We are extremely passionate about travelling and learning about other cultures and traditions. Language makes up a large part of that. Learning new languages is something we have always been really interested in. In 2020 our goal is to be well on our way to speaking a foreign language. Our goal is to have a natural and flowing conversation with a native. Because we are so passionate about languages we wanted to write our favourite tips on how to start learning a new language.
Below we have listed the various learning methods we currently use, and the ones we will implement in the future.
Start with apps
With the invention of smartphones, there is a whole range of language learning apps available to use and learn with on the go. Apps are the easiest way to get started in learning a language. Most apps are free to use and are the perfect way to get started and test the waters before you commit by purchasing classes, or grammar textbooks.
There are several apps that we currently use and love. Our favourite apps include Memrise, LingoDeer, LingQ and Drops.
Memrise is great for memorising words, phrases and vocabulary using images and memes. The science behind Memrise is to associate phrases and images with the word or phrase you are trying to learn. Using this method is proven to help you remember.
LingoDeer is geared towards learning Asian languages with choices for learning Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. But Lingodeer also has options for Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Italian. Lingodeer differs from other language apps by emphasising grammar alongside vocabulary.
LingQ is all about immersing yourself in a whole range of content that you love. By immersing yourself in podcasts, books, movies, news and Youtube videos of the language you’re trying to learn you will drastically increase your vocabulary.
Drops is a great app because it allows you to associate words with images. It is super easy to fit into your busy day because each lesson is only five minutes long. You can choose to learn from than 30 languages from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and even languages like Samoan and Maori.
Watch YouTube videos
Another free and easy way to start learning a new language is to watch YouTube videos. There are thousands of language education channels and unlike apps, there are plenty of channels available for languages that are lesser-known or have less resources available anywhere else. If you were interested in learning a language like Pashto, Zulu, Swahili or Burmese these might be hard to find resources for, but on YouTube, there is a lot.
Once you’re more confident you can skip the learning videos and watch content made for native speakers by native speakers.
Listen to music
Listening to music is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and even be entertained as well. Whether you’re a big pop music fan or a rock music fan you can find music in almost any type of genre. Being able to listen to music in the language you are interested in means you will be more likely to enjoy it.
However, you might be more interested in listening to podcasts. If so, podcasts, just like music, are in so many different languages. They can also be found in all the same places you would find your music, like Spotify, Soundcloud and Apple Music.
Watch tv shows and movies
One of our favourite ways to immerse ourselves in a language is to watch foreign tv shows and movies. Netflix is great for this because there is so much content available for non-English speakers. We have watched countless tv shows in various languages, including Japanese, Korean, Danish, Norwegian and even Cantonese.
If you are learning an Asian language we also highly recommend Viki. Viki has a huge selection of Asian television shows to pick from. We have watched multiple Korean and Chinese dramas on this website.
Start reading foreign texts
Reading is a great way to learn a new language because you can do it in many different ways. You can read grammar textbooks, children’s books or even foreign blog posts written by foreign Instagram influencers. Reading is easy to do with physical books, ebooks, apps and social media sites. Whether you’re on the train to work, sitting on the toilet or sitting in the park, reading can be done anywhere at any time and on any smart mobile device.
Changing the language on your phone and computer is also another easy way to start reading in the language you’re learning. Other ways include downloading apps like Beelinguapp and finding foreign news sites.
When you are learning a language you should also write everything down with a pen and paper. Studies show that we are more likely to remember things when we write them down. Reading our own handwriting out loud also helps us with pronunciation.
By reading we can learn sentence structure, grammar, and pronunciation. Learning these things makes us a better language learner, helps us to learn faster and to also enjoy what we’re doing.
Start chatting to natives
Another great way to learn a new foreign language is to talk to the natives. Fortunately, we no longer need to travel to a foreign country to do this. There are plenty of apps and websites where you can do this from the comfort of your living room. This is something I haven’t personally tried just yet, however it is something I am really eager to try. Two highly rated and polyglot recommended apps I want to try are Tandem and Hellotalk. These are like social media apps which connect you with native speakers. These platforms allow you to virtually meet and chat with a local. Learning from someone who knows the language means they can correct your spelling, pronunciation and sentence structure.
How do you like to learn new languages?
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