Learning an additional language not only positively influences learning in general, but it also helps students to develop multicultural awareness. This often results to a greater sense of open-mindedness and empathy as well as academic proficiency in other subjects. Learning a language requires a lot of effort. But there are ways that can help speed up your progress.
Read on for 5 effective learning strategies you can adopt, when learning any language.
1. Build vocabulary
Obviously, not all words of a language are equal, some occur much more frequently than others. It’s therefore beneficial if you focus your attention on the more frequently occurring words at first. One way to learn words effectively is to stick post-its with the word on the object or image. This is helpful because the brain will retain the word easier when it makes the visual correlation to the object itself, rather than another word. For English, with about 3000 to 4000 words you will be able to start reading “native”, non-language-course material, however, you will still probably still have about 2-3 unknown words per sentence. Looking them up is imperative.
2. Learn example sentences
Completing endless grammar exercises can be time consuming and meaningless, by learning example sentences your brain will infer the necessary grammar rules by itself. It is important, however, that you learn any exceptions, too. In order for the brain to generalise the grammatical rules it will need a sufficient number of examples. This way you will begin to acquire an intuitive feel of the language, allowing you to figure out what sounds right and what doesn’t, just like native speakers do when they learn a language from a young age.
3. Immerse yourself and listen
The best way to learn an additional language its to immerse yourself in it. Travel to a country where they speak that language and expose yourself fully. If that is not an option for you then you can use technology to your advantage. Watch television in the language you are learning or listen to the radio, audiobooks, or get any other exposure you can via the Internet. The more you listen the more your brain will start picking up words and making connections within the language.
4. Talk, talk and talk
Talking to a person who is a native speaker and who will correct your mistakes, will help you with pronunciation as well as help speed up fluency. If that is not feasible, then try talking to yourself. This probably sounds very odd, but the idea behind it is that the best way to learn vocabulary is by actively using it. By thinking and talking out loud, your brain is trained to instantly recall and voice the words, allowing them to be stored to the long-term memory, faster. If you are helping your child learn an additional language you could ask them to talk to you10-20 minutes a day, depending on their age.
5. Make mistakes!
Mistakes are part of any learning process. Many people avoid speaking even though they have a large vocabulary bank because they are frightened of making mistake.s The truth is that you will make mistakes and you should use those to your advantage. Don’t feel embarrassed when you are corrected, instead be happy because that will be one mistake less in the future, making you a better speaker already!
The learning strategies mentioned above, provide you with some great learning tools to learn any language. Learning a new language is a process that takes a long time. Your brain needs time to store all the new words and sentences you acquire in your long-term memory, so repetition at regular intervals is important.
Till next time…
Special thanks to Debora Dalila Cortés for the inspiration. 👑
Image by geralt, Pixabay
Thank you! I think this is the right approach to learning.
I know and understand two languages, and I thought that my children would easily learn both and be bilingual. But since we speak English in the family, only I can speak the second language (my native one) with confidence, and my children know only some words and expressions. That’s why we try to learn it little by little together. So far no grammar, just simple words and sentences, but I think we can move on.
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