20 WAYS TO LEARN FOREIGN LANGUAGES

Is it possible to learn a foreign language within six months or within a year, well enough to be able to work in that language and talk to native speakers? Yes of course! I will tell you my secret – I did it. I was successful in learning Spanish due to my fascination with Spain and the desire to go to this country. Lots of people have asked me about quick learning tactics and effective methods. There are a few that I know and have used. I want to share this information with you. I believe that it will help you in improving your linguistic skills.

Self-discipline is important. The methods can be combined. I suggest that you introduce language learning as a ritual of life. It’s good to learn something new every day – a word, a phrase. When you have a very strong inner desire to achieve something, you will fight for it. Believe in yourself, believe that you can. Love a foreign language and it will love you too. It will enter into your life for good when you will use the methods below.

FOREIGN LANGUAGES ARE REALLY IMPORTANT
IN PROFESSIONAL & PRIVATE LIFE AND TRAVELS

LANGUAGE BOOKS & EBOOKS

Start by learning basic words and grammar rules that will be well systematized in professional language books and ebooks. Treat them as general knowledge and an introduction to the linguistic path. Try to learn basic words, and repeat them. Read also about tenses, and ways of formulating sentences. Try to remember. However, don’t just stop for a long time just with this method. Add fast other methods, and come back to books when you need to check something. Don’t take books as heart-to-body learning. Words, phrases, and ready-made constructions will come to you again in other forms (easier to remember). So if you don’t remember now, you will come back to it anyway and remember the next time. Books are the skeleton and foundation of the structure on which you will build bricks of knowledge.

VIDEO COURSES

There is no better way to remember knowledge, especially for us – people of the digital age, than by combining image and video. On the Internet, we can find a lot of online courses, including free ones f. ex. on Youtube. They use creative learning methods – pictures, films associated with words, professors’ stories, graphics. You can find also several forms of teaching- serious, informative, funny, friendly… You can repeat the same material many times with someone else and never get bored. Most of the linguistic Spanish language knowledge I have acquired thanks to video courses. Inspired by the effectiveness of this form, I created a YouTube channel for learning Polish- Beata Aleksiejuk.

WEBSITES

Search for linguistic information on language learning websites. You can find on them similar information as in books, but also graphics, exams. Look for those that are interactive and you can practice using them. Really good are websites with a search engine, where you can find conjugation of verbs by tenses. A helpful tool is also audio under words and phrases – to listen and repeat. In the future – after you have mastered the basics, you can also search websites with thematic posts, stories, and podcasts.

EXAMS

It is important to practice what you have already learned. Search on the internet for tests, exams, and quizzes. Fill the sentences with the words that are missing or with the conjugation of the verbs by the tenses. Also, look for tasks – tests with the choice of answers A, B, C. Then you can move on to more advanced tasks, such as creating entire sentences, and structures. Language apps and games are also helpful.

MOVIES & SERIES & SONGS

Elements of everyday life and associating the language with something pleasant and liked help in the learning process. Many people watch movies & series and listen to music in their free time to relax. Why not combine study with pleasure? Play a movie or TV series in the language you are learning. Listen and turn on subtitles to read too. You will associate words and phrases with situations & scenes from the movie – you will remember it better. Play a song in a foreign language, and search for the lyrics & translation. If you like to sing – do it, make a karaoke. Combine learning a language with pleasure. Fall in love with the foreign language you are learning.

WRITING SENTENCES

Start practicing writing words, then sentences.
Make a list of words. Write them down on the one side in your family language, on the other side of the sheet in the language you are studying. Repeat this task every day until you remember the basic vocabulary and phrases. Then move on to whole sentence structures. It’s best to find ready-made examples from educational materials to follow the correct pattern. When you get used to the foreign language well enough, start writing sentences that come to your mind. To verify correctness, search the Internet for grammar checker tools, which will identify mistakes and suggest how to correct them.

SPEAKING OUT LOUD

It is important to break the speaking barrier very quickly, to get used to speaking in a foreign language. Start repeating phrases you’ve learned. Make a list of the words you want to remember and repeat them each day. If you don’t remember how to pronounce it, listen to audio on the Internet. Gradually increase the level – add entire sentences. Once you have expanded your vocabulary, build short stories on specific topics, f.ex. hobby, everyday life, what surrounds you, what did you do today, what is your dream and plans.

THEMATIC ARTICLES & BOOKS

Combine hobbies and topics that interest you with language learning. Instead of reading a book or articles in your mother tongue, switch to the language you are learning. Sentence structures – how they are created you will remember automatically from the stories you read. When you don’t understand a word, look for it in the dictionary. Read articles on topics that interest you, or in areas in which you planned to deepen your knowledge. Do what you were going to do anyway – but in a foreign language. The future practical use of given foreign language words and phrases in your life will accelerate the acquisition of knowledge.

THEMATIC ONLINE COURSE

As with books and articles in a foreign language, also make thematic courses. If you learn a given subject, e.g. marketing, programming, technical tasks, do it in a foreign language. Combine two activities at once and you will save time. The practical, pragmatic aspect will contribute to more effective absorption of knowledge. You will learn what gives you pleasure, a chance for development. It creates positive emotions in the language. You will also learn specialized, thematic vocabulary in a foreign language in a given field.

ONLINE PLATFORM

You can also use the online platforms that will have a full foreign language training package. Such platforms often combine many forms of learning – vocabulary to remember, grammar rules, tests/exams, short cutscenes, online lessons with a tutor, and many other forms. They are structured – often divided into skill levels, thematic blocks, etc. Perhaps there will also be tools such as listening to your speech and checking how many percent you say the word correctly. It’s good if there is also a final exam to check how much you’ve learned and what your level is.

