The only way to learn a new language before the advent of the Internet and subtitled TV shows was to study from books, doing oral and written tests and hopefully talking to a native speaker of that language. In today’s world you have several different options for learning a new language thanks to the digital age. You will still need to resort to the classical way of learning to complete your knowledge and here are some great tips to get you on your way to learning a new language.
1. Write labels and make notes
This is one of the classic techniques where you write and place post it notes on objects around your home and work place. By seeing the words everyday you will soon start to remember them easily. You need to label even the objects that you know the word for.
2. Listen to radio broadcasts and podcasts
If you don’t have access to a radio then be sure to listen to any podcasts in the language you are learning. The speakers are well spoken and clear with their pronunciation. Start listening to these broadcasts as often as you can as your brain will accept the new language and you will soon start picking up words that you know.
3. Watch foreign language films and TV shows
Watching a movie is a great way to learn a new language and pick up new words you might not hear in podcasts and on the radio. You do need the right approach to do this and get the most from the experience. What you need to do is the following:
Choose a movie and watch it with the subtitles
Watch the movie again without the subtitles
If you can find the script online, print it out and mark any unknown words
Watch the movie once more and read along with the stars on-screen
If you feel like it, watch the movie again and learn the actors' lines
Watching a movie will make you feel more confident at learning a new language, and repeatedly watching the same movie will help you learn more quickly.
4. Befriend native speakers
No amount of talking to yourself and watching movies is going to give you the practical experience you need to become competent in your new language. Talking to a native speaker is the best way to get ahead now that you know some basic language skills. This is where the digital age comes to the rescue with Skype and Facebook. These social media channels allow you to interact and answer in your own time without having to work out your reply in your head first. The more you practice and the faster you reply, the more proficient you will become in your new language.
5. Change your thought patterns
If you catch yourself thinking in your new language, you are almost there! This is a sign that all the words and phrases are sinking into your brain and becoming commonplace. What you need to do now may sound strange, but it does work: talk aloud to yourself! Find a quiet place where you won’t need to feel embarrassed or overheard and just talk in your new language. This way, your brain will be used to hearing, as well as reading and understanding the language.
Notice how differently your mouth moves as you pronounce these new words by standing in front of a mirror and talking. Watching movies will help with this aspect also.
6. Read in your new language
Every language has had a famous author who has written some fantastic classic novels or plays. Now it is your turn to read them in the language they were intended to be read. Some of the turns of phrase may be different as language does change over time, but you will soon be enjoying these great stories. Pick up some magazines or newspapers in the language as well to practice modern language.
7. Write in your new language
This is a great way to practice sentence construction and to take your learning to another level. Find an email friend or stick to Skype, Facebook or Twitter to begin with. Write a diary about your day, some poetry or write a story in your new language. This way, your mind will be used to speaking, thinking and reading and writing another language.
Your new language will become second nature to you and the writing need not be seen by anyone else as you practice. If you keep writing, you will be able to look back and see how your grasp of the language has progressed. Try writing a blog about your experience learning a new language.
8. Be persistent
When you first decide to learn a new language you probably want to learn it as fast as you can. But learning a language is a gradual process and you need to be persistent. Make it fun by watching videos on YouTube and movies, and listening to audio books, the radio, or podcasts. Try to do something different each day in your new language and soon you will be talking and thinking in the new language.