If you’ve set out to learn a new language, congratulations on such an ambitious goal! Learning a new language can be beneficial for all sorts of reasons. Besides expanding your cultural horizons, you’re also increasing your intelligence, and accessing parts of your brain that you would not otherwise access.
However, make no mistake about it— learning another language requires a considerable amount of energy, patience, and above all, hard work. Here are some of the best tips for successfully learning a new language.
Although it’s not entirely impossible to learn a language over the age of 70, it becomes more difficult as your brain ages. As such, you should ideally start learning a language as early on as possible. The sooner you can get started, the better. Our brains are like sponges at a young age.
The more you can expose your brain to a language early on, the more likely you are to retain the information. However, if you are learning a language later in life, rest assured that it’s entirely possible. It’s all about setting your mind to it.
Stop Bad Habits Early On
It’s especially important that you break bad habits early on. That means paying very close attention to grammar, pronunciation, and all of the basics of a language before advancing too far.
The more language that you continue to build on top of bad habits, the more work you’ll have to do later to correct these errors. So, go slow and steady in the beginning, and take your time to get to know each step. The more thoughtfully you learn to master things like pronunciation, the more thorough of a learning process you’ll experience.
One of the best ways to retain a language is to read as much as possible in that language. Whether it’s reading a book, magazines, or watching a movie with subtitles on, the idea is to expose yourself to the written language as much as possible.
Your brain will start to retain and process words and phrases that it repeatedly sees. So, even though you may not understand everything at first, get into the habit of reading as much as you can get your hands on of that language, and patterns will start to form.
Practice Makes Perfect
You can read every language book that was ever written, and have a thorough understanding of the grammar of a language, yet when you’re forced to speak in the language nothing comes out. The reason for this is because you require practice.
Expose yourself to speaking the language you want to learn as much as possible. Talk to natives, immerse yourself in the culture, and practice practice practice. Don’t let the fear of making mistakes hold you back from this valuable stage of mastering a language.