language

15 language learning tips

This post took a while to  write. hopefully it’ll be helpful for you!♡

there is an accompanying video on youtube if you would prefer to watch a video

my video

Listen to music in the target language while studying or study in silence.

I find that whenever I study while english audio is playing I’ll find myself listening too hard to whatever’s playing. I also recommend listening to music in the target language in general because I believe it’s a good way to begin to understand wordplay. I suppose chamber music could work too because of the lack of words.

Take notes on online resources

If you’re a user of online resources or apps like Duolingo, Memrise, or Lingodeer i would recommend you write down what you don’t know. I find that if i play Duolingo like a game I end up retaining less information and I tend to just click through the levels robotically. This does not apply if you use the apps as a review tool or to sharpen your skills in a language you already know like how I use Duolingo to practice spanish, which I’m already fluent in.

when it comes to online resources i recommend duolingo and memrise but i recommend lingodeer the most. here are some photos of some of the things one does in a lesson on lingodeer.

If aiming for polyglotism, translate example sentences into all target languages

I would recommend buying a cheap notebook to write sentences in all of your languages. For example if you’re learning swedish, bulgarian, and tagalog from your first language english, write any practice sentences in all of those languages. I find that this helps me to better understand the similarities and differences between each language. By doing this one can also understand grammar better because most languages have different grammar rules and thus one can, for instance underline all verbs to see where verbs lie in relation to the verbs in the other languages. 

Learn to type in the target language

Learning to type may not have bee so important about a decade ago, but in our modern technologically minded society, it is necessary to be able to type in your second language. This is pretty simple to do on a smartphone because the letters on the keys will change, but on a computer one must memorize where each letter lies on the qwerty keyboard. Knowing how to type in your second language will make it easier to look things up in the target language, thus helping you find new online resources, or allow you to type something out if somebody doesn’t understand your accent.

Do listening practice outside of your home

When you’re at home you can control how many distractions you have but if you’re walking around your neighborhood you don’t have quite as much reign. Dealing with barking dogs can help you to better focus and improve your fine hearing skills. I like to listen to the coffee break chinese podcast on my morning walks and it’s really improved my ability to hear the differences in tones to be outside with noise while listening to chinese speakers.

Listen to how people with a different first language speak your target language

It’s important to not just know how certain people speak each language, so understanding people with a different accent than natives or you can improve your listening abilities. This can also help you to see how others make errors which can prevent you from making similar ones.

Come to terms with the fact that you’ll most likely never speak like a native

I personally find accents really charming, so i fully embrace this fact. I know it can be depressing for others, however because everyone wants to be the best and everyone wants to fit in. 

MEMORY PALACE

The memory palace method is a memorization technique that basically boils down to choosing a place that you walk through often and assigning landmarks in the area a word or phrase. For example, I had a very hard time remembering the korean word for nurse but when I assigned my bed that word and said it out loud each time I saw my bed I remembered the word well and now it’s one of my best memorized words.

Learn onomatopoeia in the target language

Onomatopoeia are the action noises people use (example: pow, crash , bang, woof). If you don’t learn these you may find yourself confused when you hear people making vaguely doglike noises that you don’t recognize when asked what sound a dog makes. This can probably also help if you’re a manga reader.

Take brakes from learning new words every once in a while

I find that if once i learn about 100 new words i take a break to focus on using those words and truly integrating them into my vocabulary that my ability to create original sentences progresses at a faster rate. This also helps me to drill words into my head and allows me to see all the ways 100 words can be combined.

Read things you’re interested in

I don’t think most reading material intended for language learners is helpful. I find that I am supremely uninterested in reading these simple structured pieces. Thus, I read celebrity gossip in other languages. I especially enjoy reading korean netizen comments on celebrities. Reading things that weren’t made specifically for language learners can really help you to see just how far along you are in each language because you can see just how much you recognize.

Keep “artifacts” in the language you’re learning

I like to hoard packaging. I’ll sometimes read through the backs of food packages to read the ingredients and directions so I can see words over and over again and once i fully understand what is written on the package i get rid of it. This is just another way to help you immerse yourself.

here are a few of my artifacts

Try using a few websites in your target language.

For example if you’re learning chinese get a weibo account or if you’re learning japanese get an ameba/ameblo account. I find that scrolling through weibo every once in a while really helps me to speed up my reading of chinese characters.

Don’t focus on travel tips or survival phrases

If you’re actually trying to learn the language, you don’t need to worry about learning “where is the bathroom” right away. You’ll probably learn all the survival phrases you need within a month of focused, pointed studying.

Have multimedia resources

My belief in using a lot of resources is probably pretty easy to see from this post but i really truly believe that using only online resources is limiting and will let you down when the internet is down at your house and you need to study. Just having one workbook can really help in preventing fatigue from repeating the same motions with online resources and allows for more flexible studying. if you can’t afford to buy a workbook, be sure to take thorough notes on online resources so you can review.

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4 thoughts on “15 language learning tips

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