Fact: It’s easiest to learn a new language when you’re a young child. But if your parents didn’t make you learn one…well, there’s nothing you can do about it now — although that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a new language as an adult! With a little hard work and these 10 tips, you’ll be bilingual in no time.
Listen to Music
While you’re going for a jog or lifting weights at the gym, listen to music in your chosen new language instead of your usual playlist. Listening and singing (or lip-syncing) along to the music will help your facial muscles learn how to say the words correctly, and you’ll have a good time too!
Use a Free App
There are a ton of free apps out there you can download onto your phone and use anywhere, anytime to learn vocabulary words, verb tenses, and more. Some of the most popular apps include Duolingo, which is known for being very user friendly, and Livemocha, where you can actually interact with native speakers.
Language-learning software tends to be a bit more expensive than some of your other options, but the results are typically well-worth it. Rosetta Stone is one of the most popular softwares (starting at $230), but there are also more budget-friendly options like Living Language ($50) or Babbel ($13).
Take a Class
Many colleges and universities offer community outreach classes you can take for a low price and no college credit (but are still taught by a qualified instructor). This is a great option if you need some hands-on help. If you do want some credit, you can go the old-fashioned route and sign up for a semester-long class.
Find a Conversation Buddy
If you learn by doing, you would probably benefit from finding a conversation partner who is a native speaker of the language you are trying to learn. Simply by chatting about day-to-day things, you can get a grasp of the language and help your partner learn English as well!
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to travel abroad, here it is! Nothing helps you learn a language quicker than immersing yourself in the culture where that language originated. So get on a plane, go spend a couple weeks in a different country, eat some delicious food, and most importantly, talk to the locals. A lot.
Read Children’s Books
There’s a reason we read books like Clifford the Big Red Dog when we’re children. The language is simple, which makes it easier to learn. So why not read children’s books in another language? Once you master the basics, you can move on to YA and adult books, just like you did in English.
One great way to memorize those pesky verb tables is to write them down, over and over again. Spend 20 minutes each day writing down things you have trouble remembering, and pretty soon you won’t have to anymore! Once you’ve mastered the easy stuff, you can start writing down more complex aspects of the language.
Learn Filler Words and Phrases
When you’re speaking to someone in a language you aren’t completely comfortable with, it’s a good idea to learn some filler words to keep the conversation going without things getting awkward. Learn phrases like, “in fact,” “so,” “right,” and “you know,” and use them to buy yourself a little extra time to construct your next sentence in your head.
Stop Speaking English
This is definitely the most drastic method, but it’s probably the most effective. If you restrict yourself to only speaking the foreign language, you have no choice but to learn it quickly. You’d be surprised at how soon you adapt to speaking in this language, so even cutting out English for one week will have some serious benefits.