Wondering about the best language learning methods?

Well, you are at the right spot!

The process of Learning a new language may appear tough, daunting, and sometimes downright difficult.  No need to worry. Here you will find the 10 Best Language Learning Methods, Techniques, and Approaches that will make your journey a walk in the park

Learning a new language has innumerable benefits. With the increase in globalization, Bilingualism is emerging as one of the key skills in the changing world and people are making an effort to learn a new foreign language. This had led to the mushrooming of language academies to help you achieve your dream of becoming a perfect polyglot

10 best language learning methods, techniques, approaches 

1. Set short-term goals and abide by it

The most important Language learning method is to set specific, short time, easy and attainable goals since learning a new language feels overwhelming especially if you have no set goals and clear motivation. Have meaningful goals that are interesting, and achievable and gives you a sense of satisfaction after you attain them.

Studying a new language takes time and be ready to give an ample amount of it

Be specific and don’t plan on unrealistic goals like learning Spanish/ German in a span of six months. Your goals should be attainable and measurable and do not focus on many things simultaneously.

Instead, you can plan on:

  • Practising 30 minutes of listening to the new language 5-6 times a week
  • Writing three paragraphs of around 100 words in a week
  •  Appearing for the Language proficiency test within a year. 

Break down the learning material into small parts. Focus on the vocabulary of one topic/area for a specified time and then move on to the other topic. This language learning method helps make your vocabulary more manageable and organize them sensibly. 

2. Apply Smart techniques 

Once you start learning a new language you will get to know that some words appear very frequently than others. So, prioritizing vocabulary is one of the best language learning methods.  Focusing on these frequently occurring words helps you master the language better.

For example, in the German language, by learning around 2000 frequently occurring words you can achieve 80% of conversational German proficiency but it takes roughly around 1,00,000 words to be 98% proficient.

Statistics say if you learn the 2000 most frequently occurring words in any language you will be able to gain 80% of its spoken language knowledge. Though these words form your foundation to learn that particular language the remaining 15-20% are also equally important because they provide the actual meaning of the spoken or written texts.

Language learning expert and founder of fluent-forever.com Gabriel Wyner shares some beneficial smart language learning methods. Here are the top three

Do not memorize, recall

Focus on recall rather than remember.  When we start learning a new language, what we all tend to do is memorize a truckload of words. This is a pretty grave mistake because when it comes to remembering information, memories are pretty useless.

 While recalling you are testing yourself with the words you have learned, this engages the right areas of the brain that mainly remembers important things and by recalling the words you trick your brain to consider it as a piece of important information, so it sticks better.

Practice at perfect intervals with Spaced Repetition System (SRS)

SRS is the language learning method followed by most language academies around the world. You need to keep practising the new words you have learned, but the key is how often and at what intervals. This is where you have to follow the Spaced Repetition System (SRS), which means you will only recall words when you need them. For Example, when you learn a new word try and recall it soon after, maybe a day or two. Like this, you can wait a little longer until you forget it or learn again which may be in a week. And if you recall it again now, then you can wait even longer maybe two weeks until you bring it back a third time

SRS is one of the most effective Language learning methods that help you remember a truckload of things. Wyner suggests that by practising it 30 minutes a day you are able to learn 3600 words in just four months.

 Popular Language learning apps like Memrise and Anki use SRS. Also follow the Link word Technique, LOCI method, Mnemonics, and other language learning methods.

Do not Translate

The most common grave mistake we all tend to do when learning new words is to translate them into our mother tongue. Some of us go one step further and keep a dual language dictionary or refer to google translate, after all, translations and definitions of new words are just a click away. This is not the correct language learning method. By doing this, you will not learn the intricacies/ nuances of the new language

Instead of learning new words through a dual language dictionary, use a monolingual one. For example, while learning Spanish, just use a Spanish language dictionary. This not only gives you the meaning of that particular word but also of all the other words used to describe it. Your learning process will be quicker this way and you will also learn the nuances of the new language.

Refer to the book Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner for many such useful Language learning methods.

3. Watch a Movie

It is one of the best language learning methods. No one can confirm this better than we Indians who learn many regional languages across India by watching their movies.

Watch a movie that is in the language you want to learn with subtitles but do not focus too much on it. Since the movie has a plot and you are following it, is easier to grasp the words in the foreign language and understand them. Make a note of the words difficult to comprehend and check out their meaning later. This will Improve your pronunciation and vocabulary. Turn off the subtitles as and when you become comfortable.

