One of the most useful skills you can learn in life is the ability to speak and understand another language. Not only does it make traveling easier (and more fun!) but it’s also a fantastic thing to put on your resume and will open up all sorts of doors for you in your career. Although most languages are quite different, these tips to learn them can be used across all of them. So whether you want to be able to speak Spanish, converse in Cantonese, or understand Urdu, these ideas will help you do it!
It’s important to think about your reason to learn the language as this is what will motivate you when it all gets a bit tough. It could be anything from wanting to move to a new country, apply for a job that requires some basic language skills, or simply wanting to get to know someone who speaks only that language. Set yourself a time-based goal to keep yourself learning at a steady pace, but make sure it’s realistic.
Conversation in practice
As great as apps, websites and books all are for helping you learn a language, the best way to really help it sink in, is to engage in actual conversation with someone who can speak the language better than you. Although it will be awkward and stilted for a while, the more you try, the better you will get. This practical approach will motivate you and also allow you to work on actual conversation, rather than just separate phrases. You’ll also be practicing listening as well as speaking, so it really is a fantastic way to learn.
Utilize your mind palace
One great way to help vocab words stick is to put them up around your house. Every time you spot them, say the word out loud, and by seeing them every day, you will be able to recall them when you think about the particular place they are stuck up. As soon as you have nailed one set of vocab words, change them up.
Make it fun
Learning anything is much easier if you are having a good time doing it, and learning a language is no different. Look for an episode of something you love, such as the Simpsons, or a Disney film that you know off by heart, and see if you can find a version dubbed in a different language. You’ll be surprised at how many words you understand, especially if you already know the plot, and it’s also an enjoyable way of absorbing information without simply staring at a book.
Book a trip
There is nowhere better to practice a new language than the country where it is spoken. Being able to order a coffee in a new language will give you such a great buzz, and the locals will appreciate the fact that you are making an effort to speak in their language. It will also really challenge you to be able to read menus and signs, without resorting to a translation app. The deadline of a trip will really add some urgency to your learning too!
Although it’s easier to learn a language as a child, (when your brain is like a sponge), you’re never too old to learn something new, and if you follow these tips, you’ll have mastered a brand new language before you know it!