14 Apr 8 SECRETS ON HOW TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
Learning a new language can be challenging and even frustrating at times. We asked successful language professionals – and our esteemed team members – to share their valuable secrets to master a new language:
1. Noemi’s Secret: Think of “Learning a new language” as “Gaining a new experience”.
Learning something new always creates a new experience. If you are very interested in something, include it in your language learning and you will appreciate the experience even more. Noemi tried this a couple of times and swears by it: “If you are a movie enthusiast, watch movies in your target language. In German speaking countries almost all movies are dubbed, allowing you to practice listening and comprehension. In Scandinavian countries most movies are subtitled which helps improve your writing and reading skills.” This is also true for any other field of interest; if you like poetry and just started learning French, read works from your favorite poets in French.
2. Jon’s Secret: Make the new language a part of your lifestyle.
Making your new language an important part of your lifestyle is important if you want to maintain your language skills on the long term. Jon shares her experience: “Here, consistency is key! You will probably get bored, demotivated, tired or simply preoccupied with other things along the way. If your new language habit finds a place in your lifestyle, you will be more likely to continue it without interruptions.”
3. Oliver’s Secret: Play with your new language.
The more you incorporate your new language into your everyday life, the better. Oliver recommends: “Label your furniture and other possessions at home and/or at the office in your target language. By doing so, you will trick your brain into ‘thinking’ that it is necessary information and therefore it will stick with you. Surround yourself with content in your target language and shortly afterwards you won’t perceive it as ‘new’ anymore, as it will naturally complement your skill set.”
4. Nika’s Secret: Make new friends among native speakers of your new language.
This one is Nika’s personal favorite: Make new friends! “We learn new languages to communicate with other people and as obvious as it may seem, most of us feel shy and intimidated when asked to practice their language skills with native speakers. That is why it is crucial to open up to new international acquaintances. Not only do they make language exchange possible, they also share valuable cultural background providing profound understanding of the language itself.” There are countless opportunities to meet other language lovers. You can participate in Speak Dating events where people of different origins meet up and practice the languages of their choice. You might also consider visiting various Cultural Evenings to meet new ‘language buddies’.
5. Pierre’s Secret: Use modern technology to make quick progress.
Nowadays, the use of technology has revolutionized traditional learning methods. Pierrebelieves that “resetting the language on your browser and all your mobile devices will do the trick”. You can go a step further and start using online software and e-learning solutions, like our enhanced online self-study language courses and/or virtual learning. The possibilities are pretty much endless!
6. Eivina’s Secret: Remember that mistakes are part of learning a new language.
Being afraid of making a mistake is something you REALLY need to stop right now! It will only prevent you from progressing. Eivina addresses an interesting insight: “Keep in mind that foreigners whose language you are learning will appreciate your efforts, as well as your interest in their language and culture.” It’s all about your personal development and finding a way of achieving your individual goals. Don’t let irrational fears stand in your way!
7. Mariya’s Secret: Learn new words effectively by creating mnemonics.
Some words we remember naturally, others we simply fail to bear in our minds. Why is that? Mariya says it is all about the right connotations: “Try to memorize a specific anecdote or short story about the word you are trying to remember. This way you will always associate this particular word to a certain mnemonic, resulting in faster learning.”
8. Oana’s Secret: Use what you learned in real life situations.
Learn vocabulary and common phrases before you start dwelling into grammar. You can pick up informal words while watching series and movies in your target language, and use these with people around you. Oana suggests: “Keep it simple at first, start with very short sentences and easy dialogues. Gradually you will feel more and more at ease with your new language and from there you will progress quickly.”
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