Tips and Tricks to Learn a New Language
If you’ve ever thought that you are too old to learn a new language, you’re not alone. Many people believe this popular myth, but research has shown that it’s just not true. You can learn a language at any age.
To learn a language definitely requires patience and some hard work. But if you’re willing to put in the effort and use some of these tips and tricks, you might be speaking a new language sooner than you think.
- Spend a few minutes each day studying – and adding a new word to your vocabulary: While you may have been able to cram for a test in high school or college, you’ll do much better with language learning when you study a bit each day. A few minutes each day can go a long way in helping you master vocabulary and grammar. Also, try adding a new word or two as you go along.
- Find partners you can practice speaking the language with: Speaking is one of the most important parts of learning a new language. It gives you the ability to converse with others and exchange information and ideas. Seek out people who will practice your new language with you.
- Don’t be afraid of making mistakes: Lots of people are afraid to make mistakes when learning a language, but don’t be. Once you get over the fear of making mistakes, you’ll find yourself much more at ease to try and use what you are learning.
- Take a trip where you have to speak the language: This may be the best part of learning a language – traveling to where you can speak it. But, immersion in the language can also go a long way to helping you make progress. Take every opportunity to try out what you know – and learn more from those around you.
- Learn cognates: A cognate is a word that looks and means the same in your native language and the language you’re learning. Learning cognates can help you quickly expand your vocabulary and language usage.
- Check out some apps to help: Another way you can advance your language skills is to practice by using an app. During your commute or lunch break, you can spend a few minutes working through games or other activities on your phone or tablet.
- Focus on what you need: If you’re learning a language for a specific reason, business or travel, for example, be sure to learn what you need. Don’t waste time studying things that aren’t necessary.
- Make flashcards: Flashcards continue to be a great study aid. Spend some time creating flashcards for vocabulary and phrases that are important for your learning. Think about adding pictures or drawings to assist you.
- Immerse yourself as much as possible in the language: While you may not be able to take a trip immediately to use your new language, immerse yourself as much as possible in the language. Attend foreign films, cultural festivals, meetups, and any other opportunities where you may be able to use the language.
- Learn to say, “How do you say X…?”: While you may know some words and phrases, you may find yourself getting stuck occasionally. Learn how to say, “How do you say X…?” in your new language so others can help you past your stumbling block.
- Stay Motivated: Learning a language may take you a while. After all, you may be busy with a career and family. But stick with it!
Learning a second language has lots of benefits. It can improve your memory and sharpen your mental skills. It can make you a more gracious traveler. It might even help with your career. Consider picking a language you have an interest in – and start studying today.