You’ve always wanted to learn another language. You know that it improves brain health, and opens up career doors. How fun is it to meet interesting people online, who live in other countries. Or speak with the locals when you visit. But you probably think that learning a language is hard. This is because the way most of us learned in school just wasn’t effective. It is easy to learn a new language. Millions of people are doing it every day. Expand your mind and become bilingual today with these easy tips. If you can do 3rd grade math, you can learn another language. Number 20 will show you how.
1) Buy a pen
According to the Scientific American, a notable science journal, those who write the old fashion way with pen or pencil learn more and develop a greater understanding than those who try to take notes by typing. If you are trying to memorize, listen, speak and write them down to help solidify the idea. If it is an action, perform the action as you say it. Our minds and bodies work together to form memories and learn.
CLICK START SLIDESHOW > TO BEGIN…
2) It’s Science, Silly
All learning is about our brain processing new information. Certain techniques help us learn faster and retain more. Study right before you begin calming your mind for sleep. The brain is more likely to retain the information. Learn language using subjects you love. Love Fashion? Read fashion sites in the other language. Build on existing knowledge. Start with the basics and keep expanding your knowledge.
3) Happy to be stuck with you
Don’t try to label everything all at once. Try 10 a day. Or 20 a week. Post-its work great. Each time you interact with the object, make note of the name. Say it out loud. It could be food, utensils, electronics, appliances, furniture. Probably best not to label your children. As your progress, add common verbs and sentences to the object. I sit on the couch. I brush my teeth. Let’s watch TV. Do you need a fork? What time does the show start? Perform the action as you say it, but don’t try to say “I’m eating cream corn” while eating it. That’s gross.
4) Reprogram your life
Do you use self check out at the grocery? Switch in to another language. Change your iPhone, Tablet, computer into another language. Not only will you infuriate your kids and spouse, but you’ll be learning various app, technology terms and more. What Fun!
5) Resistance is futile
Get free software that adapts to you, making it impossible for you not to get sucked into the wormhole of learning and you won’t need your universal translator. Apps like Anki do just that. It’s artificial intelligence that learns what you need to learn to optimize the experience.
6) Share and Share Alike
Meet and Work with other language learners through web mobile apps like Duolingo. Track progress and earn rewards and badges to encourage you to keep learning.
7) You love that story
Download audiobooks or get videos for stories you’ve read/seen a hundred times or love. Disney stories are often a great option if you watched them as a kid or with your kids. If you’ve seen Aladdin, Toy Story or Frozen over and over, listen or watch in another language. Don’t get discouraged if it’s hard at first. Start with the short, distinct phrases and continue to work at it. Soon you’ll be laughing at the jokes and will barely notice it’s in another language.
8) Free is Fun
No matter what the language, you can find resources at OpenCulture. You’ll find lots of multi-media entertainment and education all in one place from beginners to advanced, which you will be very soon.
9) Start with this one phrase
That phrase is “How do you say X?” Regardless of where you are or what you are doing — unless you’re on the clock — as you are learning more and more, think about how to say whatever you’re looking at or what you’re doing. This is important because these are the most common things you will need to know. Better yet think the question in your target language. And eventually, as it becomes naturally, you skip the phrase entirely and go straight to the answer, as you begin to think in the new language. Exciting, right? Keep reading. It only gets better.
10) It’s no use
While you should learn things that interest you, it is also important to learn what will be most useful to you. This means you will actually get to — well you know — use it. Think about who you will speak with and what you will do. Can you competently discuss prices in the market? Ask for directions? Talk about the weather? Common attractions? Apologize if you bump someone? Order a meal politely without pointing and actually receive what you thought you were ordering?
11) Get some FaceTime
You can find Skype, FaceTime or other video chat sessions with native speakers online in the comfort of your home. These can be professional teachers for which you would pay a fee. Or just people who like to help others, in which case it might be free or very inexpensive. They both are nice and understanding. WeSpeke and Verbling are two great options to get yourself paired up. Help someone learn English in exchange for their help.
12) Make the most of down time
Casual internet browsing is the perfect time to learn. The language immersion extension on Google’s Chrome browser allows you to translate words and phrase you don’t know as you become more confident with what you do recognize. Readlang is another great option. But realize that the syntax might sound funny. Most translators can’t make it sound natural just yet. But you’ll get the idea. Read an article or page in English and then switch to the other language or vice versa to see how much you comprehend.
13) Be Up for the Challenge
Our brains are reward motivated. Set clear goals, timelines and reward yourself when you reach them. If any of these pieces are falling short you won’t be able to stay on target. Reward yourself in small ways for each small accomplishment with larger rewards along the way.
14) Map it Out
Do you want to speak fluently for your trip to Paris in 10 months? Set weekly goals based upon how much you need to learn to get where you want to go. Put your goals on a map from home to India, Sweden or where ever you want to go and track progress visually along that line. Talk to your friends about your map to stay motivated.
Chances are that the language spoken is spoken in your community or at least in the city. Many non-profits, religious organizations, etc. help new immigrants acclimate to living in the US, find resources, jobs, learn English, grocery shop, etc. This is great opportunity to help each other and likely make a new friend.
16) Immerse yourself
You can study a language for years casually. And then get stuck when you actually need to use it. Or you can immerse yourself in the language and learn very quickly in real world settings, with real people. Immersion actively stimulates our brains, making us solve problems, figure things out and make mistakes all of which we quickly learn from and do better.
17) Don’t be shy
Everyone knows that it can be embarrassing to make mistakes when you use a new language. This is why most decent people will just take it with a grain of salt or laugh with you — not at you. To learn a language, you need to speak it, preferably with native speakers. Hopefully, there are people in your area who speak the language, maybe at the market, in yoga class or in the park. Strike up a basic conversation with someone. But listen first. Don’t assume someone speaks a certain language because of how they look.
18) Man-o a Man-o
No, it’s not Tengo hombre (I have a man). It’s Tengo hambre (I have hunger / am hungry) . Mano a Mano means hand to hand, not man to man. Make note of how locals pronounce various letters. Many languages like Spanish, have only 1 sound for each letter. Other languages have rules to determine which sound to use. Learn them. Don’t try to say the word with your own dialect or it may sound like a completely different word. And don’t assume that the French “E” is the same as one in Italian. If you are learning a language that uses various tones like Cantonese, don’t ignore the tones.
19) Make Connections
Create memory maps. Does the word sound like another similar word? Can creating an image of the word help you relate that word to the object? Making connections can help us map out language in our brains.
20) Do the Math
What’s 100 + 900 +2000?
50% of human speech consists of the same 100 words in that language. 80% of speech consists of 1000 words. If you learn 3000 words, you have what you need for 99% of common speech. In other words, you will use the same words over and over in everyday interactions. Your goal is to learn these words, starting with 100, then add 900, then the remaining 2000. And you know another language. To do this, learn the basic grammar rules. And the words for numbers so you can count change, discuss price, quantity, etc. How do you know what these 100 words are? That’s just about surrounding yourself with common media and people using the language. When it’s put into perspective, learning a language is easy. Now you know how.