How to successfully learn a language

  • Start by learning vocabulary. Every day, learn new words and familiarise yourself with the language.
    If you live in the country in which the language is spoken, carry a small notebook with you. Every time you hear something new, ask people what it is and write it down. Also ask for new words- everyday you should have written down and learnt a few new words, especially if you are starting to learn the language.
    Don’t only write words down, get them into your head, recite them before going to sleep so that you are sure that you know them.
  • Don’t be shy. People are always happy to help someone who is trying to learn their language!
  • Learn basic sentences, such as greetings and introductions, off by heart. As soon as you know them, start using them.
  • When you hear people talk, concentrate and listen. It is very easy to fade away when one cannot understand what someone is saying, but try and truly listen to a conversation and try to see if you can recognise any words you already know. This will also help you get accustomed to the sounds and way of pronunciation.
  • Immerse yourself completely- listen to music, watch movies and try to read (children’s books are always a good beginning).
  • Get interested into the languages culture and its country. Doing this will not only motivate you more, but it will also make you understand the ways of a language. For example, the importance of greeting people in Senegal (when mearning Wolof).
  • There are some really good and free language learning apps- download them, as they can be a fun way to learn. ‘Duolingo’ is pretty good and I suggest ‘Obenkyo’ for Japanese learners. ‘Apprendre le Wolof’ is perfect to learn Wolof, but you need to be able to speak French.
  • As soon as you start to understand the language, start studying sentence structure; figure out how you can build your own sentences. Then, start learning the language’s grammar: verb conjugation, how to form past, present and future etc.
  • Continue to learn vocabulary throughout and try to challenge yourself constantly.
  • Learning a language takes time so have patience!

Image courtesy of: blog.allmyfaves.com

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