How many of you took a foreign language class in high school? It was probably French or Spanish. And depending on where you lived, your school may even have had electives for Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Japanese, and even Latin.
You’d think that you would be a multi-lingual superstar by now. But how many of you can say that despite an entire semester of learning phrases and taking pop quizzes that you are conversational in that language? I’m guessing very few.
The truth is, classrooms aren’t the best learning environments for mastering new languages. Listening to an instructor in the front of the class describe a language doesn’t make it very appealing. And because these classes aren’t exactly structured in the most efficient way, nothing sticks, and you only remember simple words and short phrases.
The first and most useful hack to learning a foreign language is to get out of the classroom. And once you’re out, here are other tips for learning a foreign language:
Watch Foreign Language Movies
Don’t watch just any foreign language film. Instead, find a movie you’ve seen before that has been dubbed in another language. This way, you can follow along and know what words are used for dialogue that you already know. As you start to familiarize yourself with the language, you can advance to foreign movies in the foreign language of your choice. But instead of using English for subtitles, choose subtitles in the foreign language and read along.
Learn Foreign Songs
While songs aren’t as focused on grammar and vocabulary as movies, it’s still a great way to immerse yourself in the language you are trying to learn. Study the words, learn what they mean, and just sing along. You’ll find that it’s like learning poetry in another language.
Install a Language App on Your Smartphone
There are plenty of foreign language apps available for iOS and Android. They make learning a new language like a game. Plus, it’s handy to bring everywhere with you. You could learn new words and phrases on long commutes, or anywhere you find yourself in a waiting room.
Find Someone Who Speaks the Foreign Language Fluently
One of the fastest ways to learn a language is by regularly speaking with someone who knows it fluently. We all can’t afford to hop on a plane and move to another country for six months just to learn a new language. Our best option is to bring the country to us in the form of someone willing to engage in conversation. They’ll be able to correct your mistakes and fine-tune your accent. You’ll also learn their language’s slang or the more natural pace and tone in which they speak; you can’t learn that from a textbook!
What new language do you want to learn? Tell us and why!