Learning a foreign language is like getting on a diet. You promise yourself that you’ll start on Monday and will do the exercises regularly. At the first stage, you manage to achieve that goal. But then you start losing motivation and find new reasons why today is not a good day for dealing with those boring grammar rules.
It’s difficult to keep the process going and stay disciplined all the time. If you are familiar with the situation when you try to learn Spanish, French, German or any other language but get no results, this post is for you. We’ve talked to our translators and made a summary of rules that will help you become a real polyglot.
1. Studying Regularly
Before you start learning a language, you need to understand a specific goal. Ask yourself: “Why do I do it?” If you ignore this step, the process of learning a foreign language will take ages as there is always something new to master. Don’t forget to set a specific goal as well. There has to be a time limit to increase your productivity.
Study every day. Learning a language is nothing like learning to ride a bicycle – once you know how to do it, you know it for a lifetime. The information you’ve learned can easily disappear if you don’t refresh it on a regular basis. Save at least 40 minutes every day for your studies. Keep in mind that with age the ability of our brain to process and memorize the new information becomes less effective. The older you are the harder it will be.
2. Controlling the Process
If you already can more or less speak the language but need to improve your knowledge, the algorithm of your actions will have some differences. the first thing you need to do is to find the weak points and focus on them. You can then divide the time you can spend on studying accordingly and dedicate more time and efforts doing something you are not good at yet.
Now, let’s get back to the initial problem. Why is it so difficult to maintain the learning process and not to give up at some point? It’s because during the first stages of the process you need to become a strict instructor to yourself. It turns out to be impossible for many people. Making yourself memorize the new words and do those boring exercises is not a pleasant activity. That is why if you know you are not that kind of person who can give up during the early stages, sign up for a course or find a tutor who will keep the things under control.
3. Practical Tips on Learning a Foreign Language
- Use online tools. No matter if you use the help of a tutor or not, adding free online tools and apps to your learning process is always beneficial. Babbel, Duolingo, LinguaLeo and many other apps are great to use on your way to work or during a lunch break. You must have heard this tip before but we’ll mention it anyway as it is very helpful – watch movies with subtitles. And make friends with native speakers using your social media account. Another interesting idea is to find foreign bloggers you like and leave comments on his or her posts. The variety of topics discussed will definitely help you to enrich the vocabulary.
- Have fun. The most important part of the learning process is having fun and enjoying every minute of it. Subscribe to the magazines and newspapers in the foreign language you learn, read books and watch the news in it. Audiobooks, podcasts, and videos on Youtube will also come in hand. And talk to yourself from time to time in a foreign language. It’s not a joke. You need to get used to the sound of your voice in a different language, so practice. You’ll turn on the imagination and will love this exercise.
- Read books and practice. One more exercise you can do is retelling a passage from a magazine or a chapter from the book you are reading. Ideally, you should do it with a tutor so that he or she could correct the errors. Every time you listen to a podcast or audiobook and don’t understand something, don’t be lazy to look the words you don’t know in the dictionary. If it’s an ebook you’re reading, you can download an app that allows you to do it pretty fast.
- Watch films with subtitles. When you watch a good movie, you get really involved in its plot. You sympathize some of the characters and try to understand the reasons behind their decisions. This environment will help you learn a new language faster as you have a genuine desire to find out what the characters are saying. As you read the translation, you hear the foreign language and combine these two pieces into one.
- Take part in the discussions held online. Find a forum or community in the language of your interest and register there. Take the chance to communicate with native speakers and learn new expressions. It is a useful exercise as the other participants can point out the grammar and spelling mistakes to you and teach you some slang phrases. It will be a useful experience.
- Don’t forget to learn new words. It often happens that people who have learned some basic vocabulary and can speak a foreign language stop learning new words. They think that their vocabulary is enough for having a meaningful conversation and there is no need for enlarging it. However, it is an ineffective approach to learning languages. You need to learn new words to take part in conversations on different topics. Therefore, continue the learning process.
When you can speak a language, you can say anything you want in it, understand what others tell you, and read any book or magazine. This ability gives you an endless number of opportunities. You can relocate and find the job of your dream abroad without having to face all the difficulties of the adaptation period. You can communicate with people of different cultures and get to know their point of view on the current events. It’s always good to have look at things from another perspective.
Don’t be embarrassed by making mistakes. There is this barrier when you want to say something but are afraid of saying it in a wrong way. Don’t worry about that. Without practice, you won’t be able to move forward and improve your knowledge. The significant part of any learning process is making errors and working hard to avoid doing them. The communication with native speakers gives you an excellent opportunity to polish your speech and learn new expressions. And the tools we have nowadays will simplify the process. Stay motivated and enjoy the process!