This accomplished polyglot – she is fluent in 7 languages – shared with us her experience, her memories, but also her doubts and fears related to language learning . All this made us want to write an article on the subject!
It’s always easier to hide behind a good excuse than to start. But what does that mean, exactly? Of course, many factors can influence your learning abilities : the number of languages you master, the time you devote to learning, your level of motivation or the reasons that push you to learn a new language…
While it’s true that most of these factors are invariable, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your goal. Quite the contrary! Once you have found the learning pattern that works best for you, you will set realistic goals and be able to use all the learning resources at your disposal. We will therefore help you find the method that best suits your learning profile. And if you follow our advice, you’ll never be afraid to get started again. Promised sworn !
1. Manuals or video: the choice is yours!
Not all learning methods are the same. It is therefore completely normal that some motivate you more than others. For example, you can choose to progress
- with your own notes or vocabulary booklets
- using cards or index cards
- by means of images or audio material
- through apps, videos or music
- moving around while you revise
An essential advice: try to combine as many methods as possible. Your brain will learn better if you engage all of your senses. Indeed, it allows you to activate a very large number of connections, allowing you to better assimilate grammar and vocabulary. Use the Post-it method : look for new words, write them down, listen to their pronunciation and try to stick them on pictures or objects that you find at home or in your workplace. Finally, do not hesitate to boost your creativity… and push your limits. It’s the best way to stop being afraid to start!
2. Make learning part of your daily life
Dissociate learning from its usual context and associate it with your daily activities. Do you like to follow the news on your mobile? Look for articles on topics you know and start by reading the title and the heading. The fact that you know the subject will make you much more receptive and will be very motivating.
Do you prefer listening to music or the radio? So look for a radio channel or listen to songs in your learning language. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the intonation and accent of the language. Films and series in their original versions (with or without subtitles) are also a great way to expand your vocabulary.
And why not combine one or more of your hobbies with language learning? If you like to cook, get started on the recipe for a typical dish from the country whose language you are studying and take the opportunity to learn the names of the ingredients and utensils. Thus, when you meet someone from this country, you will have something to start the conversation!
3. “Real friends” and “false friends ” are there to help you .
When you learn a language, it’s quite natural to have the reflex to look for commonalities with your mother tongue (or other languages, for that matter). And there is nothing better for your learning! Actively comparing languages with each other effectively allows you to adapt the rules you already know and to understand those you are discovering. Associating new words with pre-existing concepts will help you memorize them more easily.
4. Combine business with pleasure
Learning a new language is not always easy: sometimes you have to make concessions . So try to combine business with pleasure! But how ? Language and culture are generally inseparable, so find out about the country or countries where the language you are learning is spoken and their inhabitants. What are their traditions? What do they like to eat?
To stop being afraid to express yourself, get out of your comfort zone. So try to meet native speakers at cultural events organized in your city or through a linguistic tandem, and chat with them as much as possible in order to put into practice what you learn. And why not find yourself in a typical restaurant and order in your new language!
5. Breathe and review
Do you have the blues and your motivation is at an all-time low? Do you feel like you’re standing still or have forgotten everything? Don’t panic, it’s completely normal!
- take breaks
- limit your learning to short sessions
- fully immerse yourself in the lessons
- revise regularly
6. Set realistic goals
Learning a language rarely means “becoming bilingual in a few weeks”. Only a few rare language geniuses like Myra are capable of this! In this sense, it is essential that you set yourself attainable goals. But be careful, make sure they are not too easy either because you could get bored very quickly.