language learning

Language Learning: The Ultimate Guide

Learning a new language is an amazing way to understand a new culture, express yourself in different forms or simply level up your skills and buff the resume a bit.

If you’re looking for the most efficient way to learn a language, you’ve come to the right place.

As someone who taught English for several years and is fluent in four other languages, I’ve tried different methods and now I’m ready to share my best language learning tips.

Music

The first stop in your language learning journey should be music. Look up local artists in your preferred genre – chances are you’ll find something that’ll suit your ear.

The point of listening to songs in your chosen language isn’t strictly to understand what’s being said, but to get used to the nuances and the melody of the language.

After a while you will start understanding things, but the most important thing is that you will level up your pronunciation.

Reading/Books

One of the things I find most useful is reading my favorite books in a language I’m learning. This helps because the story itself is like a second skin to me, and the new language adds a layer of color to it.

In general, reading is an amazing way to learn new vocabulary. I’m not the biggest fan of using dictionaries while reading, so anything you don’t get from the context should be better left for the next read-through.

No matter what it is that you like to read, anything works.

The best thing you can invest in, other than books, is local newspapers. They tend to be adjusted to an elementary/high school level that even beginners can follow.

Get into the habit of reading bits and pieces in your chosen language & soon both grammar and vocabulary will become easy for you.

TV & Movies

This is a given, learning a language should come with a new set of media you can consume. If you have issues with watching dubbed version of your favorite shows (like I do), try something the region considers a classic.

The trick is not to turn the subtitles in your language on – but instead those in your chosen (target) language.

When learning Mandarin or any other language with special characters, this can be an additional challenge, but will ultimately help you learn the spelling and trick you into reading while you’re listening.

Neat trick, huh?

Tandems

Starting a language tandem is one of the best things you can do when you’re learning a new language. They provide you with the chance to talk to actual speakers of the language and practice your oral skills.

The way typical tandems works is as follows:

– you find a native speaker/near-speaker of your target language who wants to learn a language you know
– you agree on meeting at least once a week
– you meet
-you talk in one language for 30mins, followed by 30mins in the other language

Voila!

You get some practice in & manage to teach someone a bit of your own culture.

Immerse Yourself in the Culture

A language is just a small piece of a culture. Fill in the puzzle with local idioms, sayings and reasoning behind them.

If you can manage to travel to a country when your target language is spoken, talk to people and ask them to explain why certain sayings are the way they are.

Watch them stumble to do so & teach them there is more to learn about their own identity.

General Tips & Tricks

Write post-its for the words you just can’t seem to remember.

Get one of those grammar mastersheets most bookstores sell.

Practice grammar using online worksheets.

Join a chatroom in your target language.

If all else fails, language apps can always help with the basics.

Good luck & let me know if you have any additional tips or general comments about the guide 🙂

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