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Mar 30, 2023 Lexicon

27 Effective Tips for Learning a New Language

Learning a new language requires a significant amount of effort, and the process can be so daunting that it may be challenging to know where to begin. However, mastering a second language can provide numerous opportunities, such as the ability to communicate with a broader range of people, gain insights into different cultures, and access job prospects that were previously unavailable.

Given the enormity of this undertaking, how can you approach it from the outset? To assist you in your language learning journey, we consulted with top language experts worldwide, who have not only mastered one but several world languages from various language families. These polyglots have been language beginners multiple times and understand how intimidating and challenging it can be to learn a new language. Therefore, we have condensed their most valuable tips to aid you in learning a new language.

  1. Set realistic goals: One of the most important things you can do when learning a new language is to set realistic goals. This can help you stay motivated and track your progress.

  2. Practice consistently: Consistent practice is key to improving your language skills. Make sure to practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking in your target language on a regular basis.

  3. Use technology to your advantage: There are many apps and online resources available that can help you learn a new language. From language-learning apps to online courses, technology can be a valuable tool in your language-learning journey.

  4. Find a language partner: Practicing with a language partner can be a fun and effective way to improve your language skills. Look for language exchange programs or online language-learning communities to find a language partner. It is best to do this early, it is never too soon to start doing this and it builds confidence the quickest.

  5. Immerse yourself in the language: Immersion is one of the most effective ways to learn a new language. Try to surround yourself with the language as much as possible, whether it’s by watching movies or TV shows in your target language or listening to podcasts.

  6. Focus on pronunciation: Pronunciation is an important aspect of learning a new language. Make sure to practice speaking the language aloud and pay attention to the correct pronunciation of words.

  7. Learn vocabulary in context: Learning vocabulary in context can help you remember new words more easily. Try to read books or articles in your target language or watch videos with subtitles.

  8. Practice with native speakers: Practicing with native speakers can help you improve your language skills and learn about the culture of the language. Look for language exchange programs or language-learning events in your community.

  9. Be patient and persistent: Learning a new language takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and don’t give up if you don’t see progress right away.

  10. Do not stress about the things you don’t know: You should try and figure out what unfamiliar words or concepts mean by looking at the context around them. If there are words that keep coming up that you don’t understand, you can either ask someone about them or just search them.

  11. Get a dictionary for your target language: I do not mean a translation dictionary, I mean a dictionary made for the speakers of your target language. This will force you to learn more words when looking up the meaning of other words.

  12. Use the language as often as possible: Read articles, listen to radio, and watch tv in your target language. Everything will be hard at first, it only gets easier the more you do this.

  13. Learn from your mistakes: Try different things, play around with the language, the more mistakes you make the less embarassed you will feel after making them.

  14. Learning is not linear: It’s totally normal to have times when you don’t feel like studying your language or you can’t find the time for it. Other times you might just struggle to understand a concept. Don’t worry, everyone goes through that.

  15. Forget the haters: Choose a language for yourself and your interests, don’t let anyone else sway your interest. Once you figure why you are learning a language nothing can stop you.

  16. Learn the most frequently used words and phrases first: I suggest you start with the 6W1H (What, Why, Where, Who, When, Which, How) phrases, basic tenses (past, present, future), grammatical structure (SVO or SOV or VOS or others), numbers, day and time, frequently-used verbs, and pronouns (I, you, we, my, your, him, them, etc.)

  17. Don’t doubt yourself: Everyone else who has learned a second language was right where you were. Just take things one step at a time and you will reach your goals before you know it.

  18. Go at your own pace: Don’t let anyone tell you how quickly you can learn a new language, everyone is unique in their learning styles. What you may excel at others might struggle with and vice-versa.

  19. Chat with others on the same journey: Try to figure out what has worked for others in a similar sitation to yours.

  20. Pick a process and stick with it: There are many approaches to learning a new language, it is important not to get caught up on picking “the best way”. As long as you are setting and meeting goals that is all that matters.

  21. Learn the culture: It is very important to understand the nuances of different gestures and lifestyles when learning a new language. This will help you to integrate better and reduce your chances of offending someone.

  22. Have internal monologues in your target language: Just thinking of different scenarios in your head is a great exercise to determine phrases you might want to know. If you cannot figure out a way to say something a quick search will reveal the way.

  23. Track what you say in your native language: This will help you to determine words that you find most useful and are likely to use in your target language. For example words dealing with your occupation or hobbies are likely unique to you and you will not get out of a cookie cutter language learning program.

  24. Prioritize phonetics early: Avoid learning to say things the wrong way, once you get into this bad habit it is hard to break. A nice approach is to use speech recognition software for your target langauge to see if it knows what you are saying.

  25. Challenge yourself: Set ambitious long-term goals that you know you can achieve, then figure out how to reach them.

  26. Use mnemonics: These are phrases you can use to link new memories to existing memories already in your brain. The more creative and personal you are with these the more effective they are.

  27. Have fun: Learning a new language can be challenging, but it should also be fun! Find ways to make language learning enjoyable, whether it’s by listening to music in your target language or watching a movie with subtitles.

Learning a new language can be a rewarding experience, but it requires dedication and effort. By following these 27 tips, you can improve your language skills and achieve your language-learning goals. Remember to stay patient, persistent, and most importantly, have fun!