Tips to learn a new language

Today we live in a time that the access to the information is very fast, it brings benefits to all areas of education, it also brings benefits to the learning of languages. The tips that I am going to give here, I bet that many people have already talked about, but sometimes we need to see something and see again so many times then that way we begin to give some attention to that information, and all of a sudden, we start  some project  in order to achieve that same goal.

I also write here those tips because in the future I want to remember the way I took in order to learn a new language. I don’t want to stop after learning English, that is the language I am studying now. I want to learn a lot more.

1-Take advantage of the era of free apps.

Duolingo

Take advantage of the apps web/mobile to expand your vocabulary, learn grammatical rules, and study with modern techniques such as spaced repetition system (SRS), where you study the words and you see again the same words in a given time in order to have those words fixed in your memory.

Main apps:
-> Duolingo
-> Memrise

2-Study the main words used in the language.

Pareto 80/20

In language learning you can take advantage of the Pareto principle (80/20) where 20 percent of the effort acquiring new vocabulary can give you 80 percent of understanding the language. For example in English the top 300 words are found in 65 percent of all material written in English. These words are widely used, and just as in English every language has its most used words. Take advantage of that.

List of the 300 more common words: http://www.tooter4kids.com/classroom/Most_Common_Words.htm

3-Listen a lot of audio, listen, listen and listen.

As already said a old saying, “The best teacher of a new language, is our ear” Unknown author, so surround yourself with the most varied audio sources of the language you want to learn, enjoy the facilities that the internet brings us today, can be through an online radio of a country that speaks the target language, can be through podcasts, or even sites that bring audios with the transcription of what is said equal to deepenglish.com.

4-Watch movies and series.

Movie Ela with subtitle

Watch movies and series, start watching with subtitles in the same audio language, watch different accents, different contexts, this will train and accustom your ears in the most diverse situations. A nice example of a series in English with everyday dialogues is “Friends”. Watch once with subtitles and then watch the series again without subtitles.

5-Listen songs with lyrics.

Here I reinforce once again the ability to listen, but this time using songs, which makes the activity fun, choose singers that you like in the target language and listen to the song accompanying the lyrics. Here is a nice example.

6-Talk since the first day.

Speak from the first day, even if your vocabulary is still small, even so speak, practice small conversations, it can be through the internet, it can be with a friend who is also learning, but talk. Even if you say it wrong, do not be ashamed. After all, when children are learning to speak, they make many mistakes and receive our positive reinforcement through incentives, making them want to continue speaking and with that they learn.

7-Practice the four habilities (Listen, Speak, Read, Write).

Here I draw attention to one important detail, you should focus on the four skills that are listening, speaking, reading and writing. Ever imagined you are making that long dreamed trip to the country that speaks the language you are studying, getting there in a conversation you can understand what people are saying and cannot answer back. I’ve seen people go through this. Therefore it is important to study the four skills. Here I cite only one problematic but on the day by day you already know that we depend on the four skills so study them all.

8-Imerssion.

If you can travel to the country where the language you are studying is spoken, that is great. But if you cannot, I reinforce the need to study and practice EVERY DAY, all the items I mentioned earlier will help you create an immersion there in your city even without leaving home. But you must study every day. Most of these language courses last two or four years in average and many students leave it without speaking the target language, the biggest reason is that they only study while they are in the course class that is usually once a week, and studying once a week is self-deception. I’m not saying that the courses do not work, what I’m saying is that if you are taking a language course, in addition to the course classes, you have to study at home every day. Only then will you begin to see some progress.

9-Motivation.

Last but not least, motivation. When we have a reason to do something, you can be sure that the chances of completing that are much greater. So reflect on why you are learning that new language, it may be for work reasons, you might want to study abroad, or just watch that movie without subtitles. Whatever the reason, every time you see yourself wanting to give up remember your motivation, and that will give you strength to move on.

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