Learning a second language is not only good for your brain but also for your creative skills, as well as your ability to critically think. It’s also useful if you’re considering traveling to another country as the command of another language can help you to build relationships with ease.
However, if you’ve decided to try and brush up on your communication skills, you might be finding it a little difficult. Perhaps you’re a total beginner with some rusty knowledge of the basics, or maybe you’re starting afresh with no prior knowledge of the language you want to learn. Fear not, either way. You’re certainly not alone! Here are some tips to help you out.
Find a style that works for you
Firstly, do your research on the best methods of learning for you. There are lots of different tools, techniques, and materials out there, and not all of them will suit you. Begin by looking into the approaches that you find most enjoyable, whether that be workbook-based and traditional classroom teaching or virtual learning and app-based games.
Armed with this information, you can then search for similar learning experiences to try them out. If, for example, you’re completely new to language learning, you might want to look for online French classes near you. In particular, learning online is useful because you can schedule your tuition around your existing schedule and work at a time of your convenience. In addition, you can even choose a specific tutor for your one-on-one classes, which means you can tailor the experience to your needs.
Set some goals
Another thing to note is your overall objective. As with many things in life, we need to set goals for ourselves in order to see how far we’ve come. It doesn’t even need to be about your speaking ability. For instance, instead of saying ‘I want to be able to count to 50 in French’, you could decide that you want to be able to hold a brief conversation with a local citizen next time you’re in France.
Setting short-, mid-and long-term goals can also help to give your learning some structure and direction. After all, if you don’t know what you’re working towards, how will you know what to work on? If you want to push yourself when learning another language, as we’ve reported here before on Daily Junkies, you could try adding some timescales too.
Book a holiday
Visiting the country of the language you’re trying to learn, or studying abroad for a few weeks, can be really beneficial for your communication skills. Not only is it a great way to hear first-hand how certain words and phrases should be pronounced and used, but there’s an opportunity for you to put your newfound skills into practice.
This is ideal for emphasis on certain words and phrases and, if you make a mistake and are then corrected, you’re more likely to not make it again. Surrounding yourself with natives can also improve your listening skills as they’ll likely be speaking at a natural pace and you’ll be able to pick up on natural conversational elements.
Practice makes perfect
Ultimately, practicing your language skills is the best way to enhance your learning. Whether it’s speaking out loud to yourself, listening to videos online in the native language, or even trying to translate your favorite song or text into another language.
Above all, remember that language learning should be fun – so take your time, find an approach that works for you, and don’t be disheartened by any setbacks.