Learning a foreign language is no picnic, but nor is it impossible. You will have to work hard, but the result will be worth it. Like everything, learning another language has its rules that make the process easier. You just need to remember that it’s going to take time, and you can’t just dive right in. Learning a language doesn’t have to be complicated and frustrating all the time, so here are some major rules to help guide you.
- Learn Pronunciation
Wrong pronunciation can change a word’s meaning, and that is why you need to learn it. A fantastic way to learn pronunciation is to listen to songs or talk shows in the target language. No one can teach you how to pronounce a word better than the native speakers themselves. If you are learning Spanish, try listening to how different words sound in Spanish.
- Create Achievable Goals
Some people start learning a language and create too hard to achieve goals. For instance, setting a goal to learn a language in three months is unrealistic. A goal like this is too vague, and you cannot concentrate on what you have to do. If you set up a plan to become an intermediate learner at a specific time, then that will help to keep you motivated. Instead of aiming to be fluent in a language, just try to strike up a conversation with someone instead. Fluency comes automatically!
- Read For Pleasure
Reading is beneficial generally as it broadens the mind and introduces you to rich vocabulary. Find literature written in the target language, and try reading it. You’ll probably have trouble at first, but you will slowly get used to it. Highlight the words that you don’t understand and then check their meanings. If you want, you can write the meanings in small footnotes on the pages so the next time you read it, you know instantly what the words mean, and slowly you will begin to remember them.
- Take It Easy
When you start to learn a language in the most challenging way possible, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Taking the easy way will be your best bet and will help you learn certain habits. If you are learning grammar, try to find a simple way to achieve your goal, and you’ll be able to understand the language much quicker.
- Learn Cognates
Have you ever heard a word in a foreign language and thought you know what it means because it sounds like something similar to a word in your native language? These words are cognates that originated in one language, and another language borrowed it, or the word had roots in another language. These words enable us to understand particular phrases and expressions when we hear them, even if we do not know the language. Learning them will give you an excellent start to knowing some words from the target language without memorizing anything.
Whether you’re a basketball star or giving a speech for the first time, you have to practice. The same goes for learning a new language. You cannot sit in a room teaching the vocabulary and grammar expecting to become an expert miraculously. You need to put yourself out there and start having a conversation in the target language to become good at it. This will give you enough confidence to communicate with the native speakers of the language, and you’ll learn a lot in the process.
Follow these fundamental rules, and language learning will become much easier for you! Don’t forget that GradGuard is here to help you with all your college tips and hacks!
Bio: Lara Smith has worked for Wall Street English for 20 years. After studying at Stanford University and subsequently doing a CELTA course, she began her career in teaching. She is obsessed with languages and currently writes blogs at https://www.mimicmethod.com/.