Last Updated: February 2, 2023
It’s a great moment to learn a new language. As the world is globalizing, being a bi- or polylingual is one of the most useful skills to help you achieve personal or career advancement.
Becoming fluent in a foreign language is a challenging process. To make it easier for you, we’ve gathered some of the most useful tips for learning a new language.
Why Should You Learn a New Language?
There are lots of benefits to learning a second language. But what are some of the principal reasons for doing so?
Successful communication with people from foreign countries
Now that so many companies work across different locations, you might be expected to communicate with people who don’t speak your mother tongue. Getting in touch with people from different countries may challenge your ability to exchange ideas or make conversation on various topics. Knowing their language or a language that both of you understand is very important for effective communication.
Understanding different cultures
Why should you learn a new language? As the world becomes more culturally diverse and cross-cultural exchanges become more frequent, the importance of knowing a language other than your native one increases. Studying a foreign language does not only help you in the process of communication with the native speakers, but it also makes you familiar with their culture and traditions, specific food, etc.
Studies have shown that learning a language trains your brain. This is due to the effort you make in learning and understanding new words, forming sentences and phrases, and applying all the acquired knowledge into practice. Knowing how to speak another language will help you make connections faster, improve your observation skills, and broaden your horizons, allowing you to see things from a different perspective.
|DID YOU KNOW: Scientists from Penn State University discovered that learning a language makes physical changes in the human brain. Research participants were put through two fMRI scans, and the final scan images showed that, after 6 weeks of learning Chinese, there were both structural and functional changes in their brains.|
Tips for Learning a New Language
The process of learning a foreign language is fun and exciting, but after some time, you may become frustrated because of something you can’t seem to remember or make use of. If you follow certain tips and tricks, however, you will succeed in overcoming these challenges and achieving your goal.
Understand your motivations
This might sound obvious, but having a good reason to learn a particular language is very important in the long run. A lot of people don’t know how to start learning a language, as they have no idea what they’ll use it for. And after some time, their motivation fades out, and they fail in achieving their goal. Here are a few ideas on how to keep motivated:
- Write down 5-10 reasons why you want to learn that particular language. That might serve you as a reminder when you feel like giving up.
- Another thing you can try is to adopt the reward principle. Get yourself a delicious treat or buy a new book every time you finish a task or achieve a certain learning goal.
Knowing how to keep yourself motivated for a longer period of time is tricky but crucial if you need to master a foreign language. Come up with something that will prevent you from giving up.
Once you’ve decided you want to learn another language, determine what you want to achieve and by when. Simply setting a goal of becoming fluent in a particular language may not be enough.
How hard is it to learn another language? This depends on how you approach it. It is much less frustrating if you set tangible and realistic goals. For example, you can try reading an article without looking up the unknown words in the dictionary. Another thing you can do is decide on learning one aspect of the language at a time.
You need to choose the learning zone that best fits your studying preferences. If being in a social setting works best for you, then sign up for a course and attend the classes regularly. If you feel more comfortable working alone, gather learning materials and study from home. There are many apps, such as Busuu that you can use to study and practice the language you’ve chosen. They also provide useful language learning tips.
Spending as much time as you can studying and practicing will help you learn the language faster.
|DID YOU KNOW: If your aim is to learn the target language fast, you should set SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. This kind of goal will help you stay on track while studying a new language.|
|Learning a foreign language can be crucial for successful communication with people from different cultures.|
|Learning a foreign language enhances your brain’s nerve networks, allowing for more efficient memory and flexibility.|
|The best way to learn a language is to follow some key tips, such as keeping yourself motivated, dedicated, and setting proper goals.|
|Setting SMART goals will help you determine the milestones you want to reach.|
|To expand your knowledge of a foreign language, don’t neglect learning the everyday way of communicating, i.e., the slang and idioms.|
Don’t Ignore Any Aspects of Learning
The four basic aspects of learning a language are writing, reading, listening, and speaking. As you learn, you will probably find out that you are stronger in some areas than others. But that does not mean that you should only focus on practicing your strengths. You cannot achieve fluency in a foreign language if you don’t put time and effort into practicing and improving your weaknesses, as well. The best method to learn a language is to focus on every skill equally.
Here are some tips on how to improve each learning skill:
Improve reading skills
The most obvious thing you can do to improve your reading skills is to read as many books as possible. They will not only help you in learning the language but will also help you explore the culture behind it.
