Learning a new language sounds exciting, right? To many people, it sounds like a daunting task as well. It's all too easy to make excuses, saying that you don't have the time or that you’ll just forget everything in between classes. Fortunately, if you make a plan to get exposure to the language and practice your skills every day, you will be positioned for success. So shelve those concerns and come up with a plan of attack that will put you on the right track! Follow these tips to make learning a second language party of your everyday life.
1. Read a bookReading is a great way to expand your knowledge and understanding of a language. Start with the easy stuff; try borrowing a few children's books from your local library. Remember, you're learning a language much like kids do when they're in school, so why not give yourself exposure to some of the same resources? Once you've graduated past that basic level, upgrade to a teen novel. Even better, choose a novel that you've read and really enjoyed in your native language. You'll have the added insight of knowing the general storyline to aid in your understanding. Set a simple goal of just 5 pages per day for your first novel, reading paragraphs twice for better comprehension and looking up words as you go.
2. Watch TVMost people watch TV at nighttime to unwind after a day at work. If this sounds like you, make the most of that time by watching a show in the language you're trying to learn. If you don't have a channel that features programming in the language, it's simple to find videos online. If you can, turn on the subtitles in your native language to help you learn words and understand what's happening onscreen. Pay attention to what the actors are saying, the flow of the dialogue, and their pronunciation.
3. Play online gamesMake learning a language fun by tapping into the many free online resources available. This True or False game questions your knowledge of 30 foreign countries, while this Spanish Verbs Race is perfect for those trying to hone their Spanish skills. You can also find vocabulary-building games and countless apps to download to your smart phone.
4. Do a crossword puzzleLearning a new language is a stimulating activity for your brain no matter what your age is, and so is the task of completing a crossword puzzle. A book of 50 or 100 puzzles is low cost and can be found in many different languages. If you can't find one locally, order one online. Commit to answering at least 5 or 10 answers each day. If you can't figure out an answer, look for clues online, searching relevant phrases in the language you're practicing. You'll push yourself at problem solving and boost your language skills at the same time!
The key to success in learning a new language is persistence and regular practice. Incorporate language learning into your daily life and you'll find that while the journey can be challenging, it is also rewarding.
Dusty is a full-time freelance writer who contributes to the Listen & Learn network. She is a world traveler who especially loves Latin American culture and food.