Learning a new language can be hard, and even after three or four years of taking a foreign language class in high school, it often does not feel as if the skill has stuck. But what else can you do? Popular foreign language tools such as Rosetta Stone are quite expensive, but with a bit
Learning a new language can be hard, and even after three or four years of taking a foreign language class in high school, it often does not feel as if the skill has stuck. But what else can you do? Popular foreign language tools such as Rosetta Stone are quite expensive, but with a bit of determination and a few helpful tips, learning a new language can be relatively simple and inexpensive.
Identify Your Reason for Learning the Language
It might sound unnecessary, but it is important to know why you want to learn a language. Providing yourself with a reason helps increase motivation, paving your way toward success. You may want to learn a new language for an upcoming trip, or maybe you want to be able to converse with a friend in their native language. Whatever the reason, it is important to commit.
Make Use of Technology
Information on language is available at your fingertips. There are many free, helpful sites and apps focused on teaching various languages. Do not purchase any programs or books before searching through what the internet has to offer. You may be surprised by what you find. According to their site, Live Lingua is “a language immersion site.” The site utilizes a professional staff and teachers to help teach languages such as Spanish, French, German, Korean, Arabic, Russian, and Italian. While the site does feature some content which requires payment, they also feature a large collection of free e-books, audio recordings and foreign language video materials. Another helpful site is Learn A Language which links to various resources such as vocabulary, grammar and downloadable software in several different languages. Any user can learn over 1,400 words in their target language for free with the site’s vocabulary lists and conjugation charts.
While it is easy to sit and memorize vocabulary, it is vital to converse with others in order to learn a language. Fatima Al-Sammak, a Lincoln Northeast Junior, who has worked hard to learn the English language explains the point nicely. “As much as possible, try to speak the language. Even if you say some stuff wrong, or you don’t know a word or the grammar structure of the sentence, just speak. It can be as simple as ‘I like your shirt’. It helps you get your tongue used to the way the language sounds and it helps make you more fluent.”
Embrace Your Mistakes
It can be tough and scary to learn a language. You are afraid of making mistakes and embarrassing yourself, but mistakes are actually beneficial! Making mistakes helps you gain experience and encourages you to learn from what you did wrong. Instead of dwelling on mistakes focus on the progress you have made. If you do not bother to try you will never improve.
After compiling a set of vocabulary you feel comfortable with and have begun studying grammar, it can be helpful to use a language’s culture as supplementary learning. Watching TV shows or movies and even reading newspaper and magazine articles in your target language can benefit your learning. Using these resources helps to keep the language fresh in your mind and allows you to learn without rigorously studying. Language Learning Portal, a site devoted to language courses, says “Watching TV shows and movies help you get used to sounds and rhythms of the language. Further, it’s very useful because you get to hear how people speak, use slang and cool expressions – it’s how people really talk. But it’s important at the beginning to watch things that you already have a certain understanding about, this makes it easier and more efficient.”
Study Every Day
When we don’t use what we learn our memory fades, this is why practice is very important. But keep in mind intensity of study is more important than length of study. In an article by author Mark Manson he says “studying a language four hours a day for two weeks will be more beneficial for you than studying one hour a day for two months. This is one reason why so many people take language classes in school and never remember anything. It’s because they only study 3-4 hours per week and often the classes are separated by multiple days.” The more you practice the better you will be at using your target language.