TRANSLATORS & DICTIONARY

Check words you don’t know in the dictionary. You can find them on the internet. I recommend you also use a translator tool such as Google Translator to verify entire sentences. It is a big help for beginners and intermediate students who need to use the foreign language in practice. Imagine that you are a beginner and you are talking to a native speaker. It can happen that you forget how to say something or what the word that you hear means. Check it on the translator application on your phone. The same when you are writing the article. Find out what you don’t know in translators. Just remember to make a check using a few websites or tools to avoid errors.

LANGUAGE SCHOOL

You can also enroll in a traditional language school. You will have personal classes with the teacher and a group of students. The advantage of this is: learning with a linguistics specialist who will select the program, textbooks, and exercises. You will have constant supervision and be able to ask questions. Your skills will be constantly verified. You have contact with a group of students with whom you can practice speaking. If you prefer individual learning, you can choose individual tutoring f.ex. look for online tutors on websites & platforms for language learning.

COMMUNICATION WITH NATIVE

Find friends who are native speakers of the language you are learning. By practicing with natives, you will learn very quickly and break the speaking barrier. It will be a natural conversation on everyday topics, so the language will also become natural for you. You can search for such people in language programs, during additional classes, events, and language exchange meetings. Another way to search is n the Internet, f.ex. language learning groups, social media profiles. You can chat with them to practice or call for a videoconference, f.ex. Skype, Teams.

REAL-LIFE SITUATIONS

There is no better way of learning knowledge than in everyday situations. When something in your life depends, on whether you communicate well with someone or not – motivation run high. Examples: you ask for the price in the shop, whether the bus goes in a given direction, the wifi key in the rented room, you deal with the document issue. You will connect acquired vocabulary with the context of a specific situation. The stronger the learning stimulus, the better the effect. By this method, you will remember a phrase, even the first time you hear it.

TRAVEL

Go to the country where the language that you are learning comes from. Study by practical situations. There you can talk to natives in real life situations f.ex. in a shop, tourist office, hotel. This is another effective contextual way of memorization. Learning process starts even before you leave your country to start the trip. Journey preparation process includes research about the places you will visit, creation of a trip plan, reading about places to visit. When you arrive to your destination you will also use foreign language everywhere f.ex. in public transport to buy a ticket, ask for directions. Use every moment to meet and chat with native speakers. You can also go to that country for a longer time.

INTERNSHIP / INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMMES

Sign up for a project where you will practice the language by performing specific tasks, and by contact with other people. Exchange with colleagues knowledge, learning language experiences, learning methods. Learn by practice. Maybe you will also go abroad to this country for a project, for example, Erasmus. You will be able to come into contact with the language on a daily basis. Also, certain programs may give you other opportunities, such as an online language course or platform, language school classes. Look for new opportunities, open up to them.

WORK

Once you have mastered the language enough, try to find work in it. Learn it by performing specific tasks at professional life. Talk to other departments to practice. Read documents and analyze them. At work, you learn a specialist language relating to the field of work f.ex international company- corporate language, some business sector – characteristic vocabulary. You will work with formal phrases and documents. Other opportunities are professional trips to another country, or moving there for some time. You can even look for a stable job abroad to work there for years.

PROJECTS

Take part in international projects. Collaborating with a group of people you can create something together. Choose some thematic project in the language you are learning. There are many opportunities – just search for them. You can also think about creation of your own individual projects – website, thematic social media. Each project is a new challenge and an interesting form of learning new phrases and constructions.

HOBBY

You have a hobby to whom you dedicate your time. Search for information about the subject of your interest in the language you are learning. You love your hobby, you can’t wait to do it? Do the same with a foreign language. With this attitude you will absorb linguistic knowledge with a smile on your face. Your hobby is part of your everyday life, so let for foreign languages too become a part of you. It can be every theme – bikes, drawing, programming, … Probably you like comics – you can watch them in foreign languages. The same with the news about the world, politics, science etc.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Look for social media profiles about foreign language. You can find on them educational graphics, movies, stories and learn in a fun, accessible form. You can also know community that wants to study the language than you. Feel free to comment, and be interactive. Also, check whether there are webinars and live videos. Social media is a modern method adapted to the present reality. We spend a lot of time with phones. So why not combine it with something useful. Dont’ just be a consumer- also be a creator. You can make social media materials in the language you learn.

BONUS -MOTIVATION FACTOR

Using all methods and tools you just read about, it is very important to have high and positive motivation. When you decide to learn a foreign language, set a goal f. ex., a trip abroad, internships in in foreign language, gain a better job, work in another country. It can also be personal motivation, e.g. family, relationships, hobbies, friends. Just find something that will drive you strongly, so you will do everything to learn foreign language.

There are plenty of several methods and tools that you can use to learn foreign languages. Among them are traditional such as books, dictionaries, and schools. You can also take advantage of Internet- look for websites, videos, translators, social media, language platforms, and e-books. Effective way is remember words&phrases in practice, f.ex. in conversations with a native speaker, during travel, project, work, thematic course. It is important to practice every day – speaking aloud, writing, creating projects, making a trip plan. Other sources that will help you are movies, series, songs, books, articles, educational materials, and hobbies. It is recommendable to have contact with people – at school, at work, on a project, on a trip, online. Have a lot of conversations to get familiar with the language. You can live abroad in another country. Throw you into the throw deep, so you will quickly learn the language. Don’t use just one tool – I recommend you combine methods. Motivation is very important. A positive attitude and a love of language help even more. Maybe someday foreign language will be part of your everyday life. Give the same space for it as for your native mother language.

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