Thanks for visiting my blog today! How goes it? 😉
Before we get started, I want to say one thing: you learn a language by doing. It requires motivation, some sort of system, and regular exposure/practice. The closer the target language is to your native language, the easier it will be to learn. Don’t get discouraged. It takes years to get really good at a language. You’re not bad at languages. You just need to step out of your comfort zone and go all in.
- Keep a grammar cheat-sheet at your desk or on the bathroom mirror.
- Write hard-to-remember words on the back of your hand. One per day. 🙂
- Create mental images of the words you are trying to learn in your target language. Search Google images. Don’t just rely on the translation in your native language.
- Play video games in your target language.
- Every once in a while, go back to old materials. A refresher is never bad and you can look back on the progress you’ve made.
- Learn with interesting materials according to your personal interests instead of only working with a text book that may not interest you very much. Try out YouTube videos, online materials, fun stories, and music.
- Have a notebook just for that language. Stay organized.
- Stay relaxed when speaking the foreign language. In the beginning, find a language partner who is aware of your level and goals in the language.
- Look for cognates and FALSE FRIENDS! The cognates will be easier to memorize but will still enlarge your vocabulary. Learning the false friends will not only save you from mistakes, but will also teach you more about the history and linguistics of both languages.
- Spend timing learning how to conjugate verbs and build correct sentences according to the tense system of that language.
- Be intentional with your vocabulary learning. What words do you need? What words are you expected to know? Develop an interest for digging deeper into the word bank of the language. 😀
- When writing a school paper or just practicing the language, write it in your native language first and then translate into target language afterwards. Writing is a great way to make progress with your language level; I suggest also writing in your target language to help get the language integrated into your thoughts until you produce sentences without thinking about it.
- Look for audio materials with transcriptions or subtitles. Listen to the materials several times and take notes.
- Spend enough time with materials for learners and with the authentic language. What basic grammar do I need to know to make use of the language? How do native speakers speak the language? Both are important to “take in” and be able to use the language.
- Build “language islands” and practice speaking. Language islands are stories, experiences, answers to common questions, etc. that may come up during a conversation. Learn correct phrases, structures and practice vocabulary, so that you speak more fluently the next time you have a conversation.
- When listening to a conversation or a talk in your native language, try translating in your head into your target language. You can also translate your target language into your native–this should help to build vocabulary.
- Don’t expect that you are going to command the language as easily as your native language and realize it is a process not an instant achievement 😉
That’s it for the general tips! Did you learn something new from this post? I’d love to hear from you.
~ Stephanie F.