Nowadays many OTT platforms are available online like Netflix, Amazon prime, Disney, and HBO which stream many movies/ shows in foreign languages. Make use of these and learn and get entertained at the same time

4. Listen to music

We all know that music has no boundaries and it connects people like nothing else. Listening to music is an awesome way to learn a new language because while learning you can destress and relax. Research says listening to music improves brain functions enhancing memory, focus, and attention span which all help you in your language learning process.

Listening to music in the target language helps you learn the dialect, expressions, and slang along with cultural understanding and appreciation.

5. Look out for online resources

The Internet is truly a magical place where you can learn anything and everything. Many take the help of the google translator but you can’t rely on it wholly.

Youtube

Watch YouTube videos solely created for language learning purposes.

Join language learners’ community

Join the Language learner’s community on social media and make friends with like-minded people and exchange notes which help each other grow

Online tutorials

Online apps like Duo Lingo, Memrise, or Babbel are making Language learning tasks easier. Also, sites like Coeffee.com and My Language Exchange help you meet people who speak your target language. You can chat online and gain real-life language practice

 Online tests

Take Online practice tests that are available for your target language regularly and test yourself. You can also take standardized tests every month to keep you motivated. They give you score results and rank your levels that help prove your language proficiency to prospective employers

Standardized tests for specific languages like JLPT for Japanese and HSK for Chinese are also available

6. Use the language every day

Try making your target language a part of your daily life. Although it may seem daunting at first with time, you will get used to it and start seeing the results. Make use of every moment available to learn new words.

  • Take flashcards with you and study them during your train/bus commute or while waiting for appointments
  •  Make small notes in your pocket notebook/ smartphone
  • Watch a video/tv show in your target language
  • Read newspapers, and blogs, articles in your target language
  • Join a conversation club in your city where people (especially language students) meet and have impersonal discussions in the target language
  • Always carry a pocket dictionary / a phrasebook or even a mobile dictionary. By linking the phrase to the place, the mind remembers it concretely.
  • Make Post-it notes at your workplace/ home with the vital information
  • Invest in a course equipped with the best language learning methods and encourages communication with native individuals
  • If the time and money permit, you can move to the particular country which speaks your target language.

7. Think, act and immerse yourself

Thinking in your target language is one of the most time trusted, efficient language learning methods. Do not get comfortable in your native language and translate everything you listen to, instead try to respond in your target language. This speeds up your fluency and you will notice considerable improvements in the language concerned.

According to the study published by the University of Chicago Psychologists, thinking in your target knowledge not only kick-starts your language learning process but also makes you more intelligent and rational.

Though it may appear tough at times, you can always refer to a Dictionary as and when you get stuck.

This method not only helps you with your vocabulary, phrases, and grammar rule but you will learn how to specifically express what you want to say.

Visualize

Visualizing the new words helps you improve your concept and improve memorization. All you have to do while practicing this language learning method is Visualize the word you are learning, connect it to the image it represents and say the new word loudly. This helps you recall the new word fast.

Gesture

Use physical actions while learning the new word. This helps the mind learn and recall the word better. For example, when you are learning the Spanish word libro, which means a book, say it aloud when opening a book.

Incorporate words in your native language

In your initial stage of learning when you have not mastered the use of sentences yet, try to incorporate the words you have learned in your native language. For example, if you know the Spanish word Mercado means Market, you can say I am going to the Mercado now.

Keyword technique

When learning the new word, try making a sentence involving the new word, its meaning, and a similar sounding word in your native language. This makes your brain connect the word and helps you recall better.

8. Listening and speaking

Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are the fundamental skills in any language learning method. Though it may seem otherwise, in actuality, listening and speaking parts are more difficult and complicated than the reading and writing skills.

As we all know speaking and listening are very important in having an effective conversation. A child is constantly exposed to his/her mother tongue at home and learns it by listening, mimicking, and trying to speak all the time. So develop a child-like enthusiasm and listen to everything that is being said in the target language carefully as though your life depends on it and see the massive improvements yourself

Knowing the language is nothing but speaking and understanding what the other person is saying in it. It means you have to listen and listen very frequently and speak a lot of words and sentences in the target language

Translation and reference to words while learning a new language helps no doubt, but the actual learning lies when you develop natural learning and speaking abilities and work on it. The rewards this language learning method fetches will actually surprise you.

