Saturday, November 24, 2012

5 Steps to Learning a New Language

Boston - Boston Common: Parkman Plaza - Learning
Boston - Boston Common: Parkman Plaza - Learning (Photo credit: wallyg)
by Amy Gaerlan

A book or a teacher cannot teach you to become fluent, but you can learn to become fluent if YOU want to ...

1) Take your time!

You didn't learn your native language overnight. In fact, you started out with a few oohs, ahhs, and tears (maybe because no one could understand you!).

When you're learning a new language it's going to take some time - but hopefully without the tears. One of the most important factors is how much time you are able to immerse yourself in the language.

In short, the more time you spend, the faster you will learn. Playing Angry Birds or daydreaming out the window will not help you learn. Find a way that makes learning fun for you, otherwise you're going to struggle wanting to do it.

2) Use more than one medium!

Don't just focus on reading a book or watching videos. Mix it up. Read, listen, watch and when you can - engage! Start practicing reading what you're listening to and when you can - listen or read things that you enjoy.

As long as you can partly understand, you'll be working towards becoming more fluent in the language. Just one hour of listening or reading could be more effective than hours of class (especially if you're not paying attention!)

3) Focus on words and phrases!

Build up your vocabulary - you'll need it. Really listen and focus on how words come together as phrases. Utilize online dictionaries to help grow your own vocabulary for your personal interests. You might not ever need to say a phrase like "My mother in law dances the tango at night."

You might laugh, but I've had some courses have me practice phrases just as silly. The more personalized you make your vocabulary list to you - the more you'll start seeing the words and phrases on a regular basis. While you're learning, don't stress about how accurately you speak, the more you practice the better you'll get.

4) Take responsibility for your own learning!

Guess what - if you don't want to learn the language, you won't. If you are serious about it, then take control. For instance, if you're interested in Japanese manga, maybe learning Japanese will be more enjoyable and less of a stress for you.

Go back to step three and seek out the words and phrases that you need to understand your listening and reading. Don't wait for someone to magically appear at your door and teach you the language overnight. It's not going to happen. Instead, grab your own magic wand and discover the language by yourself.

5) Relax and enjoy yourself!

If you're stressing out - learning a new language will become work. Don't worry about what you can't remember, because there are multiple resources out that will help you along the way. Each day you practice, you are learning and improving.

Eventually it will stick, and you will end up surprising yourself. Just remember, the more time you spend with it, the more successful you will be. Find a way to be consistent, and do your best to have fun. That is the greatest guarantee for your success.

Learning a new language can be for business or for fun. If you're interested in learning Japanese online, I'd love to invite you to visit Nihongo Master. It's a new approach to learning. Small courses to fit your busy schedule, achievements, points, and a fantastic community that is dedicated to your success:

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