3 years ago
Conventional wisdom would tell you that language learning is a lot more difficult for adults than children. This is something of a myth. Adults are perfectly capable of mastering a new language. It is a little harder than it is for children, but a lot of this is in the way learning is approached. When children learn languages, they are often completely immersed in another language. Adults will have an easier time learning languages if they use tricks like this to boost their language learning. If you approach it in the right way, you make learning languages much easier.
1. Set Goals and Track Progress
This first tip is less related specifically to languages and more to productivity in learning any new skill. Every behavior that you’d like to work can be helped by setting specific goals and tracking your progress. Doing so will help incentivize your learning which will make it easier to stick to your goals and make progress towards learning a new language.
Language learning can be difficult, but the most important way to master it is to stick at it and not to lose your drive once it becomes difficult.
2. The Scriptorium Method
The scriptorium was a room in monasteries during the middle ages where monks would transcribe and write. It’s where this method for language learning gets its name but it isn’t limited to the classical languages. This method is based on short bursts of concentrated learning. Using this method can help you pick up the grammar of a language which can really help your language learning.
Take a sentence in the language you’re trying to learn, then read it aloud. Then write the sentence out. As you write, read every word out loud again. Once finished, read the sentence aloud again, this time from what you’ve written. Doing this will help you memorize the connections between the correct grammar on the page and in your own sentences.
This is a way to boost your language learning that requires changing your downtime rather than your time spent studying. The key to really increasing your language learning is total immersion in your new language. As you learn more of a language, this approach will help you reinforce what you've learned and fill any gaps in your knowledge.
When you’re watching TV, watch it in your new language. Listen to talk radio in a new language, download some podcasts in a new language. Change your language settings on websites to your new language, re-read an old favorite in an international edition. With complete immersion, you will learn a new language faster.
Mnemonics is a language learning technique that helps you build associations on new vocabulary that will make them more memorable. Advanced ways of using this method involve elaborate thought exercises like memory palaces, but you can use Mnemonics on a smaller scale to help your language learning.
The key to mnemonics is to use visual images to remember vocabulary. If a word conjures up an image in your first language, using it will help you remember that word. By forming mental images, you will have an aid in remembering each word.
Shadowing is a technique that might look a little strange but can really help you develop your vocabulary. For this language learning technique, you need an audio recording in the language you’re trying to learn.
You should first listen to this audio and then listen along while reading a transcript. Look up any words you’re not familiar with as you go. You now need to repeat each word out loud as you hear it. You should try and do this while you’re walking around somewhere, it will help boost your concentration.
6. Don't Overdo Things
While it can be exciting to learn a language and you might want total immersion, you have to make some room for downtime. If you try to push yourself at the language 24/7 with active studying, you will become overwhelmed and you won’t learn as well. If you really want to optimize your language learning, you need to know when to take a little time off.
7. Apps and Tools
Apps and online programs aren’t the only way to learn a language but they can be really helpful. These apps can help you pick up a language and make a habit out of your learning. Most use gamification, which is proven to help you pick up a new skill and incentivize your learning.
Using these language learning tips you should be able to take your efforts to the next level. Learning a new language is a marathon and not a sprint, but these tools can help you get there a little faster.
Keep up with the Typical Student daily email