We’ve all heard a thousand times that the only way to really learn any language is to be totally immersed and surrounded by it. But I going to show you otherwise. I’m going to share the top 10 best ways to learn a language smarter and faster!
Most people think that you need to move to a country where that language is spoken in order to obtain fluency. Don’t get me wrong. Living in a foreign country will definitely aid your learning, but for most of us, that’s not an option, or maybe not yet!
When I first started learning Italian I became obsessed with the language. I still am. This obsession led me to move to Rome. But before I got there I literally surrounded myself with the language. I would seek things that contained an element of the learning the language or just being around Italians.
With this in mind, I wanted to share with you ten tried and tested ways that you can surround yourself, wherever you are, with the language or languages of choice in order to speed up you learning.
Without further ado. Let’s take a look at the top 10 ways to learn any language.
1. Tune In
Whether you’re at home doing the housework, on the bus, or driving to work find some radio stations and podcasts on iTunes and listen in. Find music groups and artists and download their music.
There are tonnes of podcasts about all topics imaginable including entertainment, politics, news and science. A good way to find great podcasts is through a TV channel you usually watch. Look up topics that interest you and listen to it.
Even if you’re not actively listening you’re still learning subconsciously. Your ear will become accustomed to the sound and flow of the language.
Mix up the kinds of things you listen too. Listen to the news, interviews, documentaries, narratives, and of course music! By changing up the format you’ll start to recognise words in context. Music is even more powerful as words will stay ingrained in your memory.
2. Watch Videos, Movies, YouTube…
The next time you sit down to a watch a DVD put the subtitles on and turn on the dubbing. Start borrowing movies from your local library or renting movies in that language. Put the subtitles on of the language you want to learn.
Another great tip is to watch your favourite movies with the foreign language subtitles on. That way you can focus more on the language and less on the plot and storyline.
Next time you watch any movie, look up the original and foreign title on IMDB.com. More often than not the translation won’t correspond directly to the original. But find out what the title really means. Ask yourself how the translation makes sense. What is it’s relation to the movie? You will never forget a new word that once it’s associated with an unforgettable movie. Works every time!
Get on YouTube and watch interviews with your favourite foreign actors. Try looking at the comments to pick up some words and sentences you aren’t familiar with, but be careful there are all kinds of bizarre things in YouTube comments.
3. Use Your Mobile Phone or Tablet
Change the language of your mobile phone or tablet. This is a great way to learn the imperative tense as well as intuit new words because you have an idea of what their meaning is.
Hear someone speaking French on the bus? Or in the restaurant? Try and sit near them. Listen in…Okay, now don’t be a creepy eavesdropper! But, see what words you can pick up and listen to the flow of the conversation. How much did you understand? What were they talking about? Did you hear an interesting word you might want to look up after?
5. Pay Attention to Ads
Pay attention to billboards, signs, advertisements, magazine stands and establishment names. Look and think about what these ads mean. How many words do you recognise? Did you see that same word elsewhere? This is a great way to learn figure of speech as well and brush up on the imperative tense.
6. Learn the Lyrics
Earlier I mentioned listening to music. Well, let’s take this one step further. Try figuring out the words/lyrics of your favourite songs. You can even watch video clips with lyrics on YouTube and sing along. Read the translation and build up your vocabulary.
7. Watch TV
Start watching episodes or soap operas in that language. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand what they’re saying, watch anyway! Try to understand why something is funny or sad. If the joke is related to the word itself, then maybe that is why the joke does not make sense in your native language. What would be the best translation into your language then?
8. Use Social Media
Engage in a conversation on Facebook with friends who post in that language. When you have foreign language speakers on your timeline, you see their posts daily and get inside information about news and viral videos in their language. Your friends can be your teachers! Their timeline basically sorts out the best material for you to study.
9. Start Talking
No matter how shy you are or how much you don’t “get” the language, force yourself to speak. Maybe you help out a tourist who looks lost. They won’t mind you struggling with the language while you’re doing them a favour!
After class, talk to your teacher about how things are going and what you need help with in your studies.
When travelling, ask around for directions in that language, even if you don’t need them! Try purchasing things online and by phone, or using customer support. It does not matter if you talk slowly, you are learning, that’s only natural!
10. Join a Group
If you live in a major city, use Meetup.com or other tourist services to find guided walking tours in the language you’re learning. See how much you know how your city and brush up on the historical and past tenses.
Want to know how the experts learn languages? I asked 11 top polyglots to share their language learning secrets. Find out how they start learning a new language, overcome plateaus, and maintain multiple languages.
For more language learning tips and advice visit my language resource page.
Over to you!
Whichother language learning methods have you tried? Which apps would you recommend? How do you learn a language smarter and faster?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.
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