More than half of the world’s population speaks more than one language. Some countries even have more than one official language spoke country-wide. The older we get, the more difficult it becomes to learn and retain a language.
However, it’s not at all impossible or too late for you to be multilingual. The key to this is understanding helpful factors about language learning that can get you to your goal quicker.
If you’re interested in adding some different dialects to your communication abilities, check out these 9 super tips for learning a new language.
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1. Repetition Wins
Have you ever heard a commercial on the television or radio so many times that you could say it word-for-word? Well, that’s pretty much what repetition does for your brain. And this is why using its power is one of the top tips for learning a new language.
Repetition is one of the first steps to effective learning. The more you do a thing, the more ingrained it becomes. You can practice repetition with learning in a language in different ways, including reciting flashcards, putting vocab in songs and writing words repeatedly.
Try to use repetition intentionally, when you’re most conscious, as well as during times when you’re subconscious is most active, such as during sleep. You can play vocabulary audio as you go to bed to help even more. Eventually, you will improve in speed and confidence in the material.
2. Make Visual Connections
Sometimes we remember things when we have a visual aid to help prompt us. This might be a good method for you if you’re more of a visual learner. Consider adding visuals to your study materials.
For instance, if you have flashcards, leave them around the house attached to the actual item (on the mirror, books, etc.). You can also draw images on the cards themselves for your self-study sessions.
3. Practice With a Native Speaker
One of the tips for learning a new language that can produce the quickest improvement is talking with a native speaker. The best thing about this is they are able to correct you right away on even the smallest adjustments.
You’ll also get to understand the language from their point of view, which is connected directly to the culture. They can explain certain aspects more in-depth, as well. You might even pick up some cool slang and idioms to sound more natural.
Make sure you pay attention to their mouth when they are pronouncing various words and sounds. Don’t hesitate to ask them to slow down so you can keep up and imitate them accurately.
4. Use Media & Entertainment
Music and movies have always been great ways to learn new languages. The arts themselves are extremely engaging for people so it’s easier to dive into a study session using these colorful tools.
There are a few great ways you can use media and entertainment to your advantage when you want to speak another language:
- Listen to songs with the printed lyrics
- Watch shows and movies with subtitles
- Watch movies that have a version in the language you speak
- Listen to slowed down podcasts
- Make playlists of your favorite things from the language and listen/watch daily
These exercises are fun and will help you to become a much better speaker.
5. Look in the Mirror
This one might sound silly but it’s actually a really good tip for language learners. The thing about speaking a new dialect is that oftentimes it causes you to reposition your tongue and situate your mouth in unnatural ways. A cool trick to help manage this is speaking in the mirror.
Looking in the mirror while you practice will help make sure your placements are accurate. You’ll be able to make a connection between how the word is supposed to feel and sound at the same time. For instance, if you want to learn how to speak English fluently, you may have to shift your tongue slightly back for the “tapered tongue” effect.
Practice speeches, songs, random conversation and anything else that takes you out of your comfort zone.
6. Read Books Aloud
You should be reading books in the language that you want to learn. Another method to add to that would be actually saying the words you’re reading aloud.
Sometimes the way you speak in your head doesn’t come out the same way when you go to say it. It’s best to hear yourself and make audible corrections.
Consider recording yourself (you can use a smartphone or laptop) and playing it back. This will help you to improve with flow, pacing, and enunciation during reading. Choose different levels and topic books to help expand your vocabulary quickly.
7. Take Advantage of Technology
There can’t be a list of tips for learning a new language without mentioning the fact that technology has made it almost easier than ever. There are plenty of apps and software to help you start speaking a different language. Many of them are free to download and use.
You can also find tons of videos, blogs, courses and online communities to help you with studying and application. Don’t skip out on using everything that technology has to offer in your pursuit of being multilingual.
8. Immerse Yourself in Culture
Sometimes it might be difficult for you to retain certain terms or phrases because they are specific to the culture. It’s always great to take a respectful approach to learn more about the people and places that the language originated from.
Take time to immerse yourself, make friends and even travel a bit to help you understand more.
9. Listen Carefully
The reality is that you’ll never be able to catch on to any language if you aren’t a good listener. Your receptive communication (listening, receiving info) leads to having strong expressive communication (speaking). Always listen closely and practice on sharping your ear for the language.
Follow These Tips for Learning a New Language
If you want to be bilingual or even multilingual, it’ll take time, focus and effort. The good news is that if you use these tips for learning a new language, you could be close to your goal before you know it. The most important part is to remain consistent and never give up.
For more tips and tricks, check out our blog.