Tips on Learning a New Language

With the hype of being introduced to a new culture, or for the fact you want to learn how to cuss someone out in a language they’re unfamiliar with, people are learning new languages for their own purposes and reasons. However, learning languages isn’t an easy feat, and there are people out there who struggle. Here are some tips I’ve learnt to teach myself a new language.

– DO NOT GIVE UP

Learning a new language isn’t going to be easy, so with perseverance, you can achieve anything. Looking at words and giving up after five minutes isn’t going to do anything. Always try your hardest because you can’t do or learn anything to the best of your abilities by throwing in the towel when things get tough.

– STOP MAKING EXCUSES

Making excuses won’t make anything happen; and this isn’t just for just language study. Whatever you do, making excuses won’t do anything. Actions allow for progression so by ditching the excuses, you can progress your studies.

“But I have no time to learn”

If you really want to learn a new language, you need to find some free time to sit down and study. A saying that has been implemented at my workplace is “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.” Forget about the cleaning part, but the saying is true. If you have time to slack off and be lazy, you have time to use the free space for studying purposes.

“But there aren’t opportunities for me to use the language”

This is my most hated excuse. There are always opportunities for using a language you’re studying. Make some friends who speak the language you’re learning and try to communicate with them to enhance your knowledge. Go out to a restaurant and order food in the language you’re studying. Even better, go and surround yourself with people who are native speakers of the language you’re studying; people who don’t speak a word of English, and communicate. Putting yourself in a pressurized environment, forces you to use what you know of the language you’re studying, thus, enhancing your knowledge and usage abilities.

“But people are better at learning languages than I am”

I tell everyone this; never compare yourself to somebody else. You are you, and they are themselves. You cannot be someone else, so there is no point in comparing someone’s abilities against your own. People learn things faster, or slower compared to you so you can only learn by learning at your own pace. Sure, some people are designed to be able to pick up languages faster than others, and some have to really work hard to learn it. As long as you’re putting in the effort to learn it then you will progress.

– DON’T STUDY THE WORD FOR IT’S TRANSLATION

Trust me on this; you waste more time trying to translate everything than to know the word itself. Let’s use the language Korean, and the word chair for example. Don’t think of the translated word for chair, just think of the translated words as another name for chair.

For example, the word chair in Korean is 의자 (wee-ja). Don’t try and translate 의자 in your mind because it will take too long, and prolong your studies. Just think of it as another way to say chair. That way, you can remember more efficiently and really boosts your vocabulary studies.

ie: This is a chair, this is a 의자. Chair is 의자. Let’s sit on the 의자, let’s sit on the chair.

– USE ACTIONS AND EMOTIONS TO LEARN WORDS

You learn best when you associate a word with a form of action, or an emotion, because you’re more likely to remember the word that way. Let’s take the word for eat, and the Korean language again.

The word for eat is 먹다 (muk-da). Associate this word with the eating action, as if you’re spooning food into your mouth. That way, you can remember that 먹다 means to eat.

Another example is to be happy, 행복하다 (haeng-bok-ha-da) which you can associate with a smile. When you’re happy, you smile. When you’re 행복 you smile.

– SING YOUR NEWLY STUDIED WORDS

People learn and remember better through song, so learn, or make your own song to accompany your words to remember them more effectively. My favourite way to teach someone how to count people in Japanese, is teach them the “3 Little Indians” song that, after hearing it once, you can never forget for the rest of your life.

– STICKY NOTES IN THE BATHROOM AND CEILING

Just because you’re bathing or showering doesn’t mean you can’t study what you learnt. Have sticky notes stuck outside the shower screen so you’re constantly exposed to information whilst keeping yourself clean.

Sticking some commonly used phrases on your ceiling means when you’re about to sleep, or as you wake up, you can look up and study the words, or phrases before and after you sleep each day.

These are a few tips on learning a new language, and adhering to your studies. Of course, there are so many other tips you can use, like downloading and listening to songs in the language you’re studying, or watching films, etc. that you can implement into your life to make it more interesting, or progress your studies further. Remember, procrastination gets you nowhere. If you keep trying with the best of your abilities, you can achieve anything.

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