Unfortunately there are no shortcuts to learning a new language. Some languages are easier to learn than others and the time taken to become fluent in a language is heavily dependent on the attitude and motivation of the learner, as well as the language they are learning! In today’s world, with the vast amount of resources on the internet and via apps on our phones, it is much easier to learn languages.
Here are 8 top tips for learning a new language:
- Know your motivation
Be clear about why you want to learn the target language, what you hope to achieve and by when. Making a personalised, realistic and specific plan will improve your motivation and give you a structure to stick to.
- Make the target language part of your life
Ideally you need to make language learning part of your routine – listening, reading, speaking and writing in the target language as much as possible. Language learning is based on repetition so it helps if you can use phrases, vocabulary and grammar in context. For example, if attending weekly classes in your target language for an hour or two, you should supplement it with as much other learning as possible each week.
- Use a variety of learning methods
Completing speaking, reading, writing and listening activities in your target language as often as possible will improve all of your language skills:
- Listen to songs, radio, tv programmes, films and podcasts – Liverpool FC Manager Jurgen Klopp recently confirmed that he watched episodes of US sitcom Friends to improve his English.
- Read magazine and newspaper articles
- Use language learning websites for help with grammar explanations and learning situational vocabulary i.e. how to order food, how to book a train ticket etc
- Use apps on your phone to help you learn and memorise vocabulary, phrases and grammar
- Find a partner or talk to yourself (!) – the best way to learn a language is to speak it, even if that means speaking to yourself. Advertise for a native speaker or find one on the internet (as they can correct your mistakes) or speak with someone else who is learning the same language.
- Join weekly face-to-face classes
There is no doubt that joining a weekly or intensive language class will greatly improve your language learning as it gives you motivation, connects you with other learners and gives your learning a structure. But you MUST practise between classes. Attending classes allows you to ask questions, practise speaking with other students and get written homework corrected.
- Be willing to make mistakes
The best way to learn a language is by speaking it. If you don’t try to speak in your target language you will progress much more slowly. So be brave and forget your inhibitions! Accept that you will make mistakes but you will learn from them. People are much more receptive if you at least attempt to speak to them in their own language.
- Pronunciation is important
Good pronunciation can be the difference between speaking a language well and fluently. Understand the different ways that letters are pronounced in your target language. There are many websites dedicated to this. You can use Google Translate to see how single words and phrases are pronounced by clicking on the audio button. Accent Reduction Training is also available for people learning English.
- Visit the country where your target language is spoken
If you are able to visit a country where your target language is spoken it is the ideal opportunity to completely immerse yourself in the language and culture. Speak to strangers – ask for directions, order food and drink, start a conversation. Put yourself out there – do what the locals do – experience the culture and the people of that country while speaking, hearing and reading the language at every turn.
- Don’t forget the culture
Many countries have cultures very different to our own. Therefore, it is important to understand the cultural differences of the countries where your target language is spoken in order to avoid (at worst) seriously offending someone! The cultures of China, Japan and Arabic-speaking countries can be very different to European cultures and social norms. Cultural Awareness Training is vital if you are doing business in those countries.
How can CLT Ltd help you?
Here at CLT Ltd we can tailor your corporate language training course to meet your objectives, no matter what industry you work in. Whether you need to learn another language in order to sell your product to potential customers or if you have regular meetings with your colleagues abroad or if you simply want to cover travel basics (such as greetings, ordering a meal, shopping, numbers, directions and telling people about yourself) then we can tailor a course to suit you. You can choose from 1-2-1, group or remote classes via Skype. Take a look at our website for more information on our courses and languages.
To enquire about a course to suit your needs:
Call us on +44 (0) 203 036 0760
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