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Tips when learning a language

Learning a language is a process that takes time and determination. Motivation and drive to do so can fluctuate. With that in mind, we’ve come up with some tips to help you get the most out of your efforts.

Before your course:

Start engaging with your target language. Music, movies, and even food can help you get familiar with the words and sounds that you’ll soon start hearing. This will benefit your comprehension by making it easier to recognise the slight variations in accents or words that sound similar, yet have different meanings.

Plan your time well. Understand the proposed time requirements that your course will need. Consider setting time aside in your agenda, as well as if you might need, or want, any materials to make your learning experience easier. 

Review your study process. Some people like flash-cards, others prefer writing assignments. Our recommendations of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of studying can be found here.

Recognise that learning a language is not the same as learning every grammar rule. Nuances in expression, such as idioms and acronyms, that might go against the rules you must learn.

During your course:

Working with others improves retention and increases motivation. It has the additional benefits of engaging different perspectives, as well as offering a space to practice speaking and listening with various levels of language proficiency. 

As suggested in the above link, diversify your study habits. Consider asking your teacher, or natives of your target language for suggested media to step-up your engagement. The more you expand your exposure the quicker your learning can go. 

Don’t limit your practice to when you’re attending your class, or doing your homework. Try to find ways to practice in your daily routine. Doing a little bit, everyday, increases retention and makes it easier for you in the end. Remember, it’s okay to make mistakes! If you’re scared of making mistakes, you’ll unintentionally hold yourself back.

After your course:

Don’t Stop. That’s it. Really. Practice makes perfect. 

Our online post-course offers many different ways in which you can continue learning after your course has ended. Beyond that, keep engaging with others, and with various forms of media from your target language. Just. Don’t. Stop.

Make sure you continue to use the language, if you don’t, you might be surprised at how quickly your built up knowledge can diminish.

Paul Van Zanten
Paul is an American intercultural communications professional living in the Netherlands and connecting with his Dutch roots. With a passion for travel, as well as gaining new perspectives and experiences, Paul aims to further his growth, as well as that of others at Language Partners.

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