Ten tips on learning a new language
Not sure how to learn a new language? There are so many options out there now that mastering a new dialect can feel incredibly daunting.
However, getting to grips with French, English, Arabic or Japanese should be the start of a fun-filled, educational fulfilling journey.
To help you on your way, we’ve compiled ten essential tips on learning a new language.
Learning with other people will help you develop your conversational skills and advance your knowledge; Language apps are a good resource but lack the bespoke feedback and expertise that online language tutorials do;
Ensure you immerse yourself in the language you are learning, from listening to music to watching films;
Tailored support and guidance from a teacher or tutor will help you progress and build your confidence;
Learn at a pace that suits you and don’t be afraid to get creative in order to keep your learning exciting.
1. Immerse yourself in the language
Don’t just learn the language – live it.
Surround yourself with the music, literature, film and art originating from the country. These little extra touches outside of your ‘formal’ lessons will help you absorb the language, progress it more quickly and begin to consume the culture.
Watching foreign TV shows and films will also help you get a better grip of the pronunciations involved, particularly when it comes to shaping your mouth to imitate particular sounds and words.
No matter what learning tools you use, taking a 360 approach to learning your chosen language will yield an array of benefits.
It might not be an accessible option at the moment, but another excellent consideration would be to visit a place where the language is spoken. Being exposed to the people and the culture will really advance your learning.
2. Go at your own pace
Learning a language requires a real commitment and significant investment. If you go in too full-on or too blasé, your interest may peter out.
You must learn at a pace that suits you. Don’t worry if you feel like you’re not advancing quickly enough – mastering a language is a personal process and there’s no timeframe for reaching fluency.
It’s better to break down your learning into manageable chunks and realistic goals, keeping you motivated and hungry to learn more.
3. Learn with others
The whole point of learning a language is so you can speak it to other people, right? Well, start those conversations early by learning with other people.
Having that support system – whether it’s just one friend or a class of like-minded learners – to bounce ideas off of and converse and share tips with will be an invaluable part of the language learning process.
Learning with your peers will also help you stay focused and keep up with the demands of the class.
Plus, if you’re a naturally competitive person, there will be an added incentive to go that extra mile and learn more than your classmates.
If you’re keen to have lessons and make friends with other learners, LingoRx offers group lessons of up to five people, enabling you to learn collaboratively and trade insight.
4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
You’ve probably seen a few films and TV shows where a character attempts to speak a foreign language…and says something totally, embarrassingly wrong. Alas, these mistakes will happen in real life, too.
Don’t be discouraged if you accidentally tell someone to “wear a buffalo” or “try the deep-fried cat” – these things are going to happen and at least you are trying.
Even as you progress, there may be the occasional slip-up or slight mistake – different languages have conjugated verbs and masculine/feminine terms that can be initially difficult to get your head around.
No one likes to make mistakes, but if you say the wrong thing try not to feel like you’ve failed – becoming fluent in a new language is a long process and you’ll only feel stronger for having made such mistakes.
5. Remember why you want to do it
Are you hoping to travel the world and soak in exciting cultures? Do you aim to work for an international organisation? Or do you simply want to tick off a lifelong ambition?
Whatever your reasons, one of the most important tips on learning a new language is to never lose track of your core motivation.
If you forget what inspired you to learn in the first place, you may find your commitment to learning start to wane.
Make a list of the benefits that will come from mastering a new language – better career prospects, vibrant cultures to explore – and it will empower you to keep learning.
6. Go over words and phrases with yourself
If you don’t have a language partner or class to converse with, there’s no reason why you can’t practice on your own.
Think about words and phrases as you go about your day, challenging yourself to think in your new language.
Not only that, but you could also think of typical questions that you get asked when meeting new people – your hobbies, where you’re from, etc – and prepare your answers in the language you’re learning.
You don’t just have to think these words, either. Download a translation app to your phone so you can discover what certain words are in your new language while you’re out and about.
7. Have a positive attitude
When you take on a new project, whether it be a new language, an instrument or a sport, there will be testing times.
You may encounter difficult periods where you feel like nothing is sinking in and that you’re not at the standard you think you should be.
Conquering a new language isn’t going to happen overnight, so try not to feel disheartened if sometimes things don’t click as quickly as you want them to.
Go in with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. If you’re having lessons with a tutor, request feedback and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
At LingoRx, our tutors will provide regular, bespoke feedback to keep you on track and help you overcome any challenges you may face.
8. Don’t get distracted
One of the best tips on learning a new language would be to stay focused.
If you’re learning on your phone, whether it be through YouTube tutorials or a mobile application (more on those below), it can be so easy to get distracted.
Learning a new language via smartphone is a popular choice, but you’re still likely to receive distracting WhatsApp messages or phone calls, as well as app updates.
Try to make a deal with yourself – set aside sometime each day to learn without giving into temptation, then reward yourself with some guilt-free Facebook scrolling.
If you’re learning at home, find a designated space that’s quiet where you can do your language revision without fear of being distracted.
9. Don’t just rely on apps
Duolingo and Memrise are two of the most ubiquitous apps at the moment – downloads of them, as well as other language apps, have shot up by 85 per cent in recent times.
While apps are a great way to learn on the go, they should instead be used as an additional method of learning rather than your main outlet.
10. Enjoy the experience
Yes, there are numerous personal and professional benefits that come from mastering a language, but the main thing is that you actually enjoy learning it.
If you find learning a language a chore, you won’t stick with it. It’s vital that you have fun with the experience and get creative.
Try and include some of your other passions in your language learning – if you enjoy music, try writing a song in the language you’re learning. If you’re a bit of a thespian, pen a script for a play or TV show.
Learning a language should be a creative experience, not a stilted one.
This should also extend to your lessons – LingoRx’s online language tutoring sessions are flexible and fun, using various interactive teaching materials to keep lessons engaging and exciting.
Language lessons that meet your needs
Learning a language shouldn’t feel like a boring lesson at school – it should be exciting, imaginative, eye-opening and fun.
By following the ten tips above, you’ll be able to begin your learning journey with the confidence, patience and knowledge needed to succeed.
So now you know how to learn a new language, are you ready to take the next step?
LingoRx makes language learning as varied, vibrant and exciting as the languages themselves. Our tutoring sessions are delivered by fluent speakers from distinguished universities, including Harvard, Princeton and Oxford.
You can either have one-on-one sessions or small group lessons, delivered at a time and place that suits you. You’ll advance your learning through mock tests, assignments and interactive sessions.
However you decide to learn, just remember to practice, stay positive and enjoy the ride.
Ready to put these tips into practice? Start your exciting journey towards learning a language with LingoRx’s online tutoring sessions.