If you want to learn languages, you need to be ready for an extensive period of study and practice or an intensive language course. A lot can change in two years too, which means that learning a language requires regular attention and maintenance.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! Language learning doesn’t have to be difficult if we implement specific techniques in our language learning habits.
Intensive language course
Learning a new language is hard. Most of us struggle with it, not for lack of trying. So why do so many people struggle to learn any language?
The answer lies in the difficulty of the task itself. For example, there are more than 6,000 Romance languages spoken in the world today. That’s a lot of variations to keep track of and understand.
Listed below are six ways that you can make your language learning experience as effective as possible from day one:
Keep learning for as long as you can
Not only will you be more likely to continue learning, but you may also find it easier to pick up where you left off if you continue practicing over the long term. So don’t judge yourself if you know you’ve fallen off the bandwagon for a few months.
Just get back on before it’s too late! After three months of language study, you should be ready to pick up where you left off. But after nine months, you should be able to pick up where you left off without too much trouble.
After a year, you’ll be an expert in your second language. Remember that life won’t stop when school ends.
You’ll still need to pick up the pace when you move into the working world and then continue learning when you have the time. Avoid the trap of “quickly” picking up another language for the sake of it.
Slow and steady wins the language learning race.
Don’t be afraid to speak at your goal pace
When studying a language, we often feel we should speak our new words as quickly as possible. After all, if we can’t speak at our goal pace in our textbooks, why would anybody want to listen?
While it’s important to be confident in your language abilities, it’s just as important to maintain a slow, confident pace when you’re speaking.
Speaking slowly allows you to avoid making mistakes, be clear with your message, and deliver your language as easily as possible. You’ll be surprised at how much difference slow, confident speech makes.
When it comes to speaking, make sure that you’re not setting yourself up for failure. Avoid speaking in your target language when you’re not supposed to speak in it.
Keep your speaking to a low, steady level, and avoid trying to speak your target language when you’re not supposed to be speaking it. For example, you might study a language spoken in a country you’ll visit on vacation like German or Spanish.
Avoid using your language in the country you’re visiting so you don’t set yourself up for failure.
Take a break when you need one
If you’ve been attempting to learn a language for a long period, it might be time for a break. Having a break from studying is important for a couple of reasons.
The first is that it gives you a chance to evaluate your motivation. If you wish to pick up where you left off, you need to decide whether or not you want to do it.
You can’t do this if you’re stressed. If you’re not ready to continue with your language learning, you need to take a break. The second reason is that it allows you to re-align your goals.
You can’t study a language effectively if you don’t know what you want to achieve by doing so.
- Reading books?
- Reading newspapers?
- Reading magazines?
- Reading Reddit?
- What do you want to achieve by studying a language?
- What do you want to get out of it?
Once this is figured out, you can re-align your learning habits to reflect that goal.
Study with a structured approach
Structured language learning methods are a huge help in language learning. You can’t expect to study a language for long periods and not make mistakes.
The only way to learn from mistakes is to make them and to make them repeatedly! Structured language learning organizes your study time and provides you with a framework to follow.
This framework guides you through your study sessions, ensuring you’re absorbing as much information as possible and learning from your mistakes.
There are many different structured learning methods, and it’s important to find one you enjoy using. Make sure that you find a method that will help you avoid falling into the trap of “quickly” picking up another language.
Make sure you find a method you can use after a break.
Try speaking on your own first
One challenge many people have with learning new languages is the fear of “sounding stupid” in public. There’s nothing wrong with being nervous, but it’s important not to let this become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you’re worried that you might sound “stupid” in public, try speaking your target language out loud before going to a social gathering. This way, you’ll be able to answer the question “what do you do?” before “what is your name?”
It can be tempting to answer, “I speak a language,” when a native English speaker asks you this question. But you don’t want to do this!
You want to say something that reflects your language-learning experience and shows that you’re willing to try to learn another language.
Whether studying a new language for school or fun, you need to work hard and make it a priority in your life. But you can do it! The biggest challenge is overcoming the fear of making mistakes.
If you’re worried that you might sound “stupid” in public, try speaking your target language out loud before going to a social gathering.
It can be tempting to answer “I speak a language” when a native English speaker asks you this question, but you want to say something that reflects your language-learning experience and shows that you’re willing to put in the effort to learn another language.