No excuses to learn Spanish
Learning a new language can be a rewarding endeavor, but it can be very challenging too. The first step to learning any new language is making the commitment, but after you do that, what is your next step?
There are a variety of ways to learn a new language including enrolling in university classes, participating in language groups, and learning on your own through books, internet etc. While these different methods all have their own advantages and disadvantages, any one of the above techniques can help you to learn a new language. When choosing a method, take some time to consider which technique will work best for you. Be sure to consider factors like time, your learning style, where you will be studying (e.g., do you have a long commute where you can study, do you have time to attend a class, do you want to study from your own home), and cost. Regardless of the method, you choose to consider the following tips to help you have more success in learning a new language.
Identify your learning style
Take some time to consider your own learning style. Are you the type of person who needs to be very active when learning, or does you prefer to quietly study on your own before beginning to learn something new. Do you need to know the underlying reasons why something is how it is, or is learning how to do it enough? If you tend to focus on the underlying details, you may want to consider beginning by focusing on grammar and conjugation. This will provide you with a foundation for the structure of the language upon which you can build as you continue to learn a new language. Individuals with this style may prefer more traditional learning methods such as university courses.
If you are a person who tends to focus on the “how” and are okay with not fully understanding the “why,” you may want to consider a language learning program that incorporates grammar as you go. That is, you learn grammar by learning what “sounds” right, similar to how you learned your first language. Methods such as online classes tend to use this approach.
Use the buddy system
Like everything from exercising more regularly to taking a new class, learning a language is easier and more enjoyable if you do it with a buddy. Before you begin to learn a new language, see if you can find a friend or family member who shares your interest. If you learn with a buddy, you will have a build in practice partner who can help you take advantage of informal practice opportunities. With a buddy, you can practice new words and phrases while riding in a car, in everyday conversations, or just around the house.
Using your new language in your day-to-day encounters will also help you to learn faster. Additionally, a buddy can help hold you accountable for practicing your new language. You may even want to set up regularly scheduled times to meet with your buddy and review what you have learned and practice together. Don’t worry if your buddy is at a different level than you are. If they pick up the language quicker or start with a greater knowledge than they will be able to help you expand your own vocabulary/skills. If you have a greater knowledge than your buddy, you can help them build their skills, and maybe learn something new yourself by teaching them.
Join a language group
If your friends and family don’t share your interest in learning a new language, don’t worry! There are other ways to find a buddy and work with others to learn a new language. Consider finding a language group in your area. These groups consist of individuals who share your goal of learning a new language. These groups get together periodically and several of them meet at coffee shops, so you can enjoy some java while you learn! Interacting and practicing with others in real life settings will help you retain what you learn. Without someone to practice with, it will be difficult to become fluent in a new language.
Watching TV shows or movies in your new language can be a great way to pick up new words, learn new phrases, and practice listening and understanding the language from a native speaker. You may not understand all the words, but the acting and music will help you to follow the storyline. For example, if you want to learn how to speak Spanish, consider watching a telenovela (soap operas in Spanish).
Practice & Patience
Remember that it takes time to learn a new language. Make sure that you practice regularly (daily if you can) and don’t get frustrated if takes you a while to become as fluent as you would like. You didn’t learn you primary language overnight, but instead added words and learned grammar over time. You should expect to go through a similar process of gradually expanding your vocabulary when learning a new language.