Learning a new language is fast becoming one of the top skills that employers look for when recruiting new employees.
The world is fast becoming increasingly globalised and more companies than ever are doing business in multiple countries around the world, but they can’t do it without hiring cultured and linguistically adept people. Have you ever wanted to be one of those people you see in the airport travelling to foreign countries “on business” all the time? Then read on for our top ten tips for learning a new language
1. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE RULES TOO MUCH… INITIALLY…
My students often raise concerns regarding knowing the correct verbs and tenses and sentence formation. Good grammar definitely helps, especially if you plan to fluently read and write in the language, however, this doesn’t mean that you need to spend all of your time reading over English Language textbooks. Hark back to when you first learned grammar in your native tongue, you picked this up through repetition, and practice, right? So there’s no reason why the second or third language in your arsenal should be any different.
2. MAKE A LANGUAGE FRIEND
Check out Gumtree and other affiliated websites for potential penfriends. Application is one of the best ways to learn a new language, try and speak to a native speaker for at least an hour a day, apps such as WeSpeke and Verbling aim to pair you up with a native English speaker for free conversations.
3. MAKE LEARNING FUN!
Similarly to watching a movie in a foreign language, have you ever tried playing a game in a different language? Immersing yourself in pop culture is a particularly effective way of doing this. For example peruse Instagram for memes in your desired language, listen to podcasts in different languages or learn by listening to music videos. My favorite way of learning through games is demonstrated within this YouTube video, where phrases are learnt under the guise of a drinking game.
4. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU HEAR IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
This is an odd one, but have you ever tried copying out everything you hear in the language you are trying to learn? It’s a sure fire way to test your language skills and to cement any new words that you are trying to remember. We learn more effectively when we write things down, one of the most effective ways to learn a new language—especially when you don’t have anyone else to practice with—is simply through dictation. While listening to language lessons, write down everything you hear. This will train your ear for accents and such but also, most importantly, force yourself to pay attention.
5. HAVE A MOVIE NIGHT!
We really don’t need another excuse for a movie night, but in case you would like another one, have you thought about watching as many movies in your chosen language? Immersive language techniques such as these are scientifically proven to help improve language skills. Put a foreign movie on, add the subtitles and learn as you listen! When you begin to feel more confident in your language skills, try watching the movie again without the subtitles.
6. DOWNLOAD A FREE ONLINE LANGUAGE BOOK
Nowadays there are dozens of free online resources, you just need to know where to look for them, check out Open Culture’s treasure chest of online resources. Or better still, drop B&20 British School an email with your language needs for specific and mixed medium language resources.
7. DOWNLOAD A LANGUAGE APP LIKE DUOLINGO
Ok, we all know that DuoLingo is a tried and tested method, but the app has stood the test of time for a good reason… It actually works! The app has 120 million users worldwide for nineteen common languages! As long as you use it fairly regularly, you are definitely likely to learn new words.
8. USE A FLASHCARD APP, LIKE QUIZLET OR ANKIAPP
With apps like Quizlet and AnkiApp, you can create your own bespoke flashcards with specific sounds and colours to help make the knowledge more memorable. Flashcards are a useful learning tactic as they work through a process of repetition, the more you go through your flashcards, the more likely you are to learn new words.
9.CONVERT YOUR HOME GADGETS TO THE LANGUAGE THAT YOU ARE SEEKING TO LEARN
Asides from your internet browser, try converting the everyday objects that you come into contact with into the language that you would like to learn. For a few hours a day set the language on your phone and tablet to your chosen language, try sticking post-it notes on everyday objects with its name in the chosen language. These tactics could help cement some more foreign words into your vocabulary.
10. PERUSE THE INTERNET IN THE LANGUAGE YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEARN
Given that we are in the twenty-first century, the odds are that you’re on the internet a lot. It helps to utilise your web browsing time as learning time as well. Google Chrome has a brilliant tool which converts parts of your webpage into the language that you would like to learn (Google: Language Immersion Extension Chrome to learn more about it). For even more language practice, try reading news sites in the language that you are trying to learn.