Many of us grew up wishing we could speak a second or third language. Then we could work for a big multinational in bustling cities or better yet, travel the world and not struggle to ask for directions to the train. Unfortunately, this is a dream that often seemed impossible to master and so we let go of the idea. Learning a new language is difficult. And this is why many people quit before they really get started. like many things, it’s not easy but the satisfaction of achieving that dream is priceless. Let’s discover winning hacks for learning a new language.
We’ll be honest from the start. It won’t be easy. It will take time (how long is up to you). It will be exhausting. You will be tempted to quit. You have to keep going.
7 hacks for learning a new language
- Talk. Talk. Talk.
Yes, talk. It may seem confusing for us to say you should talk in the language that you’re just starting to learn but there is the reason for this. As much as word flash cards have their place in learning a new language, our minds prioritise and absorb more from interactions that have meaning and are rich in emotion. When you talk to someone in the language you’re learning, there are emotions tied to that experience which creates memories…and memories last.
- Schedule exhaustion
Learning a new language requires hours upon hours of repetition. This means a lot of time reading, watching tv shows in that language, and listening to music and podcasts during your gym session or while cooking. Don’t just sign up for English Vertical courses on Alison, but attend the classes, and do the work. Whatever activity you do, incorporate the new language, at your level of understanding, into it. It may seem awkward and unnatural at first, but fully immerse yourself in the target language to give your mind ample opportunities to pick up the language.
- Stay motivated
Learning a new language is a nice idea theoretically. But theory is not going to keep you going when the mood is low, and you just aren’t feeling up to it. Why are you learning a new language? Be clear about your goals including the about of time, resources, and money you will need to accomplish your goal. It could a childhood dream you want to see materialise, or it’s your partner’s native language and you want to bridge the communication gaps in your relationship. Whatever your reason, set clear goals because this is what will keep you going when you’d rather not.
- Own your mistakes
And there will be many. “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts,” – Nikki Giovanni. We tend to deny, ignore, or be ashamed of mistakes we make along the learning journey. The truth is mistakes are a part of life and you can’t escape them. So, decide that instead of fighting the mistake, write them down, ask yourself what went wrong and what you can learn from it?
- Study pronunciation
Speaking the target language is a big part of learning. However, many people don’t allow themselves to get to this point because they are insecure about the pronunciation of words and phrases. when you progress to the next level of learning, you will pick up more grammar rules, expand your vocabulary and more. What will be more difficult to fix in these stages is your pronunciation of words. This is because at these next stages, your brain has already settled into how you’ve decided to say it, making it harder to fix. Get ahead of this by spending time in conversation with native speakers to get used to how words sound and practice. They’ll be happy to help you say it right.
- Get to 100
Create a goal within your bigger goal and aim to learn 100 new basic words and grammar phrases. It sounds like a lot, but you’d be surprised how quickly a simple conversation reaches 100 words. Setting yourself a 100-word target is doable, serves as a great motivator, and allows to start conversations with native speakers and will give you the fundamentals of the language to help you get by.
- Sign up for a course
Alison’s English Vertical is a programme designed to get you from beginner level all the way through to advanced. Here, each level builds on the lessons from the one below, ensuring you don’t miss any of the essentials when learning English. This is a great tool for anyone who doesn’t know where to start or knows they can’t do it alone. It provides learners with the structure and lesson activities and reviews along the course to ensure you achieve your individual goals.
If you’re new to the English Vertical and unsure of what proficiency level you are, you can take the free English test. Based on your results, you’ll receive recommendations on courses to take.
TIP: Make learning fun
Believe it or not, it is possible to make learning a new language fun. What more fun way to learn Korean than watching K-pop or feed your passion and love for life by bingeing Spanish telenovelas. Find content in your target language that will make the learning fun and soak it up.
Life hacks are great. They are short, novel and almost sure-fire tricks to win in different areas of life. Learning a new language included. Some hacks are easy to do with your eyes closed. The ones we’ve listed here are simple but will also require some effort on your part. If you’ve decided to continue your journey of learning a new language, remember that it is a process. Your eyes open to new worlds and experiences and that second language skills…always a winner!