If there’s anything you should know about me, it’s that I looooooove languages and I’ve found them to be one of my favourite things to study! A fun fact that intrigues all at dinner parties or whenever someone meets me is that I currently am learning three languages. Yup, you read that right, THREE. I know it may seem like a lot, but I’m always down for a good challenge, especially if I’m passionate about it. If you’ve made it this far, I’m assuming you want to excel in learning a language. So, whether you’re a beginner, currently studying a language or want to pick up a new one, read on for five practical tips to help you ace language study!
- Layout your priorities
At any stage of our language journey, we’re going to have some challenging obstacles come up, which will deter us from studying the language. It’s times like these when we have to ask ourselves ‘why’. Layout your priorities; why are you even studying this language? Work opportunities? Travel? Study abroad? Maybe your relatives speak the language, and you want to learn how to communicate with them.
Set yourself some goals. Is there a skill you want to nail down? (Reading, writing, listening, speaking). Maybe it’s to learn 100 vocab words each month or be able to finally turn off the subtitles when you’re watching a foreign language film/tv show. Don’t be afraid to set some boring/’too’ achievable goals down. Five minutes of Duolingo a day is better than none. Whatever it takes to learn the language, right?
- Use the resources available to you.
TEXTBOOKS! These are something that I always have to purchase each semester/year as it covers the content for each semester. They cover everything from culture to grammar to practice questions to reading activities. Basically, the be all or end all for learning a language! If your course doesn’t offer textbooks, use whatever resources your teacher gives you, or you can go to the library and get some language books to help you!
YOUTUBE! I cannot stress how many available resources there are on YouTube. Honestly, just search up “Practice *insert language here* With Me* and you’ll for sure find multiple sources that will become your best friend!
Here are some channels I use to help me learn the language!
These are the languages that I learn, but there’s a channel for heaps of other languages out there!
LECTURES/RELATIVES! Your lecturers are ultimately going to be your best source when it comes to learning a language. For all we know, they’re fluent in the language! So go to their office hours and practice, practice, practice. It also helps to attempt to write emails/ask questions in the target language.
A bonus that many people don’t have the advantage of is your relatives! This is probably one of the best sources to use if you can’t physically go to the country that speaks your target language. (I mean, for now, haha). You’ll be able to experience the everyday phrases and how they interact with one another. For sure, use this source if you can!
- Consistency makes the most significant difference!
- Memorising vocab is super essential. You’ll be lost if you have a limited vocab range.
- Try writing notes with minimal English (in uni, my lectures teach in the language, and the slides have little to no English)
- Practice daily! Active recall is the best study method for languages.
*During my mid-sem break, I set aside time every day to make sure I retain the three languages I’m learning.
- Immersion is KEY!
If there’s anything you should take from this post, it’s that IMMERSION IS KEY! Below are some tools that I use to soak up the language and culture from afar:
- Podcasts – I like to use Duolingo, as they tell true stories and chime in with English when you get lost.
- Tik Tok – heaps of accounts to practice and learn
- Movies/TV Shows/Music/Books
- Social Media accounts and YouTube channels to get insider knowledge on culture, fashion, food, customs, traditions/festivals, pop culture
- Changing the language settings on your phone to your target language
- Be creative!
Lastly, let your creative brain explode! Learning a language is so much more than writing notes and going to lectures; it’s much more fun when you let loose and have your own take on learning the language. Some cool ideas:
- Post-it notes on items around the house
- If you enjoy songs, write mini poems/songs in your target language
- Cooking: use recipes in the language (make cultural food, drinks, desserts)
- Go to clubs which involve your language
So, there you have it! Five practical tips that are pretty much essential for learning a language. And if you ever need a buddy to practice French, Spanish or Italian, I’m always down to interact and communicate with one another!
Till next time,