10 Good Ways to Learn a Language
1. Spend time in the language – Listen, read, write, speak and learn new words and phrases in the language you want to learn. Seek out materials and situations in the language that you find interesting and enjoyable.
2. Listen and read daily, even if you just have time for the Word of the Day for foreign languages or Word of the Day in English in your e-mail. Listen to and read things you enjoy in the language such as songs on Youtube and movies with subtitles.
3. Study vocabulary – When reading or listening to the language, write new words and phrases in a small notebook that you can keep with you. Study them when you have spare time in the day. You can also write the new words and phrases on flashcards to use to help you learn. Memrise.com uses flashcards to boost the speed and ease of learning.
4. Relax and enjoy yourself. Play games, look at art, and find music you enjoy from the country of the language you want to learn. Music can have a powerful role in language learning helping with pronunciation and grammar while also appealing to the senses. Listen and sing along to songs in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Brazilian Portuguese on TheLanguageLady.com.
5. Language classes – Classes can provide structure and motivation for your language learning. You have the benefit of a teacher’s instruction, support and feedback and other students with whom to practice the language in a fun way.
6. Private tutor – Learning a language with a private tutor gives you personalized instruction, support and feedback. The teacher can devote undivided attention to you and your language learning needs.
7. Audio programs – Living Language and Pimsleur CDs are great to listen to in the car or uploaded on a portable device. They may be available to check out at your local library.
8. Websites and cell phone apps – Some people enjoy learning languages with free language learning websites and apps such as Duolingo.
9. Language exchange – Find a native speaker of the language you want to learn who wants to learn your language. See if there is a local Meetup group for your target language. Practicing with friends who speak the target language is great for your language learning.
10. Immersion – Learning a language in a country where it’s spoken is very effective. You have the opportunity to be in the language all day, not just in class. You also have the benefit of meeting the locals and enjoying the culture.
“I love learning languages. I started learning French and some Spanish in elementary school and continued through college. My family hosted exchange students and I was an exchange student to Mexico. In college I went on a mission trip to Haiti and studied abroad in France. Later I studied and was a nanny in France. I began teaching languages in Raleigh, North Carolina and continued learning languages – Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Italian – at NCSU. I’ve lived in Ecuador, Brazil, Italy and other countries teaching English and/or traveling while studying languages and culture. I have met wonderful people all over and am so thankful for the opportunities that have opened up as a result of learning languages.” – Pam Davis