When you’re learning a language, it’s important to stay motivated and keep putting in the work in order to see results. Here are some tips to help avoid overwhelm and stay motivated.
Study the basic grammar
It’s important to understand the basic grammar to speak a language properly. You cannot avoid it, and if you know your native grammar you will better understand a foreign one, too.
Do not believe those scammers around the web who say learning a language in 3 months is possible. There could be many significant differences between your native language’s grammar and another language’s grammar. For example:
- The word order (subject – verb – object complement in English) is not the same in every language.
- It is quite common, in some languages, to omit the subject of a sentence when the person to whom it refers is known to both the sender and the recipient. The subject of a sentence can be understood from the context or found in a previous sentence.
Don’t stress about pronunciation
Pronunciation is very different from language to language and it takes a long time to be able to pronounce words correctly. You should not focus on it in your first year of learning the language. Do not rush.
Learn the alphabet
One common mistake among students is skipping learning a foreign alphabet. Beginners will have to learn the correct pronunciation of the alphabet from scratch; otherwise they will have problem later.
Find a native speaker to practice with
One of the best ways to improve your skills in the new language is to practice speaking with a native speaker. He / she can correct any grammatical or pronunciation mistakes, and you’ll get acquainted with more informal or colloquial conversation forms that are not usually mentioned in books.
We’d like to offer you a free way to try this, with a free lesson from Live Lingua. All of our teachers are native speakers of the languages they teach, Sign up here or by clicking on the image below.
Watch movies and cartoons.
Get some DVDs (with subtitles) or watch cartoons online. It is an easy and fun way to have an idea of the sound and structure of that language. If you feel particularly active, try to pause the video after a simple sentence and repeat it. If you do not find movies for sale in that language, try renting them from libraries. They usually have foreign language movie sections.
Listen to music and the radio.
Listening to music or the radio is another way to immerse yourself in the language. Even if you cannot understand everything, you can try to grab the keywords, which will help you understand the meaning of what is being said.
Hire a language teacher to help you level up.
Our LiveLingua teachers hold Master Degrees and/or PhD and they are professional and friendly. They are real language experts. If you feel uncomfortable taking a language course, bring a friend with you. It will be more fun and you will also have someone to practice with between lessons!
Do not give up!
If you are serious about learning a language, persevere. Learning a new language takes time and practice, it does not happen from day to night. You’ll feel so accomplished when you’re able to hold a conversation with ease that the struggles of studying will be worth it.
When you decide to start learning a new language, an efficient and reliable method to increase your foreign vocabulary and improve your pronunciation quickly, is reading. If you follow these 3 easy tips, it should not be a tiring and boring activity.
To work on Spanish, for example, collecting free resources can help you keep at it and not run out of things to review. We’d like to send you a collection of audio files and a workbook to practice from, along with tips and tricks on optimizing your study time. sign up for our FREE Spanish Survival Crash Course by clicking the link below, and you’ll receive a bunch of free Spanish learning material!
(We also have crash courses for 10 other languages. Here are a few of the most popular):
General Language Learning Crash Course (tips for any language)
Read, read read!
This tip is super important. That’s why it’s last — so we can allow it some extra space to really stretch out.
When learning a new language, you’ll learn very quickly that a very good dictionary is your best friend.
I bet you know which is the easiest way to build up your vocabulary day after day: looking up words in a dictionary. Nonetheless, we need a good vocabulary. Because I need to make more effort, I prefer a printed version dictionary.
Of course, it is up to you. I suggest you buy one from the best publishing houses in languages field such as Oxford, Zanicchelli (for Italian), Cambridge, Real Academia Espanola (for Spanish), La Rousse (for French). Etc. About online version, I like Word Reference.
Afterward, you can start to read a text and circle the unknown words, looking up them in your good and reliable dictionary, writing down their meanings.
Apparently, it is a simple and classical technique, but it should help you to create your own personal dictionary. In order to always have it with you, it is important to have a pocket notebook with all those words.
You won’t carry hundreds of huge books with you, right? It can even be a virtual notebook through your mobile or tablet.
Two books are better than one
A super worthy strategy is applying the so-called comparative reading: a book in its original language and its translation in your language. In your hands, at the same time.
You don’t only do that for reading sake but also to take some notes. Please do not focus on the unknown word itself but underlining expressions, idioms, slangs and other sentence patterns is the key. Of course, as I wrote previously, keep writing down in your virtual/paper notebook.
You can even buy a bilingual book. It is easier than having two, heavy, books in your hands. Or reading comics. Every day, you can spend a little time to read your favourite strips, in the language you are learning and compared to yours.
Listening & Reading
Listening skill can help your reading ability a lot. You can still call comparative reading, but you compare your book to its audio version. Please do not underestimate this strategy: is there anything better than listening to a native speaker while you follow him/her through reading?
It is just a matter of time, and you will get used to it. At the beginning, it seems difficult and to not get the point. But, after some months, your reading skills will improve because you will realize that your pronunciation is not quite right or one word can be pronounced in different ways.
You do not need to start with a very complicated novel. Listening and reading a poem can be the first step. More than enough.
This strategy can also be applied when you have to read boring and long books require by your school or university.