By Sharon Hooper
Learning a foreign language can feel like climbing Mount Everest — there’s so much work to be done, and no shortcuts to take. Every language learner is facing pretty much the same challenge and wondering if there is a way to make the process easier and less demanding.
As it turns out, there are many ways to make language learning simpler and more pleasing. Instead of wasting time memorizing grammar rules, you can use a number of smaller things to speed up the work, so let’s check out the list of 12 tips for learning a foreign language.
1. Take a language course
The first tip on our list is obvious — join a course as it will guide you through the foreign language relatively quickly. It can be a traditional classroom course or a modern version of online training, but in each case, it is important to ask around and choose a program that focuses on conversation.
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2. Spend some time abroad
This must be everyone’s favorite language learning tip. There’s no better way to learn a foreign language than to visit a given country and talk with the locals. It will not only give you the opportunity to figure out their language faster but also to meet new cultures and enjoy beautiful sightseeing destinations.
3. Hang out with native speakers
Although the second tip sounds perfect, the majority of learners simply cannot afford to travel and stay abroad for a long time. In such circumstances, a good alternative is to hang out with native speakers from your neighborhood. We live in a global village, so you probably won’t have a hard time finding a native speaker willing to share his/her knowledge with you.
4. Learn the right words
Too many students make a mistake of trying to learn a foreign language in its entirety. This is, of course, nearly impossible and you should try a different approach. For example, you can focus on learning a highly specific group of words.
If your plan is to do business with foreigners, perhaps you could concentrate on the business vocabulary and memorize those words first. The same logic applies to all the other fields of work.
5. Find a tutor
Is there someone who could help you study a foreign language? It can be anyone — a colleague, a friend, or even a stranger who happens to speak the targeted language. A tutor can become your learning partner, so you can enjoy the privilege of regular conversations.
6. Organize Skype sessions with a native speaker
You don’t even have to search for a learning partner locally. On the contrary, many students now use Skype and similar communication platforms to organize online lessons. You and your studying partner can help each other to master a second language.
7. Use a language learning app
We mentioned several studying solutions that involve human interaction. However, you can also find a whole bunch of language learning mobile apps. Such platforms help you to learn individually and choose your own pace.
Duolingo is by far the most popular app. It’s not only free of charge but is also packed with interesting lessons in more than 30 languages. The best thing about Duolingo is that it uses game-like elements, thus making the learning experience more entertaining and fun.
8. Use free online learning resources
You can go beyond language learning apps and find a lot of other resources online. It mostly depends on the language you are trying to learn, but we can give you a few precious hints immediately:
Learn a Language comes in almost 20 different languages with vast studying resources.
Live Lingua is a simple platform where you can find professional language teachers to work with you one-on-one.
If you are interested in Italian, French, or Portuguese, you might try Surface Languages.
Don’t forget YouTube as one of the largest sources of video lessons.
9. Read books or listen to audiobooks
Another great way to learn foreign languages is to read books or listen to audiobooks. Both options have their own pros and cons.
Traditional books allow you to set your own rhythm and memorize more words simply by looking at them. On the other hand, audiobooks make it easier to understand pronunciation and embrace the original style of speaking.
10. Watch foreign movies
You could probably think of this tip alone, but we have to mention it as it really is a superior language learning method. Watching foreign movies is fun and educational at the same time, so you should definitely make it a part of your language-learning strategy.
11. Embrace mistakes
Do you like acting a fool? We bet you don’t, but learning a foreign language will often make you sound silly. There is no way to avoid it, so you better prepare for mistakes and embrace the fact that you cannot speak perfectly from day one. Every student is going through the same phase, but you should learn to enjoy small victories as you keep improving over time.
12. Be persistent
The last tip on our list is closely related to the previous one. Don’t forget that language learning is a long and serious project that has its ups and downs. Therefore, do not fall into despair when something goes wrong, but rather stay persistent and keep learning as it’s the only path to success.
Up to You
No matter how you approach language learning, it will always be a challenging and time-consuming process. However, the tips we discussed above could help you to have fun and enjoy the work, so make sure to remember and use them while studying.