10 Tips for Picking Up a Second Language
Do you want to learn a new language? Here are 10 tips for picking up a second language that can make the process both fun and easier at the same time.
Learning a second language can be fascinating and fun, but in most cases it can prove to be difficult and boring. Many people find that the passion that once inspired them to learn that new language fizzles out after some time. Difficulty in grasping the right way to form a sentence or fumbling over the correct tense to use can be frustrating, discouraging the learning process. What people don’t realize is most everyone has these types of problems when trying to grasp a new language. The following are 10 tips for picking up a second language that should make the process both fun and easier at the same time.
Tip #1: Travel
Taking a trip to a foreign country allows you to continuously hear the sounds, rhythms, and inflections of a new language–spoken on the streets, in buses, and on television.
Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to make a mistake
How do babies learn language? Through imitation, repetition of sounds, and above all, by not being shy or self-conscious. So what if your pronunciation is a little off, or you can’t remember the proper conjugation? Just start talking, even if it seems like babbling. Resisting the urge to translate everything into your native language can be the single fastest shortcut to fluency.
Tip #3: Memorize a few key phrases
Besides common greetings, the one phrase you should memorize is “How do you say that / what is that called?”
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Tip #4: Write it down
After having conversations, jot down the things you remembered hearing but didn’t quite understand. Then go back and use your dictionary. Look up the words, piece the conversation back together in your mind. Then, next time you have a conversation, use what you learned.
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Tip #5: Use cognates and draw up links
Ever notice how some words appear exactly the same across various languages? These are called “cognates.” Unlocking the usage of cognates instantly gives you several hundred more words in your vocabulary.
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Tip #6: Immerse yourself in TV, music, and movies
Watch movies, listen to music, sing songs, and browse newspapers and magazines. It’s fun and helps improve your pronunciation and comprehension.
Tip #7: Pay attention to non-verbal cues
Beyond words, observe people when they talk. Be it the Gallic shrug or a slight tilt of the head, combining body language with a new tongue helps you communicate better.
Tip #8: Get emotional
Emotive experiences often etch impressions onto our memory. Make full use of embarrassing / funny / angry experiences by saying them in the new language.
Tip #9: Take part in group learning
While individual classes provide unsurpassed attention, group classes with friends can greatly aid learning. Having a friend to practice with helps you get better, and you can also learn from others’ mistakes.