A lot of free books are available on the internet, and you can easily find something that will meet your needs and preferences. If you’re wondering how to start learning a language, picture and comic books can help you with introducing the target language. As you progress, you can move on to articles, blogs, novels, etc. Using a dictionary is also a good idea, as it’s a great source of vocabulary.
Improve writing skills
Even though speaking is a more direct way of communication, writing gives the learner more time to think and come up with more accurate expressions.
You can practice your writing skills by writing a letter or a postcard to a friend or searching for written assignments on the internet. Then, you can use a grammar checker to scan for mistakes, and if there are any, you can correct them and take notes to avoid making them in the future.
Improve speaking skills
Trying to talk in a foreign language for the first time can be overwhelming. Most people find speaking the most difficult, but it is also the most effective practice you can get in order to improve your language skills.
To improve your speaking, you should first find someone to practice speaking with. It can be your friend, your language teacher, or a native speaker of your target language. Being persistent in getting speaking practice on a regular basis will show results in no time.
Improve listening skills
For some, listening is the hardest skill to master in their language learning process. There are learners who think that they can simply watch a foreign movie or listen to songs in their target language, and they’ll be on their way towards achieving fluency. After some time they become frustrated as they realize that their pattern of passive learning isn’t the best way to learn a language.
Foreign songs and movies can definitely help you with your language practice, but you should know how to make use of them. Playing a song in the background while you’re doing household chores won’t have the same effect as concentrating on listening for 5-10 minutes a day.
|DID YOU KNOW: Testing all four skills ensures that you can make effective use of the language you’ve been studying in the real world. One such exam is the Cambridge English exam, which encourages teachers and students to take a balanced approach to language learning and develop communication competence. It’s a good idea to find the equivalent of such a test for the language of your choice.|
Practice Is the Most Important Thing You Can Do
Mastering a language requires a lot of practice. But not all practice is good, and students need to learn how to practice effectively, as well as to get adequate exposure.
For example, if a student is only exposed to written Italian, and their practice mostly consists of doing grammar exercises, reading, and translation, they may struggle to express themselves regardless of the fact that they are great at reading Italian.
You should bear in mind that practice and exposure to all the aspects of the language are the key factors in the process of learning a new language. If you want to progress and achieve your ultimate goal, come up with a practice scheme that fits your personal needs and requirements.
Helpful Programs and Applications
Language learning apps have been on the market for quite some time, but their number has increased rapidly lately. Wondering how to learn a language fast and fluently? One of the advantages of online education is that there are a great number of apps you can use on your mobile and your computer, that offer a variety of language lessons/exercises to speed up your learning process. Here is our choice of the top five:
It is rated the best premium software for learning the foundations of a foreign language. It is a great choice for absolute beginners, but it also offers more advanced language lessons for higher-level learners.
A 5/5 rating for a free language learning app means that the quality of the lessons it offers exceeds those offered by other free apps. It employs some unique features, such as gamification and a goal-setting option, has a clear structure, and contains lessons in 19 different languages.
This app teaches you how to speak another language by introducing phrases and vocabulary that you can actually make use of. For its low subscription price, you get high-quality lessons that are unique to each language. Read our full review of Babbel here.
Beginners find this app particularly useful, as it offers a lot of basic vocabulary and exercises. It is a combination of memes and gamification, which makes the learning experience really fun.
Despite the fact that it doesn’t offer that many languages, Busuu has a lot of high-quality core learning content that learners find very useful. It’s among the better language learning apps and its feature-packed Premium subscription is definitely worth the money. Read our full review of Busuu here.
Learning a foreign language is a fun experience, but it can also be quite frustrating. Following some key language learning tips will help ease the process and bring better results.
Remember, success comes with trying. Make use of our tips and dive into the language learning process boldly.
For most people, devoting around 30 minutes a day for active study and 1 hour of actual language exposure gives great results. Consistency is key, so give yourself some time.
Being motivated and dedicated, along with setting realistic goals are some basic requirements in the process of language learning. In general, the best tips for learning a new language are those that best work for you. They will help you achieve more progress, so make an effort to find what your optimal study mode is and you’ll achieve your goal.
There are four tiers of languages, classified by difficulty and study time required. According to research, it takes 480 hours of learning and practice to achieve fluency in group 1 languages (languages more similar to English).