It is no secret that learning a foreign language takes a lot of practice and work, but when you follow certain steps it can make the sometimes “seemingly daunting” task a lot easier. In this post, I share with you 10 steps that will assist you in your language learning process:
1. What’s your why?
What’s your reason for learning a foreign language? Take a moment to think about it. Is it to speak with family, for business, to impress friends? Whatever your reason is, it should be a very strong one to you, because if you have a strong enough “why” then you will be able to endure through any and everything in order to reach your goal
2. Consistency is Key
Do something related to learning the language everyday. With consistent action you will be surprised at how those efforts add up over time. Also when you do something consistently it becomes a habit; when you create a habit you will not want to break it
3. What do you enjoy? Do That!
If you are doing something that you enjoy, you are much more likely to continue doing it. So what do you enjoy? Personally, something that I really enjoy is comedy, so I watch many stand-up comedy acts in the languages that I am learning; I also try to learn and come up with my own jokes in the target language, it’s a great social lubricant!
4. Be curious
If you see someone else experiencing more success than you (in our case, accomplished polyglots, for example), find out what they are doing and model it. Some of their advice may not work for you because while they may enjoy doing what they do, you may not. In many cases, though, you’ll find their tips very useful. You can learn so much by copying successful people!
5. Be multidimensional in your learning
There are four parts to communication: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. If you work on all four of these areas your command of the language will be enhanced. Although there are some who like to work in all four areas of communication (like myself), there are some who only want to focus on speaking and listening, or reading and writing. As outlined in step #3, ultimately you want to do what you enjoy.
6. Be optimistic
There may be, and I will even go as far as to say that there WILL be, frustrating times. Remain positive and continue forward. I love a challenge, so I look at the frustrating times with expectation, seeing them as opportunities to take a difficult task and overcome it.
7. Immerse yourself socially into the culture
Visit a restaurant where the people speak your target language, or learn popular dances of the country that speaks the language and go to a club where they play the music and put your moves into action. These are simple examples that will put you in a fun atmosphere and re-ignite your interest in learning the language
8. Translate your thoughts
This is something I did a lot with my Spanish when I started to take it seriously, and it’s something that I still do now. Throughout the day you will have many thoughts in your native language; why not take some of those thoughts and try to see if you can convert them into your target language? Make it a game!
9. Set up small objectives that build up to your ultimate goal
With each little success that you accomplish, you will gain more confidence in your ability to reach your larger goal.
10. Remember how far you’ve come and be committed to constant improvement
If you periodically think back on the work you’ve put in your target language and how that work has brought you to where you are in the present, you will be proud of how far you’ve come. It’s perfectly fine to be proud of yourself, but don’t become complacent. Constantly try to improve yourself using the other 9 tips above.
I encourage you all to take these tips and tailor them to your unique personality; learning a new language is truly exciting, especially when you truly see yourself progressing! If you follow these tips you will be well on your way to achieving your language learning goals.
About the author
Semaj Richardson is a passionate language learner who loves a challenge. Just knowing that he can interact with people from different cultures and be introduced to an entirely new world really excites him. He is currently learning Spanish (intermediate) and Mandarin Chinese (beginner). To learn more about Semaj, and to follow his personal language learning journey you can visit his blog www.livefluently.com
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