How to apply this

Listen carefully when the native speaker is speaking your target language. This surely helps you with the pronunciation and accent like nothing else

Listen as much as possible to audio, and video lessons, podcasts, tv programs, broadcast in your target language, and try to comprehend it

Practice the language with native speakers who have fluency over it so they can correct you appropriately. This also boosts your fluency

9. Reading and writing

Read a lot of newspapers, blogs, and articles in your target language. While reading and writing a new language, you have enough time to refer to dictionary/ language learning materials whenever you stumble across something complex. This helps you know your areas of strength and weakness and work accordingly.

Visualize how a word is written while learning the new language. This helps you a lot with languages like Chinese, Japanese and Korean which have a pictographic writing system.

Writing practice helps you remember the words/ phrases you have learned by activating motor memory traces.

This language learning method helps you become a more confident speaker and bring about significant progress in your language skills.

 10. Lastly, make mistakes

Make mistakes, in fact, many mistakes. For most of us, the fear of making mistakes stops us from taking that first step and exploring further. Embrace your mistakes and learn from them. Learning to speak is foremost important while learning a new language and you will definitely not achieve it without making mistakes. Mistakes help you learn along the journey

Note down the mistakes, add them to your spaced repetition database and learn from them. This process helps your brain to recall them better when needed.

Henry Harvin

Learn a new language at the Henry Harvin Language Academy. With its up-to-date technology and in-demand language skill sets, it provides you with the best language learning experience. Equipped with their best language learning methods, the academy is providing many foreign and Indian regional language courses helping aspiring language professionals to reach their potential.

The course entails

  • 9 in 1 course which includes training, projects, internships, certification, placement, E-learning, boot camps, and hackathons
  • Learn from experts with 15+ years of working experience
  • 100% Exam Guidance
  • 100% Practical training
  • 24 x 7 Lifetime Support & Access
  • Mobile App Access to Moodle E-Learning Portal

Conclusion

Language, along with being a medium for communication, is also a means by which you connect, bond, and grow with others. When you learn a new language, you not only understand the other person but it also gives you the superpower to step in into his culture, and history and understand his roots which in every sense makes you truly connected.

 Your success will depend on the amount of time you give and on your dedication. There are several language learning methods available. Try them out and implement those that fit best for you. However, you can also follow these simple steps discussed above which will help you gain mastery over the new language quickly and efficiently. Learn the new language thoroughly and value the immeasurable knowledge it brings to your table.

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FAQ’s

Q1. I am a retired person and want to learn a new language. Am I considered too old for it?

Ans: There is no age limit to learning when it comes to language learning because it all depends on your motivation. With age comes knowledge of learning, discipline, experience, and ability to communicate well which all help in your language learning journey. In fact, some of the famous polyglots were well into their 30s when they started their language learning journey. So, leave out all the age-related apprehensions and kick start your journey now

Q2. How much time does it take to learn a new language?

Ans: It mainly depends on your learning goals and reasons. People have different reasons for learning a new language like meeting native-speaking friends, communicating on vacation, working abroad, shifting base to a foreign country, or just for the passion of learning. If your goal is to shift to a foreign country and be bilingual at work, then it takes considerably more time than if your goal is say just to express yourself without much difficulty on vacation.

Q3. How can I practice speaking?

Ans: Read aloud in your target language. Make sure that your pronunciation is correct by listening to the accompanying audio. If you have doubts about pronunciation, find out instead of guessing and once you feel confident about yourself, start conversing with native speakers you find on various language exchange sites on the internet. Get your pronunciation right from the beginning because it is difficult to fix it later.

Q4. I have finished my course. Next what?

Ans : After the course start using native materials like all the books, news articles, tv shows, and movies that are curated for native speakers, not for language learners. One good way to practice what you have learned is to pick your favorite activity, watching movies, sports telecasts, and documentaries, and try to do it in your target language. Don’t be overwhelmed with the amount of new vocabulary, with time you achieve proficiency.

Q5. Can a Dyslexic learn a foreign language?

Ans: Since Dyslexia, also called reading disability affects the part of the brain that controls language, it’s natural to wonder. Studies have shown that though dyslexic people find it difficult and take twice the time compared to non-dyslexic people to learn a new language, it is definitely not impossible.
People with dyslexia should be careful in choosing the target language. It will be easier to learn if the language’s pronunciation and spelling are tied to each other. Italian and Spanish are two great examples.

1 Comment

  1. Language, along with being a medium for communication, is also a means by which you connect, bond, and grow with others. When you learn a new language, you not only understand the other person but it also gives you the superpower to step in into his culture, and history and understand his roots which in every sense makes you truly connected.

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