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How to Learn a Language Using 10 Steps

Updated on March 12, 2019
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Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology

If one is looking for status in their life there is no better way to gain a little prestige than by learning a second or even a third language. Even though English is the lingua franca of the world, it is wise to learn another tongue because you never know when you will meet a tourist on the street that hails from the country that speaks the language you have chosen to learn.

Or you may want to visit the country or countries that speak the language you took the time to learn. It is a great way to practice what you have been taught and you will impress the natives by using their native tongue. That fact alone makes traveling a lot easier and gain you respect from those you meet as you travel their land.

Learning a language can be fun and it can be frustrating as not everyone has the ability to pick up a second language. But even if you can’t master the language you will be able to pick up enough to communicate with those who speak it as their native tongue.

Here are 10 tips to help you pick up a second language.

  • You Need to Pick a Language You Want to Learn- be smart, don’t choose a difficult language unless you have relatives who speak it and do not speak English. If you make it too difficult then you will have trouble and may get discouraged and quit before you make any headway. Of course, this is assuming you are not studying the language for some degree requirement.

  • Get Some Great Beginning Books- The ones that come with CDs which have a native speaker guiding you through the ins and outs of the new language. These can be a great help and also they will provide a workbook so you can learn through writing practice the words and key phrases you want to digest. Make sure the native speaker speaks slow enough throughout, for if they speed up too soon you may get lost or feel left behind and that is not good.

  • Take the New Language in Sections—your mind won’t be able to handle learning everything all at once. Divide up the language into sections and focus on each part in their due course. Master the alphabet first as this will be the greatest aid you will have as you study. Then go for the numbers next. These are always easy to learn and you will find that you wil use numbers most often when you speak in the news language. It is always best to start with what is easiest until you get a hang of the new ways to speak.

  • Remember the Rules—Grammar and language rules differ between the different languages of the world. One of the keys is not to use English rules when trying to learn say for example Korean. Those rules won’t work for the Korean language is structured a lot differently than English. A key rule to follow would be English language rules for English, Korean language rules for Korean. You wouldn’t believe how many students mess this part up and try using the wrong rules for their new tongue.

  • Practice the New Pronunciation—This is key as many people will not understand you if you get the pronunciation wrong. You could also embarrass yourself by saying the word in the wrong way. You do not want to swear at someone when you meant to be complimentary for this would cause great offense and ruin your time with the other person. Good pronunciation is very important.

  • Know How You Learn—This is important as you will find learning a new language very difficult if you try to learn it in a different way than you are able. Learning another tongue is not always easy and there will always be difficulties to overcome don’t add to those difficulties b learning the language in a method that is not right for you.

  • Use T.V. Movie & Videos— These are great tools to use in picking up another language. You can see how the natives use words listen to how they pronounce them. There is nothing wrong with hitting the pause button, stopping the show to practice pronouncing the new words you are learning. You have to develop your ear to hearing those words and how they are used if you want to get the language correct. Newspapers and books will be a great way to find new words and see how they are used correctly beyond the language books you already purchased.

  • Stretch Yourself—No not in doing exercise but n pushing yourself to learn. It is easy to lock oneself n a comfort zone an only use the words and sentences one is already familiar with. You need to keep stretching yourself by extending your knowledge of the language by adding new words and sentences all the time. In other words, don’t get lazy.

  • Add to Your Vocabulary—Some experts say that you should add 30 words a day but that might not be realistic. Find the right amount of words that you can learn, that might be 30 words a week or even 50 or you might be able to 10 a day. Just find the right amount of vocabulary to add to what you already know. You are not in a race s take your time and enjoy learning the language. Don’t pressure yourself as that will make it more difficult for you to pick up the new tongue.

  • Practice! Practice! Practice!-- Just like the real estate agent’s motto- location, location, location- you need to practice what you have learned until it flows out of your mind and mouth like English does. As they say practice makes perfect and that idea holds true for earning a language. The more you practice the better you are going to become.

Some final comments

Those are some very useful tips on how to learn a new language. What language you learn is up to you but make sure it is one that you need to learn, want to learn and like. There is no point in trying to learn a language you despise.

A good motivator in learning a second language is that you make yourself more valuable to your or a future employer. Your job opportunities broaden as you now have a second language to converse in. That is a very good reason to add to your language skills.

Aside from that, do it because you want to. The right attitude makes all the difference and helps make learning a new language more fun and easier. Good luck.

© 2019 David Thiessen

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