Student Guide: How to Learn Foreign Languages on Your Own
There won’t be a beautiful and encouraging introduction to attract your attention to the main content of this article. Every student will have their own list of reasons to learn foreign languages. The importance of that knowledge is undeniable. So, let’s not waste time.
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How to Learn Foreign Languages: General Tips
Can you learn a foreign language on your own? Our writers have some tips on learning foreign words. One of their recommendations is to learn foreign languages by self-teaching books. It is the way to control the density and intensity of studying, as well as amounts of information, and to come back to different topics regularly to understand them better. Still, you should take into account the fact that the process itself can’t be totally isolated.
The starting point is specifying the purpose. At first, you should think about why you need to learn a foreign language. For college studies? To move to another country? To remember and improve school knowledge? To get a hobby?
An honest answer to this question will help you compose a suitable studying program adjusted to your needs, concentrate on appropriate aspects, and motivate you.
Another secret of successful learning is in everyday training and developing skills as a new habit. Additionally, consistency and regularity have a positive impact on memory.
That is something like sports exercises. The result appears with regular training. That is why discipline and keeping up with the studying plan are essential.
How to Learn Foreign Languages Effectively
The points below will help you increase the effectiveness of learning.
1. Foreign Language Immersion
You probably heard that more than once: it is much easier to learn while immersed in a natural language environment. However, what to do if you can’t move to Germany or Spain to learn Spanish? The answer is simple. Try to create an appropriate environment at home.
Of course, you can’t make it totally authentic. Nevertheless, there are many activities available for people through the Internet: reading books, watching movies, listening to audios, speaking and writing practice, etc. Try to surround yourself with the words and sounds you want to learn.
2. Gamification to Learn Foreign Language
Nowadays, many people talk about adding gamification elements into education. To avoid discussing too many details, we’ll just remark that the use of games and their features can expand the arsenal of self-education methods significantly and become another "immersive" element in learning. They created thousands of online apps and games to help those who study. Mostly, such applications are free.
Some of them are fine to play with kids. Other ones will be difficult even for adults. What matters the most is that they create possibilities to widen and diversify educational methods. It would be strange not to use them.
3. Copying as a New Way to Learn Language
While perceiving new words (communicating with native speakers, listening to audios, watching videos, etc.), you’ll catch up with some general pronunciation tendencies. Try to notice and memorize even the most negligible features and to apply these techniques in your language. It is the way for you to enter the linguistic field easier. It will also help you adapt articulation rules of your native language to the one you study. The use of such a method is that your memory will help you to find correct pronunciation variations along with the further lexicon expansion.
4. Non-Literal Foreign Language Translation
While learning as a beginner, it is critical just to understand the text without trying to translate it literally. Read thoroughly with no rush. But at the same time, you shouldn’t try to find the meaning of every new word in a dictionary.
Can you try to guess what it means based on a context? Let be just a guess, but you’ll understand the overall meaning of the phrase. It is the way to train your word memory in addition to the development of associative and inductive thinking skills.
Here is the significant remark, though: you should master at least the basics of the new language to use that trick.
5. Learn Similar Pronunciation in Foreign Countries
You can be a bit tricky and find words sounding similarly in multiple languages.
For example, April in English looks similarly to April in German. In French, it is Avril, and in Spanish – Abril. The English word “school” is “schule” in German, “école” in French, “escuela” in Spanish, and "skola” in Swedish. Through finding such likely words, you can expand your language vocabulary quickly.
6. Daily Limits of Foreign Words to Learn
Set a goal for yourself to study 20 to 30 new words per day and let 5 of them be verbs. Our writers recommend learning words starting with a similar letter. Today you study A-words, tomorrow – B-words, and so on. It is the way to structure the new data. Still, you are free to learn random words if you want to feel more comfortable.
7. Visualization Technique for Quick Language Learning
Letters and sounds are the basis of any language. So, you should try to hear and copy pronunciation. Learn the main letter combinations and sounds expressing them. Memorize how these sounds are coded in writing. It is the way to master the reversal process to write about what you see and hear.
When looking for the meaning of some word on the Internet, use not the usual machine translation but image search. It will create the visual chain in your mind connecting the meaning of the word with the image. Going that way, you’ll memorize words better.
The advanced language level is not about knowing every word. There is nothing wrong you can’t remember how "umbrella" sounds in Chinese. You only need to be able to say that you look for "a thing to stay dry under the rain," for instance.
Don’t be a perfectionist trying to learn as many words as possible. In reality and actual conversation, you will never use most of them.
8. Speak the Foreign Language to Learn It
It is worth noting that learning any foreign language will be useless if you won’t practice it from time to time. To do that, you don’t need to go away from home nowadays. It is enough to contact people who are native speakers of the foreign language you learn. It will be mutual assistance. Foreign country citizens will help you, and you will help them. Use Skype or any suitable Internet platform to find your foreign assistants or maybe new friends.
9. Work on It in Any Age
Among people surrounding you, there will always be skeptics wondering at your decision to start learning French, Chinese, Dutch, Hungarian (underline or insert your one) language as a 20+-year-old student.
"You should learn it as a child or teenager. Now it's too late."
Don’t let such phrases make you doubt your abilities. Hard work will lead you through. Studying to get a result can’t be easy, so pursue your goal. Researches confirm that there is no difference in how old you are. People of any age can learn foreign languages successfully.Print this Article