You might have imagine if there is a magic approach to learn a new language out there. One that is highly effective and doesn’t take a lot of time. The truth is there is no golden road when it comes to language learning. The best you will find is the one that you are most comfortable with. But I will present here those that might offer the best results, despite your target language and learning pace.
#5 Use Assistive Tools
Now in the era of the internet never was so easy to find good resources for language learning. It ranges from reading material, to applications and even media. There are many nice tools out there to aid you in the learning process, like Duolingo, Anki, Babbel and Memrise. Some of them offer the traditional flash cards techniques for memorization, while others focus more on game challenges and image mnemonics.
You can also check for available communities for such apps and discuss anything involving their usage, or even further material that might as well work together with them. What really matter is to experiment different apps and find the one that best suits you.
#4 Memorize The Common Words Vocabulary
This is closely related to the apps mentioned above. Learning the most common words in the language is especially important if you don’t want to feel frustrated on reading the most basic text. Don’t be ashamed to look for material aimed for kids, since it might actually be a good way to start slow and keep a good learning pace.
I also developed a mobile game called Kana Karate. Its main purpose is to improve your language vocabulary in a fun and challenging way. At first, it seems it just supports the Japanese Language with kanas, but dictionaries for Spanish, French, German, Italian and Brazilian Portuguese are also available. Go ahead and give it a try. It is free!
#3 Follow, Watch And Listen
You might want to include the habit of reading news in your daily routine. Create a schedule to follow some radio podcast and watch interviews. It might be difficult at first, but you will eventually start noticing some patterns in the dialogues and ‘fill up the gaps’ as you enrich your vocabulary.
What is really great about this method is that you can always rehearse, take notes an revisit the same material to enhance your comprehension and acquisition of information.
#2 Talk To A Native Speaker
This is a really nice one. Nowadays you can easily connect to other people around the world through Skype, Google Hangouts or similar programs. You can start approaching some language learning forums, build some trust there and when you feel comfortable, ask them for an online chat. This might as well be an exchangeable experience, were both are trying to learn the native or secondary language of the other. If you know a native speaker to talk in person, it is even better.
Social media is also a good way to interact to other people and look for help. You might focus on certain communities and groups that gather for the sole purpose of language learning. It is expected to find others struggling as much as you are, and end up helping each other. Reciprocity is important when working collaboratively, as long as you respect the other limitations and learning steps.
#1 Go Abroad!
This is probably the most effective way to learn a new language. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to travel to another country to study, work or both. If you can, I highly recommend you to do it. Immerse into another culture and avoid using your native language there as much as possible. The more you interact with the native speakers, the more natural the language will become for you.
The most interesting about this is to connect with people all over the world and share your hardships with them. You not only might be able to achieve fluency really fast, but also learn some cool stuff about the country as well. This is something that only a good experience like going abroad can provide.
If I can give you one last tip to learn a new language (or anything for that matter) is to have a commitment, follow a routine and keep a schedule. It is also essential to choose your best time to learn (at night before you go to bed is usually best for memorization, but not everyone functions that way). Take notes and don’t be discouraged when making a lot of mistakes.
There are definitely several other ways to learn a new language, but those I presented are the ones I encourage you to go head first. If you have good ideas that I might be missing here, please leave them on the comments below.
photo credit: Packaging World