Learning a new language can be difficult, but if you follow a few techniques, you will soon be able to learn any language. There is no easy way to do it, but with effort and practice, you will be able to speak fluently in no time.
Part 1 of 2: start with the basics
Step 1. Learn from your past experience
If you learned a language in the past, review what you learned back then and find out what was most effective for you. What did it help you learn? What didn't help you? What parts of the process did you find easy? What parts have been difficult? When you know all this, you are ready to start learning the language.
Step 2. Learn the pronunciation
Even if the language has the same alphabet as your language, that does not mean that the pronunciation is always the same.
- It will be helpful for you to learn the international phonetic alphabet, as most dictionaries use it.
- The Foreign Service Institute offers materials for learning English online, including audios to help you learn pronunciation. The Duolingo app and BBC Languages also offer a variety of helpful language and pronunciation tips.
Step 3. Pay attention to grammar
This is probably the most important part of languages besides vocabulary. Saying "Pedro wanting Maria to go to the store" can communicate an idea, but it is not a correct expression in Spanish. If you don't pay attention to grammar, you can sound just as inconsistent in another language.
- Pay attention to the structure of the language and how the articles work (feminine, masculine, and neutral). Managing the structure of the language will help you understand how it is conjugated once you have learned several words.
- Make sure you know how to express questions, statements or negations in the past, present and future, using the 20 most common regular and irregular verbs.
Step 4. Memorize 30 words and phrases each day
Start with the most common words. Memorizing is half the work you have to do to learn a language, and there are different techniques for memorizing.
You can practice writing each word several times; This will help you get used to using the word you chose.
- Try to use the words in different sentences. This will help you practice the words and make it easier for you to remember them.
- Don't forget to keep practicing the words once you get down to memorizing the following words. If you don't practice them, you will forget them.
Step 5. Practice the alphabet
Especially if you are going to learn a language that has a different alphabet, you need to know what each letter is like and how they work. For example, this can be a crucial step if you speak English and want to learn Chinese.
- Try to associate images with each letter and sound, so that your brain more easily remembers both the shape and the sound. For example, In the Thai alphabet the letter "า" is pronounced as "ah". If you are a boy, imagine the feeling of relief when you are urinating under a tree and let out a sigh. Associations can be as simple and curious as you like, as long as they help you remember.
- You may need to get used to reading from right to left, or from the top of the page to the bottom. Start with something simple and work your way up to more complex items, like a newspaper or books.
Part 2 of 2: Practice the language
Step 1. Listen
Listening to the language, whether through movies or television, through language courses, or music, will help you retain the words you want to learn. Just listening won't help though. You should repeat the words out loud.
- The "voice-overs" technique is quite useful for many polyglots (people who know many languages). Put on some headphones and go for a walk. While playing the language, please walk quickly. As you walk fast, repeat what you hear loud and clear. Repeat, repeat, and repeat. This will help you connect kinetics (movement) with language and redirect your concentration so that you don't get hung up on memorization.
Use audio books or audio language classes. You can listen to them while driving to work, or while going for a run. This will help you with your listening skills. Repeat the plays in 30-second or 1-minute segments until you understand everything it says. Sometimes you will have to listen to the entire recording more than twice so that you can understand everything it teaches.
Watch movies and shows without subtitles. Also novels, newscasts, even shows that you know have already been dubbed into the language. It is a fun way to practice and apply your knowledge.
Listen to music in the language you are learning. This is easy, fun, and is sure to keep you interested in your learning. Just turn on the music when you wash the toilets, or when you go for a walk, and pay attention to the lyrics of the song. You may also need to listen to classical songs as they are easy to understand.
Step 2. Read in the language you are learning
Start with easy books, and as you get better, move on to more complex books. Dare to read books without consulting the dictionary and let you discover the meaning for yourself.
Children's books are a good start, as these books are intended for children to learn how to read and understand their language. Since you're just starting out, you'll want to start off easy.
- Find books that you have enjoyed in your own language and read them in the language you want to learn. Your knowledge of the content of the book will help you decipher the words and keep you interested in reading.
Look for entertaining magazines or newspapers in the language you want to learn. Choose a topic that interests you. Magazines are a good way to learn common idioms in context. Magazines and newspapers contain a variety of topics, and are generally shorter than a whole book.
- You can buy a good dictionary of the language you want to learn or you can use a free online dictionary. When you find a new word, highlight it in the dictionary. Then, copy the word, the definition, and an example sentence using the word into a notebook. Then study the notebook. This will help you think in the language.
- Sometimes a picture dictionary is very helpful in learning common nouns in some languages. Use these dictionaries for Japanese, for example, as many of its words have multiple meanings, such as Spanish.
Step 3. Talk to native speakers
If you do not speak the language, it is unlikely that you will learn it well and remember it. There are programs that connect people who are learning a language with native speakers via Skype. If you can't do it, search your city. You will likely find someone who can introduce you to someone to help you practice the language. A language center is a good start.
- Learn some idioms, sayings, and expressions. As your level improves, learn more about idioms, and even slang in the language. Even if you don't use them a lot, this will help you recognize and understand these items when you hear or read them.
- Don't be embarrassed if you still don't speak the language properly. Learning takes time.
- It is necessary to repeat it: If you do not practice speaking the language, you will not be fluent. Talk to native people, get friends who want to learn the language with you and practice with them, talk to television.
Step 4. Practice
Feel free to speak in the language you are learning in public and with native speakers. This will be of great help to improve your level. Also, don't be ashamed of being corrected by others when you mispronounce a word. Nobody knows everything. Always accept constructive criticism. Test your knowledge on every social occasion.
- Keep watching movies and TV shows. If you like soccer, for example, watch the games in the language you are learning so that you can keep it on your mind. You can yell at the screen in that language when your team is losing.
- Challenge yourself to think in the language you are going to learn.
- Choose the language that interests you the most. Some interesting languages are French, English, and Italian.
- Using a combination of resources, books and other programs is optimal to cover all the bases of learning a language.
- As soon as you understand the basics, it is best to watch a movie that you like, and have already seen, in that language. Subtitles must also be in that language. If this is too difficult, start by changing one of them to your own language.
- If you have the option, it is highly recommended that you enroll in a language course or hire a private tutor. If you have a person (rather than a program) teach you, this is helpful because you will be able to ask them specific questions, and they will be able to tell you how your progress is going.
- Find songs that you like and listen to them over and over again. At a certain point, you will understand what you are singing and you will be able to try to understand later interviews.
- Visit the country and chat with local people, such as taxi drivers or merchants.
- You can also use a language learning app, like "Duolingo", which will help you.
- Try to stay relaxed when learning your new language, as this will help you retain what you learn.
- Change the language of your cell phone to the one you are trying to learn. You can do it in the settings.
- A good tip is also to read a lot about the language you are studying. If you are learning English, you can read about America.