There are many different reasons why you might want to learn a new language. It could be that you want to expand your cultural horizons and get a deeper understanding of the different nuanced viewpoints, and “styles” of different people in different places. It may be because you enjoy the idea of learning for learning’s sake. And, of course, it may be because you want to improve your professional prospects.
Whatever your specific reasons, however, you may find yourself at a loss for how to start. Some people naturally take to languages and are able to thrive on conventional courses, and with minimal assistance from outside parties. Of course, if you were taught several languages at a young age, it will come easier to you in later life as well.
But what if you didn’t pick up other languages at a young age, and don’t really have any idea where to start?
Well, with the rise of modern technologies and different approaches to the sometimes tricky job of language learning, that may not be such an impediment anymore.
Here are a few tips that you can use to get started on learning a new language if you haven’t managed to make it work yet.
#1 Go for the Total Immersion Approach
The premium language learning company Rosetta Stone follows what is known as a “total immersion” approach to language learning. They believe that the best way to learn a language is not to be gently guided through it in structured lessons we memorize lists of grammar and vocabulary.
Instead, the Rosetta Stone is to simulate an environment where you would be hearing the language all the time, anyway. So, as if you were in a country where the language was spoken and had to pick up the language as a normal course of life in general.
While Rose while the Rosetta Stone approach may have its pros and cons, there is plenty of agreement among professional language experts that the “total immersion” approach is really effective.
If you want to pick up a new language – and especially if you want to learn it in a hurry – try to surround yourself with that language as much as possible.
This could mean, for example, using video captioning services to provide translated subtitles for foreign films and TV, and then watching those instead of your usual lineup.
It could also mean actually spending time in a country with a language spoken, hanging around expats in your community, and more.
#2 Study Consistently Every Day (Even If Only for a Short While at a Time)
A lot of people treat language learning in the same kind of way they might have had it presented to them in school. In other words, they attend classes a couple of times a week and leave it at that.
Overwhelmingly, however, the evidence seems to suggest that if you want to be successful in learning a new language, you really need to spend some time working on it every day – even if only for a relatively short while each day.
Language is a skill that you develop, similar to riding a bike or something like that. You can’t effectively “cram” and learn a language in a couple of days of intense study (at least, most people can’t.)
Instead, it’s the fact that you spend time practicing the language consistently – on a daily basis, in other words – that helps to familiarise you with it, and leads to the kind of incremental improvements that will eventually make you fluent.
#3 Use Professional Services
Some people are able to teach themselves a language from scratch, using only books, and their own intuition. Some prodigies are able to do this, and a fair few people who have already experienced the process of learning languages in their lives can manage it as well.
Generally speaking, however, you’ll want to use professional services on your language learning journey – even if that only means attending class once a week or so, and then doing your own every day learning in between.
Language teachers – especially those who come well reviewed – have experience in conveying core concepts to other people. This means that they will likely be able to work with you, according to your own particular strengths and weaknesses, to make the lessons engaging and effective.
What’s more, language learning through professional services makes the “commitment” more real, as you will now have money on the line, not to mention also the opinions of other people to contend with.
No one wants to be the person who constantly lets the class down, and no one wants to waste their money on something that they’re not fully committed to.
Are you trying to learn a new language?