Tips for Learning Foreign Languages
By Tatum B.
Foreign languages can be tricky. Read this article for some tips and tricks on getting past the learning barrier.
Foreign languages can be both scary and fun. On top of all the grammar, pronunciation, and spelling, some people have come up with tips on how to better wrap your mind around them. Here are some of the best and most unique tips.
Talking to native speakers or even fellow classmates can help a lot with memorization and communication techniques. There are plenty of online conversation templates if you don’t feel comfortable coming up with your own or if you can’t find someone to speak with.
2. Immerse Yourself in the Culture
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to travel to Germany or Italy to fully understand the language. Some languages, like Sign Language, or dead languages, like Latin, don’t have countries you can travel to; rather, they’re universal or only spoken in the classroom. Try watching movies with subtitles, listening to music, or joining a study group or club.
3. Learn the Most Common Words First
When it comes to vocabulary, it helps to learn the most common words first. Make a goal of learning five of the most common words a day; by the end of the week, you’ll have 35 words memorized.
4. Practice in Everyday Situations
Going to the grocery store? Practice food vocabulary. Mall? Clothes. Playing hide and seek? Count in the foreign language. There are so many everyday situations that you can take advantage of when you don’t have time for study sessions.
Learn the pronunciation patterns and the alphabet to help you in conversations. Talking to yourself may seem silly, but it’s one of the best things to do when learning a foreign language. You could even try mimicking TV shows or movies.
6. When You Don’t Want To
There will be many days that you’ll just want to forget about grammar and vocabulary for the rest of your life. In cases like these, make practice sheets ahead of time, with just five basic review questions. When you’re done with one sheet, you can do a more fun activity.
7. Make a Movie
Don’t depend on just watching movies; try to make one of your own (even if you have to be multiple characters). Rewrite your favorite scenes into your target language.
8. Teach It
Use your siblings or friends to teach the material you’re learning. This will help the material stay in your mind longer.
Duolingo is a free language practice site that helps you learn the different aspects of a certain language. Download it on your phone or use it on your computer!
10. Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Yes, you need to have a routine, but don’t worry too much about correct pronunciation. Let your mistakes be learning experiences, not hindrances.