Everyone wishes there was an easy path to learning a new language. We’d like to be able to sit back and acquire language knowledge with hardly any effort on our part, but the truth is that learning a language takes a lot of time, discipline, and hard work! Being a successful polyglot isn’t easy, but there are plenty of tips and tricks to learning a language that many multiple language speakers out there swear by. Ready to make the language process easier (and hopefully more fun)? Then read on to discover our 5 tips for language learning success!
1. Learn to love it.
Remember when you were a kid and your mom used to make you take piano lessons every Saturday? You’d drag your feet, put off practising, and find ways to get out of your lessons. And you probably didn’t learn to play very well as a result. The key to learning to do anything, whether you want to play the saxophone or learn to speak Chinese, is that you’ve got to enjoy doing it. And when it comes to language in particular, you’ve got to love the way it sounds if you really are hoping to speak it well one day. If you’re not too keen on the way a certain language sounds but you must learn it anyways, start out by listening to music in your target language. You’ll grow to love the rhythms and sounds of the language and it will help you improve your intonation when you speak it!
2. Know why you do it.
If you don’t have a clear picture of why you’re learning a language, you’re much more likely to get discouraged or give it up. You see, unless you have a goal in mind that you’re working towards, studying a language will seem aimless and tedious. Your goals can be as simple as wanting to communicate in French when you visit France on holiday, or more complicated like being able to understand your business partners in Japan. Decide what drives you forward to keep studying a language day in and day out and find ways to keep that goal present by putting up post-it notes as reminders or setting up a weekly get-together with a native speaker.
3. Have fun with it.
9If you can’t find ways to have fun with your target language, then you’ll most likely be doomed to the ongoing frustration of never really learning it. Once you find yourself having fun with it, you’ll actually really want to practise and speak it as much as possible! Find a group of friends who are learning the language too and have dinner parties where only the target language is spoken. Lower your inhibitions with a drink (or two) and try charming a native speaker. Write songs, poetry, or stories in your chosen language and share them with a friend. You’ll probably be surprised at how many people will be keen to practise a language with you if they know there’s good food and wine involved!
4. Be a kid with it.
It’s no secret that language learning is supposed to be a lot easier for children under twelve, but it’s not just the science behind it that can make a child a good learner, it’s also the approach. Kids tend to have fewer inhibitions and aren’t as afraid of making mistakes as we jaded adults are. Failure seems to be a social taboo that plagues most adults while children rarely worry about it. So this is us giving you full permission to be a kid again. Your language learning demands it! Let go of your fear of failure and don’t hesitate to admit that you don’t know everything. Try to put yourself out there without worrying about failing at ordering a meal properly in French or understanding directions in Spanish. The key is to become less fearful of not doing it well as opposed to not doing it at all!
5. Make sure to use it.
When we say use it, we aren’t just talking about when you travel abroad or when you’ve got a big meeting coming up, we mean use it every day. Yes. Every. Single. Day. Learn something new and try using it throughout the day, whether you’re just talking to yourself or trying it out on a native speaker. Budgets, jobs, and, well, life tend to get in the way of most of us being able to move to a foreign country for a couple years and gain fluency there, so it’s up to you to immerse yourself in the language every day at home. Listen to the radio in your chosen language, watch movies, read books, and find good tunes to dance along to. If you immerse yourself every day, you may be surprised to find yourself thinking in the language one day!
What are some tips or tricks that you think make learning a new language easier? Share them with us!