Top Tips on Learning a Foreign Language

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Being a Modern Languages student, I have always been fascinated by the process of communicating with other people from different countries and cultures. Yet with English being so widely spoken nowadays, it can be easy to muddle through without actually having to learn any new languages. Personally, I think this is quite a sad fact, and think we should all make more of an effort to learn and appreciate different languages from around the globe, even if it is just a couple of words here and there.

That being said, languages can be tricky to get to grips with, so here are some of my top tips that have helped me throughout my 10 years of language learning (and teaching):

1. Watch films, TV and listen to music

Studying grammar rules over and over again is a draining task, and if it’s all that you’re doing, I can tell you now you won’t improve your language skills as quickly as you would hope. Watching films and TV programs are great ways to discover new accents and learn some fun slang words! It’s a lot easier (and more inviting) to sit down and watch a film instead of trying to get your head round the subjunctive.

2. Transfrom your favourite hobby

Rather than forcing a language into your life, try and work language learning into your current hobbies and interests. This will make studying seem less like a chore and also increases the amount of time that you’re exposed to the target language!

If you’re a bookworm, reading is a great way to incorporate language learning into your schedule. Start out with children’s books, or books you’ve read before in your native language and work your way up from there! If gaming is more your vibe, put the instructions or commentary into the target language, and if crafts is your thing, watch YouTube tutorials with subtitles!

3. Use apps

Nowadays there are plenty of online courses and apps available to help with languages! Apps are great, as they’re always in your pocket and you can pick up where you left off at any point in the day! Duolingo is a personal favourite of mine and has a great range of languages to choose from – and it’s completely free!

Memrise is great for learning casual phrase in a langauge, so can be great if you’re going on a holiday to a new country, and if you’re looking for a shool-type experience, make sure to download Babbel!

4. Be consistent

It’s true that language learning is a marathon, not a sprint. Just five minutes of practice every day can help bring on your language skills, but consistency is key to continue improving! Don’t give up at the first hurdle and slowly but surely, you’ll make your way to proficiency! It can be frustrating that you might not progress as quickly as you’d like, but I promise you’ll get there eventually!

5. Practice!

It’s true that practice makes progress! Speak in the target language as much as possible, with friends, on holiday or even to yourself! Take every opportunity to practise your language skills, and don’t worry about making mistakes. You’re bound to get things wrong in the beginning, which can be disheartening and frustrating, but you just have to learn to laugh about it and keep practicing!

 

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