2024 is here, and we know that many of us already have our new year resolutions checklist made. But, if you haven’t added it already, there’s another new year’s goal you should include, and that is learning a new language!
Learning a new language is both enriching and transformative. Whether you aspire to connect with a different culture, enhance your career prospects, or simply develop your skill sets and abilities, getting started on a linguistic journey can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience.
In this today’s article post, we'll share some practical tips on ways to learn a new language, as well as share resources that can help you along the way!
Make the Decision & Plan
The Internet is overflowing with tools and resources that you can take advantage of for your journey, use them because learning a new language is very challenging-- but very rewarding. Not only does it help your cognitive capacities, but it also opens more career opportunities, especially as the world becomes more interconnected.
With that said, what you want to do is set small, concrete, and achievable goals when you first start. Going head-first into learning an unfamiliar language without a roadmap will make you feel overwhelmed, so make manageable goals like having periodic cultural-centred dinners with friends who speak the desired language, for example. This would be a great way to practice and learn the nuances of a language. And as you become better in the language, you can increase the number of meetups, or plan to visit an authentic restaurant!
Check out our ‘Four ways to make language learning fun!’ blog post for extra tips!
Next, schedule some time to study. And remember, in the spirit of creating small goals, try starting out small and then gradually increase your time; for example, start by studying 15 minutes a day, then move to 30, and so on. The point is to set practice time with a manageable timeframe, so it doesn’t feel like it is getting in the way of your everyday life.
Ways to Practice
Watch Movies, TV Series, or YouTube
Watching TV and movies are great ways to immerse yourself in the language. For instance, you can have a movie night with friends and binge-watch your favorite show in the desired language.
Platforms like Netflix or Hulu are great for this. Both streaming platforms offer “foreign tv/movies” and have upwards of 5 to 7 subtitle options. The choices are limited, but if they have the language you want to master, then adding entertainment is the way to go!
YouTube is also a great resource! Consider following vloggers, and avid tourists to become digitally immersed. This is a great way to get a closer look at the cultural make-up of the country you may one day visit to get that full immersion. The vloggers can even help you prepare, as they usually share insight and navigational guides to their viewers. And if you want to ante up learning, try communicating with the YouTube audience in the comment sections.
Record Yourself Narrating Your Day:
Narrating your day in the desired language is going to be a quick way to assess your language level and will guide you towards what lessons you need to learn first! For
example, if you’re a nurse, you will talk about the medical industry in the same way a teacher would her industry. While narrating your day, you will challenge yourself and discover which words you’ll need to learn to fully express and describe certain feelings and daily events. Take this a step further by choosing an environment to narrate in, such as a park and record your experience real-time as you walk through it.
Duolingo is a very user-friendly application that's very popular among new language learners, for instance. This is an app that is extremely interactive and provides users with practical knowledge routine assessments. Duolingo is also known for its gamification of language learning, and it keeps users on track by creating streaks and encourages them with daily reminders.
Udemy is another popular learning platform choice. On this platform, you have access to courses, programs, peers, and mentors that can help speed up the process—however, platforms like Udemy require memberships to have access to their resources.
Applications like Spotify offer a variety of music genres upwards of 70 languages to choose from. To get the most of it, try looking up the lyrics and learning the words you’re unfamiliar with, learn about the artist, or consider going to one of their concerts.
Finding language partners is also a great way to dive deep into language learning! Plus, it’s a fun way to make new, interesting friends! The best thing about language partners is the conversation flexibility – you can literally talk about anything! Websites like Mylanguageexchange.com, set you up with language partners based on your topic interest, and level.
Learning a new language is a time-consuming goal, but one that brings fulfillment and excitement. That’s why we’re encouraging you to pick it up as a goal! Although we’ve shared some how-to tips, this journey is yours and there are endless ways to practice.
So, trust the process, keep moving forward and soon you will be proudly conversing in a new language!