Today’s post comes courtesy of multilingual master Tammera White
They say that language learning comes easiest when you’re a toddler. Chances are, if you are reading this, you are way past that. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t broaden your language horizons. It may just take some more effort. Here are five tips for more effectively learning a language:
It always helps to learn a new language if you have a firm grasp of grammar concepts like sentence structure, subject/verb agreement, irregular verbs, subjective/objective pronouns, etc. It’s a good idea to refresh your knowledge of these things in your native language before attempting foreign language lessons. Otherwise, the components and concepts of a foreign language may seem muddled and confusing, and it’s best to learn them the correct way the first time around, rather than having to correct what you learned down the line.
Don’t translate in your head
Most people attempt to learn a new language by reading a foreign word and then translating it to their native language in their heads. However, this is the wrong way to go about it. Skip the middle man by reading a foreign word and then imagining the thing it represents in your head, instead, the way you would learn any word for the first time as a toddler.
Practice every single day
Even if you don’t have time to sit down for a full lesson, read a passage in the language you are trying to learn, or go through a deck of flash cards. You don’t even have to learn something new every day. At the very least, do something to reinforce what you’ve already learned.
Soak yourself in the culture
Learning a language requires a multifaceted approach. In addition to whatever study method you are using (classroom, computer program, tutor, etc.), supplement your education by watching foreign films that are subtitled, eating at restaurants that serve the food of the culture whose language you are learning, etc. By engaging in a variety of learning experiences, you will soak up more of the language and reinforce what you’ve already learned.
Join a foreign language club
The most effective way for you to learn a new language fluently is to be surrounded by people who speak it. That way, you can hear it as it should sound in normal conversation, and you can practice speaking it yourself. If you can’t afford to travel to a foreign country for several months, then you should search sites like Meetup.com to find a local club that will allow you to practice what you’ve learned.
As you can see, there are some practical measures you can take to improve your foreign language learning. Why not try all of these to put your learning on the fast track!
About the Author
Tammera White is bilingual and loves to help others learn to speak her native tongue. She encourages the use of tutors for not only language, but for other coursework, and recomments Brentwood tutors at TutorSpree.