Learning a language is never an easy thing and requires a lot of time and hard work.
I am an Italian native speaker and I can also speak Albanian, English and now I am learning Chinese.
Keep reading to learn my five steps on HOW TO learn a foreign language!
The first thing you have to do is to surround yourself everyday with the sound of that language.
This does not mean you have to move in another country. Thanks to technology you can find videos, TV series, music and listening materials everywhere.
When you get up in the morning, while drinking your coffee, turn on the phone and listen.
Try to listen as much as you can… on the bus, buying grocery, running… bring your earphones with you and keep listening.
Probably for a long period of time you won’t understand anything but don’t be afraid of it, you will notice that slowly you will start understanding some words here and there, then some sentences here and there and soon you will start to understand the meaning of the main content.
Is extremely important that you exercise your listening and understanding skills because if you can speak but you can’t understand what native speakers say you, you won’t ever be able to really use the language in a real life situation.
When I was studying English many years ago at school I was not using this method but now, in my adventure of learning Chinese, this way of studying really changed everything!
When you want to learn a language you have to learn grammar rules, you have to practice listening but let’s say it… if you want to speak you have to know a good number of vocabulary.
Flashcards are a good thing to help you with it. You can use mobile phone’s apps to create your own flashcards or download ready once… challenge yourself to learn a number of new cards every day and the REVIEW!
This is the central point. If you don’t review daily you will soon forget!
I use Anki as flashcards app, is very good and you can use it to study so many different language.
I find very useful to read a book written in the language I am learning. In my opinion is one of the best ways to get in contact with a very correct use of the language.
Choose a book that talks about a subject that interests you and be aware to choose one that matches your level of knowledge of that language.
If you are just a beginner you can’t pretend to read a hard novel or an historical book! It will be way too hard; you won’t enjoy reading, it will make you feel discourage because you won’t understand a word and you will finish up giving up!
My advice is to choose one just one step higher than your real level, this will help you grow.
What I like to do while reading is to read an whole chapter without stopping but just underlining all the words I don’t know and the phrases I don’t understand.
When that chapter ends, I go back and search on the vocabulary all the new words I found and ask a mother tongue or a teacher about the grammar I don’t recognize.
After that I will add the new words as flashcards on Anki so that I can keep reviewing them often.
4. Make friends with native speakers!
If you want to learn a language, you have to use it!
If you are lucky to be living in the country you are learning the language of, then this will be easy.
Make friends and hang out so that you can practice and you can have the possibility to hear mother tongues talk and learn from them.
Ask your friends to correct you when you do a mistake and ask every question you have!
If you are not easily surrounded by mother tongue speakers is not a problem, anyway. Thank to internet, you can find many methods to interact with native speakers.
A fantastic app that will help you is Hello Talk! This app is amazing because put you in communication with native speakers of the language you are learning that are learning your mother tongue language themselves!
In this way you will help each other learn and you can make friends from all over the globe!
5.Do not give up!
This is the most important point! The road to become fluent in a foreign language is hard and long but giving up won’t make it any faster.
If you give up you won’t ever learn and you will throw away all the time you already dedicated.
Be strong and firm and see that slowly the progresses you do will be bigger and bigger, you will start to be able to talk, to understand and you will feel enthusiast and spurred to learn more and more!
I know very well that feeling of “I can’t do it”… “It is too difficult”… “I am wasting time”… “Why should I do it?”…
Don’t let a bad moment tear you down. If you feel too overwhelmed take a break. For one week close all your books and disconnect, take some free time and try to remind yourself WHY you are doing it.
After that week come back and you will see how you will feel reenergized and ready to continue this journey!
Those are the five methods I use to help me learn languages. I hope you enjoy and I hope someone of you will find it useful and inspiring!
Thank you so much for reading, see you next time,