A recent article, written by a tutor registered with The Tutor Pages, outlines some great advice for learning a new language.
The tutor details five tips to help boost your chances of becoming a more successful language-learner:
1. Watch and Learn
Pick something you enjoy learning more about and listen to news and podcasts about it and/or watch movies, TV shows and YouTube videos on the subject. This could be anything from technology, cooking or sports to nail art.
For instance, say you’re watching YouTube videos on how to bake a cake. You will acquire vocabulary specific to baking, such as baking implements, ingredients, units of measurement, etc. More importantly, you’ll be hearing the new words being used repeatedly and in a variety of grammatical contexts.
2. Log new vocabulary
As you are exposed to more and more new vocabulary, write down all the new words and phrases you come across.
It’s up to you how you list new entries, but ideally have at least two different sections: one for just one-word entries (e.g. ladle = large spoon for serving soup) and one for more complex phrases (e.g. “paint the town red” = go out and celebrate).
3. Take a Language Lesson
Once you have a long list of new vocabulary, put it to good use.
Book a language lesson with a language coach or tutor and try to impress them using words from your list. Chances are your tutor will be using even more new vocabulary related to what you’re discussing, which in turn will make your list much longer.
In addition to lessons, you should also make time to complete your homework and/or write something on a subject you’re familiar with. Try to use everything you’ve learnt as this will give you a chance to internalise the new vocabulary.
4. Practise your speaking
As with most things in life, practice makes perfect.
Finding a native speaker of your target language used to be the trickiest part of practising a foreign language, but not anymore. There are plenty of Facebook groups where you can find a language exchange partner, which is also a great way of making new long-distance friends.
5. Reflect on your progress
Take some time to review your lists once a month and appreciate how far you’ve come.
As you go through your marked-up homework again, spot at least five types of mistakes you tend to make frequently. Then the next time you’re revising your work, you’ll know what issues to look out for.