Key Strategies to Learn a New Language with no Money
I was always an eager kid to learn a new language. The problem was — I always seemed to lose my motivation, fast.
I remember taking my aunts old Spanish exercise book from a shelf and wrote down numbers 1–10 to my notebook. I repeated the words from the book but got tired and moved on with practicing my drawing skills in the corner of the same notebook. The fun was over and so were the Spanish numbers.
Later in my life I took learning languages more seriously. Starting off with mandatory English and Russian lessons in school, to the University when I took firstly Arabic and then intensive Turkish language classes.
There has definitely been many ups and downs on the road of my language learning process. But somewhere in-between the tears in my eyes when I seem to understand nothing- to the powerful feeling of understanding the conversation of the people standing next to me at a bus stop, I’ve come to a point where I’ve learned some tricks to make language learning motivating and enjoyable part of my everyday life.
Expose yourself to the language in all its forms
Here are my top tips for learning a new language by making your daily routine little more diverse.
• Pick up a song and learn how to sing it. It’s a fun and very effective way to remember new words.
• Translate a daily article. See if you get the main idea of the event. Maybe you already heard the news about it from your local sources, which make it even easier to understand the article.
Even if you need to manually translate every word in it, it helps a lot to pay your attention to one short text to make you understand the text as a whole.
• Listen. I used to watch Ted Talks in Turkish while I was cleaning my room. I repeated watching the same one over and over again, sometimes making pauses for translating some specific words I heard, till I understood the whole sentences in it.
• Listen radio in the bus. As you’re already stuck on the bus anyways, it doesn’t take any extra of your time to learn something. Perfect!
I used to listen BBC radio in Arabic every morning I went to school, just before my language class started. In this way I prepared my mind for the class and after doing this I noticed myself to be much more active and awake in the class.
• Watch a TV show with subtitles. It’s another great way to hear the language while still catching up with the whole meaning of it.
Also, Youtube videos are short and catchy. Find a Youtuber you like whose channel is in the language and see if their videos have the option to turn on the subtitles. This has helped me a lot! Or again, search for subtitled TED and TEDx talks.
• Join a local Language Exchange Community or search groups on Facebook what carry this purpose and connect with native speakers.
Put Yourself in Situations That Make You Feel Uncomfortable
That’s why we see so many international students coming back with brand new language skills in their pocket. They had no other choice but to speak a foreign language to make themselves understandable.
We tend to learn languages faster when our survival depends on it, meaning that if we have no other choice than to speak the language, our brains will strive harder to understand it.
Simple Way to Overcome the Fear of Making Mistakes
At first, speaking foreign language with a native speaker can be truly scary. We are so afraid to make mistakes, it keeps us from practicing what we already know.
I found it more comfortable to try speaking with another language learner, just like you. It opens you up for becoming more comfortable with making mistakes. In this way we feel more relaxed and don’t hold ourselves back from talking because of the fear of being judged. Who also would understand you better than a fellow language learner!
The Only Failure is Not Doing Anything
Knowing a language doesn’t mean you’re perfect at it. There is no “failure” here, just many stages of success. Being able to introduce yourself in another language or ask directions already means that you’re able to make a contact with a native speaker. That exposes you to the various possibilities of understanding and connecting with loads of people you never had a chance before.
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All the success in learning,