studying with a language book or vocabulary list. Learning a language isn’t easy, you’ll also need to understand the culture of you it as well. Languages represent an entire nation. It has developed so many little peculiarities that make it so beautiful. So once in a while try to act like a toddler that is being introduced to the magic of communication for the first time. That sparkle is most likely all you’ll need.
If you have any other study tips please share them with me. (^_^) I hope this helps everybody that wants to lean another language and is as passionate about it as I am.