To learn languages there’s no secret really: you need to be determined and study a lot. That’s it! However, some of us still need a bit of help discovering, not the right way to do it—because there isn’t a one-size fits-all method—, but the right approach to adopt to quickly and effortlessly learning a language. So for those who need a helping hand, here are 5 language learning methods.
The 5 Language Learning Methods
Method No.1: Focus on Words and Their Meaning
In any language, vocabulary is essential, and it should be our priority to acquire more of it. How are you to build a phrase, have a conversation or image an idea without vocabulary? Impossible. But learning an endless list of words—words that aren’t related to one another—doesn’t make sense either. What’s important is for the vocabulary you’re learning to makes sense.
Memorize the most important words first
- You should first start by memorizing the most meaningful words according to your level and needs. At first, for example, the vocab you learn should be the most common words, simply because you are more susceptible to hearing and using them. Nothing hard in finding the most common words in a given subject because there are list of words for this purpose (often called frequency lists), which are lists of the most commonly used words according to a certain subject or theme.For example, let’s say you’re going on a weekend trip to Italy, and you want to learn vocabulary related to staying at a hotel to be able to find a nice place to stay for the night. There’s no need to learn EVERYTHING related to this subject, I agree, but what you can do is to spend time memorizing words from a frequency list for staying at a hotel: the most commonly used and most useful words for booking a hotel.How can you find these lists? You can look them up on the internet and quickly find frequency lists in a certain language for a given subject. Here’s an example from Wikipedia with frequency lists in 50 languages. Additionally, the vocabulary lists from MosaLingua, which are in each of our apps, were created according to their frequency of use in order to only learn useful vocabulary.
Learn with context
- Learn words with an example in a sentence to better understand their meaning. The more a word makes sense to you, the faster you will memorize it. Which is why it’s inefficient to learn words by themselves. It is better to learn a group of words related to each other or entire phrases because this creates an idea or image which renders them easier to remember.
Method No.2: Be Motivated and Have Fun!
Next on our list of language learning methods is to have the desire to do so; learning a language just doesn’t happen without it. Even at school! Some might feel like the only reason they learned anything during language lessons is because they were made to attend class. But I’m sure that deep inside of them there was another reason: to make their parents proud, to challenge themselves, to be among the top students, to become a teacher one day… And it’s the same thing when learning a language as an adult. There is always a motivation behind it all.
Whatever this motivation is, what you must keep in mind is that you should always be motivated to learn. We’ve already spoken about this in a previous article: tips for staying motivated in the long term. Here, I’ll only say one thing: to stay motivated, make it fun. Learning a language does not equate to staying with your eye glued to a book. You have to LIVE a language! There are so many ways you can learn a language. For example? Cooking with a recipe book in Italian, seeing who will be the fastest to learn Spanish between you and a friend, watching drama performances in German, etc. There are many ways to make language learning fun.
Method No.3: Fully Immerse Yourself in The Language
Once you’ve learned your frequency list, use this newly acquired vocabulary as fast as possible, the best being to use it every day.
Next on the language learning methods list–in order for languages to be engraved in your head you need to use, repeat and put the knowledge learned into practice. Languages must be part of your daily life. We often speak of the importance of repetition and of reviewing a language regularly to memorize it for the long term. But reviewing 5 minutes a day to then attend to other unrelated things won’t be immersing yourself in the language. You have to include it in your life. Go order a sushi in Japanese, compose songs in French, talk with a German person over the internet… Learning a language isn’t done in just a few minutes a day, it must be part of your daily life.
Method No.4: Concentrate on Speaking
Fourth on the list of language learning methods is to focus, at first, on the oral aspect of the language. Learning a language includes learning how to recognize and reproduce its sounds. This is actually how everybody has ever learned their own language: through sounds. My first piece of advice here is to listen to the language you want to learn in whatever means possible. Nowadays, there are plenty of methods to do this: you can watch TV, films or series, listen to music, etc. Carefully listen to the sounds, then the words. Don’t hesitate to study the movements of the mouth, lips and tongue. In certain languages, such as Spanish for example, the correct position of the mouth is indispensable for reproducing certain sounds.
So, the next lesson is listening, studying the position of the mouth…and talking (of course, you have to put it into practice). Once more, nowadays, there are many methods available for speaking with people from the four corners of the world. You can, for example, meet them via language exchange websites.
Method No.5: Be Like a Child, do Not Worry About Making Mistakes
Many people think that learning a language is much easier for children. Although this belief has been shown not to be true, age is not an obstacle for learning a language, I still think that children do something right; children aren’t afraid of trying nor of making mistakes. It is by falling down over and over again that we learn to walk, and it is by constantly making mistakes that we learn a language.
So, the last of the language learning methods is if you want to learn a language, stop taking life so seriously, instead, have fun and be like a child. Just go for it, dare to speak to everybody without caring about making mistakes.
These 5 language learning methods don’t tell you the exact way you should go about learning. No one could ever tell you that. But they are meant to show you the right behavior to adopt when learning a language. If you have other methods you think should be added to the list, tell us in the comments below 😉
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