Ola!/ Bonjour!/ こんにちは!/ 안녕하세요!/ Hello!
Are you trying to learn a new language? Are you passionate about a foreign culture?
If so, I salute you pal! Learning a new language is no easy feat, but it can also be a very knowledgeable and enjoyable experience!
Here are some tips to ease your plunge into the unknown depths of learning a new language!
Vamos!/ Commençons!/ はじめましょう！/ 시작하자!/ Let’s Start!
~ Perfect your Basics!
You can only run, once you learn to walk. Getting the basics engraved in your brain is the first step to learning a language. The alphabet, grammar and pronunciation must be on your fingertips!
Even though I’m at an intermediate level in Korean, a couple of days ago I was getting confused with basic grammatical rules about topic, object and subject markers, that I had learned 10 months ago!
Kuma very wisely pointed out that I needed to revisit my basics. Not only was I able to understand that rule clearly, but I also discovered a couple of others that I wasn’t so clear on!
For all you Korea junkies out there, Kuma will be posting a Guide to Korean Language very soon! Her tips and tricks are sure to help you out!
~ Master that Vocab!
After you have your basics down and can read and write without a hitch, it’s time to expand your Vocabulary!
You might pick up a magazine and be able to read a sentence, but if you don’t understand the meaning of even one word in that sentence, then you will misinterpret the entire thing.
And similarly, forming a sentence in the past tense might be easy for you, but if you don’t know the word for Library, then how will you express where you went?
Writing a word and it’s meaning 20 times might help you memorise it for the moment, but if you want to memorise it for good you’ll have to train your brain to associate that word with it’s meaning.
The best way to do this is to label objects around your house! Slap on a sticky note to your door, window, shoes etc. and each time you’ll look at them, you’ll associate them with their word meaning!
~ Train your Brain!
Now that you’ve associated objects with their word meanings in the language you’re learning, it’s time to start thinking in that language!
Start with simple statements about your plan for the day. Let’s say you’re thinking, ‘Oh I will go to the mall today!’, take a minute to convert that sentence into the language you’re trying to learn. ‘Watashi wa shopping mall kyō ni ikimasu!’ is the same sentence in Japanese!
Watching movies and TV shows in that language regularly will also help you easily recognise and form simple sentences by yourself! And they are so fun to watch! ^_~
It is difficult to practice a language unless you’re living in an environment where it is spoken regularly. This way, you’ll train yourself to actively use that language each day no matter what!
~ Converse with people!
The best way to sharpen your speaking skills is to speak out loud! While you can talk to yourself and practice all you want, it is crucial to converse with native speakers as well.
Grab your foreign friend, an exchange student or your 70 year old bilingual neighbour cat-lady! Offer them a cuppa and try your hand at conversing with them. Don’t worry about making mistakes, it’s the only way you’ll learn!
Why not head over to a restaurant and try some foreign cuisine with them? You’re more likely to remember the names of foreign dishes if you’ve tried them for yourself! Culture is a big part of learning a language, so don’t skip out on it!
If you’re a bit people shy in person, then try your hand writing to a pen-pal online. There are various websites where you can chat with people from different countries, who might just be interested to learn your native language!
~ Goals! Goals! Goals!
Sometimes we become a bit stagnant in our studies and lose motivation. This can be very detrimental to the learning process! As hard as it is to learn a new language, it’s twice as easy to forget it!
Participate in essay contests and speech contests! Go for an Exchange Program to a foreign country! Volunteer for small translation jobs! Take official language proficiency exams!
If you have something motivating you, a task you have to accomplish, or a competition to participate in, you’ll most definitely study harder!
Try and build hurdles and challenges for yourself to battle with, you won’t get bored and you’ll find that each accomplishment motivates you to keep going!
So keep at it and become the master linguists you were born to be! \\(^_^)//
Tell us which languages you speak and which languages you’re learning! We want to know pals!
Buena Suerte!/ Bonne chance!/ がんばろう！/ 잘해봐 !/ Good Luck!
For more in the Guide to Series: