How to learn a foreign language
Hello beautiful reader. Today it is going to be a little bit different. I am not going to teach you anything new about Swedish. But there is no need to panic. This lesson could be even more important than all the previous lessons. I am going to tell you how to study (languages) and how to become fluent.
Generally speaking there is no universal method that works for everybody. So much for the bad news. There are some nice tricks that could help and encourage you to study. We can often hear people saying:
I am too old to study. My memory does not work that good any longer.
I am not that good at learning languages.
To be honest with you that is only an excuse for yourself. People usually say that children have the ability to learn things quickly unlike the older people. Have you ever realised that children cannot plan their learning, they have no structure, they have no experience they are just learning by doing. Unlike you! You can organise your learning, use all the skills and methods and resources out there. You know yourself and you know what works for you and what is useless (if not try to find it ASAP). Use your brain and be smart.
Ask yourself “why”
“I am not that good …”? Come on, you can speak one language, right? So you can learn second one easily. You simply lack motivation. Ask yourself:
Why am I learning this?
Do you have a grand-child abroad that does not speak your language? Do you want to get your dream job and to get it you need to know the language? Do you want move abroad and start a new life? Or do you simply want to read your favourite book in the original language? You just need to find your motivation (the real and deep desire).
Specify your goal
Do you already know why? Great! Now you need to set your goals. Set your long-term goals and derive the short-run goals from that. It will keep you on the track. And be as specific as possible. If your goal is to get a certificate, write it down and derive all the necessary steps leading towards you big goal. It is good to know where you are heading but there is no need to become frustrated…
Forget the mountain and just collect a single “rock” or two every day.
Do a research
Find as many information, books, exercises, You-tube channels, tv-shows, magazines etc. as possible to get the core materials for your studies. I personally do not prefer traditional language learning books. I have tried (and failed) to learn Spanish and German with these books. I know the words and even phrases but I cannot speak and follow any native conversation in these languages (time wasted …). Find what suits you best.
Follow the real language
Try to follow the native sources from the very first steps. You do not need to know anything about the language and you can still watch and listen songs for children (how to count to ten, an alphabet song etc). If you start with the natives it helps you with your pronunciation from the very beginning and there will be no need to re-learn pronunciation in the future (which is extremely difficult).
Expose yourself to the language
The truth is that learning new language is a long and painful process. If you really want to speed up your learning expose yourself to the language as much as possible. It hurts a lot, it takes time but after all it is a fast and efficient way how to learn new things.
What hurts makes you stronger!
You can start small (but always thing big!). Start with your hobby. Is it sport? Go and find sport news in your new language and try to read it. Switch your language settings on your phone and pc (you already know it like a back of your hand). You will see how fast you can absorb new words.
And you can go even more hard core (like me) and do something new in the new language. I have started to play around with Lego-mindstorms robots (that is another story to tell …) and I have never tried to work with them before. I was asked to write down some how-to-build-a-robot tutorial in Swedish. Holy moly! I still do not feel confident in Swedish and not even in a field that is totally new for me. Trust me. Stepping outside your comfort zone always pushes your limits. Go for all the language challenges and do not care about yourself that much (yes you will be funny, you will sound strange, you will make mistakes, you will feel embarrassed … but after all you will feel great).
Develop your habit
Learning languages is a marathon. And you need to train every day. The best way is to turn the learning into a habit. Then it is really simple to stick with your plan and study every day. It becomes a natural part of your day and you will not feel that it is a burden or a must.
Do not be too hard to yourself
Sometimes your brain is simply exhausted and you cannot go any further for a while. It happens and there is no need to panic. Do not put too much pressure on yourself. Take it easy and you will see that you will make progress again.
Study with pleasure and joy
This is the most important essence. Try to learn the way that makes you feel happy. Try to learn it the way that you cannot wait any longer and just want to jump into studying. Make learning a joyful part of your day and your sweet reward will come sooner than you think.
Feel free to add you comment below the article. I cannot wait to hear what helps you study hard.