Tips for Learning a Second Language

Tips for Learning a Second Language

You might have guessed that I am quite interested in language (in particular French) but that still does not mean I am fluent…yet. I’ve lived in several places and I guess I have a knack for picking terms and words up better than others. Along the way of improving my language skills I have picked up a few tricks that may be helpful to you. See below for different ways to improve your second language.

Switch Your Devices

If you aren’t connected to the internet by now, I don’t know where you’ve been! But in all seriousness, a great way to help your language learning skills along is to switch your laptop, phone, and any other electronics to the desired language of study. The reason I love this method is because it uses your muscle memory to help you acquire vocabulary. We mindlessly know what buttons we have to use to navigate our computer; menu, file, etc., so seeing the new vocabulary in a place where you already know the action is extremely helpful. It plays around with your subconscious mind and only takes a moment to do. If you get stuck, you can always Google, but the idea is that you want to get stuck. When it gets frustrating, that is when you are learning.

Watch Movies

Do you have Netflix, Hulu, Disney +, Amazon Prime, or any other of the amazing streaming services on offer today? You should take advantage of them because most give you an option for subtitles if not watching the program completely in a different language. This is a technique that allows the language to be associated with life instead of with just a textbook or flashcards. You have to realize that language is a living breathing thing that you participate in, not just learn. I say this as a humble student myself because I know how challenging it can be to want to understand a language yet constantly feeling like a foreigner. Having the new language apart of your everyday life is essential. Finding your voice within the new language is the treat!

Applications, Applications, Applications!

You must know about Duolingo by now. That application is one of the most popular applications for language learning out there, but it is not the only one. There are other apps like HelloTalk where you can exchange language with another student who could potentially be across the globe. Or Babbel which gives you the opportunity to learn from several different devices. If you have a library card (you should get one if you don’t have one) Hoopla is a super handy application that allows you to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from your library of choice. Also, utilizing different Podcasts is an amazing resource for language learning. With most smartphones you can get Podcasts for FREE which is great for anyone if you ask me!

Speak to Others

By far the scariest thing one has to do to get better at a language. I suffer with anxiety when it comes to speaking with others in real time in French, but I still force myself to do it. It is SO vital to gain comfort and ease with your target language and it is an ongoing venture. Funny how doing the scariest thing enough makes it less scary. Look into language exchanges in your community and GO TO THEM. Find places where they might speak the language you desire and TALK. If there are classes provided in your area, SIGN UP. Be proactive in your learning and acquisition. The more you are around it, the less scary it is and the more fluent you get. Start to talk to yourself in your target language, I do. I will puts around my apartment like a crazy person having full conversations with myself en française. There is no shame in my game.

Remember Why

Why do you want to even learn another language? Do you want to travel, study or permanently move abroad? Do you have an obsession with the culture? Are you trying to up your value in the business world? Do you have your eyes on a cute foreigner? Maybe all or none of these reasons apply. The point is to find what is motivating you and to keep it at the forefront of your mind at all times. It is so easy to get discouraged when trying something new, especially when not many people are doing the same around you. Remember, it does not matter what anyone else thinks or does, it only matters what you are doing and how you feel. Think about your goals and how great you will feel when they manifest in physical reality. The truth is, you’ve already acquired the skill, all you need to do now is allow yourself to use it!

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