Do you want to learn a new language? Whether you want to strengthen your linguistic abilities for your high school Spanish class or your summer vacation to France, you are in the right place! Most people approach language learning by studying rigid grammar structures before understanding the language, but there are more fun and effective ways to learn. Here are five tips that will help you learn languages effectively.
1. Aim to understand the language by ear before diving into grammar.
The most effective language learners are babies. Many bilinguals can thank their bilingualism to the environment they grew up in. It is easier for children to pick up different languages if they grow up in a multilingual environment than it is for an adult who wants to learn a new language. Now, there is no way for you to go back in time and learn languages as a baby, but you can emulate a similar technique. In order to do this, you must immerse yourself completely in an environment that speaks your target language. However, completely immersing yourself in another country can be difficult and unattainable. There are plenty of alternatives to this that are explained in the further steps.
2. Watch TV shows in your target language.
If you are at a beginner level in your target language, do not start by watching complex TV shows. Instead, start by watching shows designed for children. Children’s shows help with learning new useful vocabulary if you do not already have any knowledge in your target language. Some examples of children’s shows that are available in multiple languages are Peppa Pig, Mickey Mouse, Doraemon, and more, depending on your target language. If you are at an intermediate level in your target language, you should watch shows designed for pre-teens. For example, try to find shows that would be available on Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, etc.
3. Listen to music in your target language.
Sometimes, finding the perfect songs is hard, and it is easier to stick with music you are familiar with instead of branching out to discover new tunes. However, if you want to learn a new language, listening to music makes the experience more fun. In order to find music that you like in your target language, search for your favorite genre in that language. For example, if you usually listen to R&B, and you are trying to learn Spanish, go to Spotify or YouTube and search “R&B Español” to find a variety of playlists to explore.
4. Study the media you consume in your target language.
Now that you have a variety of shows and music in your target language, you can turn them into a learning tool. A way to learn from music is to look up the lyrics to a song in your target language that you listen to a lot. Then, memorize the words to the song with the intention of singing along to it in the future. Look up definitions of words you are unfamiliar with while memorizing the words, and when you are done, try to piece together what the song means. Next time you shuffle your playlist and that song comes on, you will know the words/meanings, since the song will help you remember them. This is an excellent method to strengthen your vocabulary and retain the information.
5. Explore social media in your target language.
Follow accounts that you find interesting on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and more that speak your target language. Cater your for you page or explore page to occasionally show you memes or other posts in your target language. You could even make and interact with mutuals on social media who speak your target language.
Language learning does not have to be boring workbook practice. It can be a fun and satisfying hobby that will most definitely also help you in the long run. With language learning, you can have fun and be productive at the same time. Good luck with your language learning endeavors!