There are two ways you can learn a language: the quick way, or the correct way. The following tips and tricks are not meant for someone that wants to learn French for example simply so he can handle himself in a basic conversation 3 weeks from now, or for someone that needs to learn basic German in 2 weeks to get a D on her term paper. They’re meant for people that want to learn a secondary language thoroughly, become fluent in it and learn it correctly.
Language Learning Tips and Tricks – Stepwise Progression
Always use a stepwise progression when learning a new language. Most language lessons will provide a step by step structure, but if you settle on learning it on your own, try to follow these basic steps:
1. Learn some basic words to get used to your new language and to have a starting vocabulary.
2. Learn the basic grammar rules in combination with the basic words you learnt at step 1.
3. Once you get a mediocre grip on that language’s grammar, work hard to improve vocabulary.
Language Learning Tips and Tricks – Consistency
Ok, learning a new language, despite what those “learn Chinese in 14 days” books and free language lessons online tell you, is not an easy process. When you were a kid, did you manage to learn English (or your mother tongue) in 14 days? Of course not. It takes months to start understanding a new language and years to “think” in it and speak it fluently.
That’s why you’ll need to be consistent in your language learning process. Don’t learn for 1 week, than take a 1 month break, only to come back to learn for two more weeks. Try learning for shorter periods, but daily. Half an hour spent learning Chinese each day will be far more effective than learning for two weeks and taking a break for one month before continuing your studies.
Language Learning Tips and Tricks – Patience
Like I said above, learning a new language takes a while and is definitely not an easy task, especially if you want to become fluent in it. When setting out to learn a new language, make sure that you understand this won’t be a 2-week ride and that you’ll have to invest a lot of time and work in it.
You’ll have moments when you’ll probably simply want to quit or give up because you don’t understand a particular concept that is different in the language you’re learning than in your mother tongue. If you can overcome these moments (which are more likely to appear during your first month) then you are well on your way to mastering the new language.
Language Learning Tips and Tricks – Learn Efficiently
You’ll find that a lot of the numerous language learning methods out there may prove extremely useful or almost worthless to you. Each person has his strengths and weaknesses so it’s only natural that some methods work best with some people. That’s why I don’t really trust people saying that THEIR method is “the best”. How do they know it’s the best for you? Anyway, you’ll have to figure out for yourself which of these methods suit you most and follow up on that road rather than settling for what someone else considers “the best”.
Some language learning methods include: playing vocabulary games, taking up some free language lessons online or offline, flashcards, taking up courses, using course books or simply improving your vocabulary naturally by watching TV shows or listening to audio tapes where people speak the language you’re trying to learn.
If you manage to combine these 4 factors, you’ll be assimilating the new language in no time. But remember, they all need to work together, if you’re missing one of them, the language learning card castle may crumble. For example, it doesn’t matter if you manage to learn efficiently, if you don’t learn consistently. Or it doesn’t matter if you follow a stepwise learning process, if you don’t have the patience to finish it. And obviously, no learning process can be perfected without a lot of practice, so after you mastered the above-mentioned four factors, practice hard, practice often and practice consistently.
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