Whether you’re trying to find a quick way to learn German or another language, you quickly discover that it’s a difficult task. Between trying to find the best language learning platform and adapting it to you schedule, you’ve got your work cut out for you. So when you sit down to begin your language program, want to have the right strategies to make sure you don’t waste any time.
You don’t want to be one of the many people you fail when they attempt to learn a second language. And the way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to develop the right mindset and the right strategies. This is part two of a set of articles designed to help prepare your the journey of learning a new language. The first piece covered how to prepare your mind to learn. In this piece, we will explore 12 successful strategies designed to help you gain fluency fast.
Before picking up a language textbook or downloading an app, ask yourself, how do you like to learn? If you’re someone that hates drilling over vocabulary words, then downloading Duolingo won’t help you. And if you get anxiety about sitting in a language class, don’t waste the money signing up. The likelihood that you’ll drop out and lose your money is high. Instead, pick ways of studying that appeal to your inner learner. This will make you excited to study when you begin.
School education has its purposes, but typically, it fails at teaching foreign languages. Many people who go through years and years of study from primary to secondary school don’t remember much or anything at all from their foreign language classes. This is because the classroom setting and strategies often focus testing, not conversing, to measure success.
When you’re learning a second language because you want to, you don’t need to worry about passing stressful tests. You’ll find it a lot more enjoyable to study your target language in the way you want to, and you’ll be a lot more successful in the end.
Grammar is troublesome. And there’s a mixed debate about its importance in learning a second language. Some grammar is necessary, indeed, but an emphasis on it too early can ruin your progress and prove to be fruitless. This is because you need to have an active understanding of the language you’re studying to be able to apply the grammar concepts that you’re learning.
As you learn to talk to others, you will naturally pick up grammar along the way. Only when you reach comprehension, do you need to start focusing on grammar. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with learning grammar. If you are wondering how to learn German grammar easily, for instance, there’s plenty of resources available. The key is not to force yourself.
Active learning takes constant effort. To be an active learner, you have to be engaged with the material. You have to want to learn it, and you have to push your brain to interact with it. Instead of simply playing a move in your target language in the background, try sitting down and focusing on it. Writing down words you don’t know, replaying phrases you missed, and concentrate on shadowing words. It takes more attention and can be tiring, but you’ll learn more in the end.
Even if you’re sitting in a high school or college class as you read this right now, you still need to teach yourself. Language is something you explore every day. Just because you’re in a classroom doesn’t mean you need to only focus on learning in that 1 – 2-hour window. Instead, find things out for yourself. Become an independent learner. You’ll learn a lot more that way.
If you want to succeed, then you need a plan. You cannot casually learn a language. You’ll need structure. You need to figure out when and for how long you will study. Not having a plan will result in wasting time and losing consistency.
Don’t try to cram your language learning into one day. 30 mins a day, five days a week is a lot better than four hours one day a week. Your brain needs to sort through all the information it processes and see what is essential and what isn’t. Cramming works short-term, not long-term. You have to convince your brain it needs to remember the language. That takes time. Spread study sessions out to help support memory and make lessons more effective.
There’s a lot to learning language besides studying vocabulary words. You need to be able to pronounce words correctly. But how do you do that? Speaking a different language involves using different face muscles than normal. By watching native speakers talk, you’ll pick up on the subtleties for how to move your lips and mouth when saying certain words.
You need to be realistic about how fast you’ll be able to learn a second language. It’s understandable to be very optimistic in the beginning, but learning a language is a process. Being able to take a step back and set achievable goals isn’t just smart, it helps motivate you to succeed.
Know that it make take a few months before you start recognizing words and cough out a few basic greetings with some trouble. It can take six months before you’re able to have simple conversations. Some people learn faster and others slower, but setting goals you can reach will help you feel successful when you reach them.
How often are you going to go apartment shopping or use a post office? Textbooks usually pick bland, rudimentary situations to teach a foreign language. They can be boring and ineffective. Instead, choose to study language around topics that interest you. If you like movies, try watching films in the target language with subtitles. If you enjoy comics, read them in your target language. And if you’re interested in politics, try watching the news in a foreign language. By keeping it interesting, you’ll be more motivated to study.
If you want to learn a second language, you’ll need to immerse yourself. Watch movies, listen to music, read books, and try to have conversations all in your target language. The more you immerse yourself, the faster you’ll gain fluency.
Once you have the right mindset and the right skills, you can begin your journey to learn another language. You don’t need to wait for the timing to be “right.” Everyday you wait is another day you have to wait before you’re fluent. If you haven’t already read the other article, check out how you can prepare your mind to learn a foreign language. Once you’ve prepare the foundation, you can begin your journey to rapid fluency.