Tips for Language Learners

« Back  |  

Written by Brooke Anderson

Bustling crowds seem to fill up every crevice, nook and cranny. In an ocean of people, the current draws you in. Emotive glances are met with blank stares. People seem to be calling to you, but the words melt together, solidifying your confusion. You tried so hard to study a new language but now that the pressure’s on. It quickly fades away. When quickly learning a new language it’s important to make sure that there is balance between efficacy and speed. So whether you have hopes and dreams of traveling the world, or if finals have you stressed about a foreign language test, below are some tips that can help you to work smarter and not harder.

Tip #1: Stop translating!

That’s right, stop! When learning a new language it is important to fight the urge to translate every sentence word for word. Different languages often have their own grammar rules and sentence structures that make this kind of translating difficult. Instead, try familiarizing yourself with the sentence structures of that language so producing sentences will be more natural. If you can get yourself to think in the language, speaking will be that much easier!

Tip #2: Become a sponge

Although it’s important to be able to express your own thoughts when learning a language, it is equally important to be able to understand information in it too. That’s why it helps to be a sponge and absorb as much content as you can in that language. For example, this can mean using an app to practice a vocabulary, watching tv shows in your language of choice or even reading articles in your target language.

Tip #3: Conversation

Practice makes progress and that couldn’t be truer when learning a new language. If you are in a foreign language class, reach out to your classmates and set aside time to practice. Sometimes it can help to practice with a fellow beginner. Because you can always laugh about your mistakes together! On the other hand, you can also search for a way to practice with a native speaker. This is always an indispensable tool because it allows you to pick up on casual dialogue, slang words, and idiomatic phrases. There are countless websites that organize online language exchange programs for students across the world. Your path to easier conversation could be just one Google search away!

Tip #4: Study vocab the RIGHT way

When learning vocabulary, especially on your own, it is important to be organized and learn what’s relevant to you! If you’re interested in science, maybe pick up a few words to describe some of your favorite ideas. Don’t waste time trying to memorize a list of words about the history of art. Structure is key when learning a new language, so be sure to categorize you vocabulary words. Start off with cognates: words that are pretty similar in two different languages. For example, “esencial” is Spanish for “essential”. Beginning with words like those can give you a leg up. Also, think back to the early years of school. Colors, days of the week, numbers, and all that fun stuff! Those are all great words to start off with!

Tip #5: Take it one step at a time

Yes, the point of this article is to help you learn a new language quickly, but doing that overnight is a feat that the world has yet to see! It’s okay to focus on seemingly basic concepts, because without a sturdy foundation, your language apprehension is sure to crumble. Make learning your target language a daily habit. A few minutes of daily study goes a long way! From day to day, it might not feel like you’re making much progress. But one day, when you look back at where you started, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come. Keep working towards it day by day, and soon enough, you’ll be a pro!

Good luck

Buena Suerte

Bonne Chance

Viel Glück

In Bocca Al Lupo

Boa Sorte

Lykke Til