Last Updated on 3rd July 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
There are few skills that are as demanding, or indeed as rewarding as learning to speak in another language. Luckily, there are numerous tips for learning a new language quickly. After all, you’re about to embark on accomplishing one of the most demanding skills there is out there…
#1 Recognise when you’ve learned something new (and give yourself a pat on the back)
Learning a new language is a funny thing. In the beginning, you start off by learning a word here and recognising a word there. It seems like a neverending struggle and when are you finally going to start understanding more than one word at a time?!
I’ve been there, and I know how difficult it can be. But one day, if you keep on struggling when it seems it will never get any easier, suddenly it will. You’ll find that you can understand ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’. And when it comes to small milestones like this, you must recognise the accomplishment for what it is: an accomplishment.
#2 Find a passion for your new language
Of all the tips for learning a new language, this is perhaps the most unexpected. But I truly believe that if you want to be successful, then you should understand why you want to learn a new language.
Find something you’re passionate about in terms of the language and focus on that. It will help you keep learning when you are finding the language harder than you could have ever expected (which, spoiler alert: is bound to happen).
Whether it’s the grammar, the beautiful sounds or something else (maybe you have a friend whose mother tongue is the language you’re learning- in which case practice with them), find something you enjoy about the language so you don’t give up before you’ve even begun.
#3 Practice every single day
Perhaps I should have added this point first because it’s probably the most important of all tips for learning a new language. Practice your new language Every. Single. Day. Consistency is key. Notice how I highlighted those words?
It’s because I mean them. And I mean them very much. Many courses will tell you that in the beginning, you have to practice the new language every single day. And while this is true, as soon as you stop practising, you’ll become rusty.
So while many people advise that in the beginning, you must practice every day, I’d say that if you want to maintain your skills, you’ll have to practice every day forever. After all, practising is the number one ingredient in learning a new language!
#4 Even just ten minutes a day will do!
You may not have hours to spend practising your new language on a daily basis (because let’s face it, how many people do?) but I’m sure you can find ten minutes a day to hone your new skill. And you can sure get a lot accomplished in just ten minutes a day (especially if you follow the ‘practice daily’ rule).
#5 Immerse yourself in your new language
You don’t have to be somewhere where the language is spoken to learn a new language (although this certainly does help). Instead, today with the internet, there are so many ways to immerse yourself in a new language without ever leaving the comfort of your bedroom. Try a language class online, or even just watching a Netflix film (this works every time- so long as you don’t switch the English subtitles on)!
#6 Carry Flashcards with you
And while we’re on the subject of immersing yourself in your new language, ensure that you have the language with you at all times! Carry flashcards with you (if you find them a helpful learning tool) or download a dictionary or app to help you learn a new language on your phone.
Use every opportunity you can get to practice your new language (see this is why you need to be passionate about it!). Be it in the grocery queue, or on the bus, try and practice your new language whenever you can. Be disciplined and you’ll be rewarded with the knowledge that your language skills are progressing faster than ever.
#7 Give yourself rewards and recognise your achievements!
Plan to reward yourself with something each time you reach a new milestone in your language learning quest? Have you finally mastered the subjunctive? Can you, at long last, now remember the alphabet? Reward yourself.
And it doesn’t have to be a big reward either: it can be as simple as something like a glass of wine or bar of chocolate. For larger goals (like when you can hold an entire conversation), if you’re able to, you could even consider planning a trip to a country where the language is spoken as the primary language!