5 Tips For Learning a Language

The most important thing when learning a new language is to practice–practice, practice, practice, as much as possible. Of course, if you’re learning Spanish and you live in South America, or you’re learning English and you live in the USA, where you’re immersed in that language, that’s very helpful. But even then, depending on how well you speak the language, talking with native speakers might be very hard: they speak too quickly, for example, or mumble, and we feel bad asking them to slow down, or repeat things. So it’s necessary to practice alone–it’ll not only help improve your language skills, but just as importantly, it will make you feel more confident about using them, which in turn improves them even more. It all begins with practice!

But we soon find that’s easier said than done. Studying flash cards every night can get old fast. Luckily, there are as many different ways to practice language as there are to use it. So here are some tips on how to practice your language skills while still keeping it interesting!

1. Sing a Song

Music is perfect for learning language! It’s catchy, so it gets stuck in your head. It has a natural rhythm, which helps you remember words. And it often has repeating lyrics, so you have several chances to hear a phrase. Look up popular songs in the language you’re trying to learn, grab a lyric sheet (and a translated version, so you know what you’re singing about) and start singing into your hair brush! Pop music, whether you usually like it or not, is perfect for this: just try getting those songs out of your head–you’ll be practicing all day, whether you want to or not!

2. Watch a movie

If the language you’re learning is Spanish or English, then you’re in luck: almost any DVD has Spanish and English subtitles, and many have alternate audio tracks. Next time you check out a flick, use it as a learning opportunity! The great thing about this is that you can adapt it to whatever level your language is at. If you’re just starting out, for example, play the movie in your native language, but put the subtitles on in the language you’re learning. If you’re more advanced, then use the audio track for the language you’re trying to learn, with that language’s subtitles to help you catch what they’re saying. If you know somebody else learning the language, watch with them. You can even play movie trivia afterwards, to see how well you understood what happened.

3. Read Yourself a Bedtime Story

Sitting at the kitchen table with piles of language textbooks and stacks of worksheets, pining for a simpler time? Go on: immerse yourself in a sweet, simple children’s story. Children’s books work great for teaching language to children–they work just as well for adults, too. The simple sentence structures and basic vocabulary are perfect for new language learners–and the charm of once again reading your favorite tales doesn’t hurt, either.

4. Stick It To ‘Em

Two words: post-its. Put them up on everything around you–put one at eye-level on the door (la puerta), on the wall (la pared), on the bathroom mirror (el espejo). Put one on the fridge (el refrigerador), on your hair dryer (el secador de cabello), on your dresser (la cómoda). You get my drift (el sentido). Say the word out loud every time you use that item. When you’ve learned a word (wall, for example), put on a different sticky note–maybe for its color, or texture, or material, etc.

5. Read the Fine Print

Many labels and instructions now are printed in different languages. There’s a good chance that drill you bought, or that hair dye, or that self-assemble desk, has instructions in whatever language you’re trying to learn. Read those before you read the ones in your native language. This is a particularly great way to learn imperatives–the “do this.” tense. Of course, you may want to double-check yourself against the native language instructions before proceeding. Neither hair dyes, drills, nor furniture are things you want to get wrong!

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about learn spanish.

    Regards

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