One of my 2017 resolutions is learning a new language, Korean to be exact, and I’m guessing it is for many other people too. Since I decided to move it up on my priority list throughout february and tried out different learning techniques before, I thought: why not share my best tips with you?
Of course, just like everyone else, I learned new languages at school. But, as you might know, I don’t go to school anymore, so this is my first time attempting to learn a language all on my own (surprising how much fun learning can be if you’re not forced to do it…).
Yes, I know I could just get a teacher or take a course. But let’s be real, we know what it’s like nowadays: Who has time to go somewhere just to recite some vocabulary when you’re also trying to incorporate working out, drinking enough and eating healthy into your daily routine while you’re working your ass off to get your dream job?
That’s right, no one does, neither do I. So, I decided to do what you do in the 21st century: get an app! It’s actually a really great way to learn a language and a blessing of our time because you can also listen to the words, which is ultimately essential for learning and knowing how to pronounce it. I’m a little deeper into the process by now, so I also got a book and keep my eyes open for more because I think the more sources you have, the merrier.
What do you do first when learning a new language? Right, mostly just memorize words. Since it’s been a really long time that I was in the stage of just trying to remember words when learning a new language, I tried a lot of techniques to find out what works best for me at this point.
I’m gonna share my favorites and most effective ones down below. These tips are great wheter you’re learning on your own or with a teacher. They will help you memorize and brush up your skills easily at home. Now, let’s get to the real deal!
1..Learn 1 new word every day
Even if you’re super busy and you feel like life’s just happening way too fast, there is always time to learn one word. Just make it a daily habbit to learn one new word in your new language, you can even make it a thing in your habbit tracker! You might not have time for a long study session, but learning one word won’t take long. Read it, listen to it, say it, write it 5 times and you should be good.
It’s a baby step, but it’s a step! Just really make an effort to learn at least one word each day. You’re casually learning a little bit on the side without having to make it your no. 1 priority for now and you’ll still know 7 more words by the end of the week!
2. Post it!
No, not on social media, even though that could get some of us motivated too… Seriously, use sticky notes! I never thought it would work as well as it actually does for me. This tip is especially great if you’re, like me, learning a language that is a whole lot different from other languages you know or has completely different characters because you’ll also constantly be exposed to the spelling and therefor remember it easier. (By the way, I recommend learning the characters and the alphabet first, before anything else, that’s what I did.)
Anyways, writing words or phrases on a sticky note works wonders! Just put it somewhere in your room, preferably where you can see it from your bed or couch and even better, an environment connected to the meaning. Imagine how much faster you’ll learn the word “mirror” if the related sticky note is on your mirror and you see it all the time while watching TV compared to staring at it, in a textbook, for 30 minutes and still wondering why you can’t get it into your head.
3. Write it down
I’m sure you’ve heard of this “writing it once equalizes reading it 5 times” or something stuff before. Whether or not that’s true, even though it would make total sense if it was, you will at least remember the spelling way better than you would by just looking at it.
4. Say it out loud
We’ve talked about writing it down, looking at it repeatedly and revising. All great methods for learning but the truth is, the more of your senses and brain parts you use, the better. So, in order for you to learn to pronounce the word correctly, you need to say it out loud.
Not only does it help getting used to not only reading and writing but instead talking in your new language, but it also helps the learning process. Depending on what learning type you are, you might actually remember things better when you hear them instead of reading them in silence. Although, no matter what type you are, getting all of your senses involved can only benefit you, so try to use them all as much as you can.
5. Apply it
Even if you only know 3 words in your new language, chances are you will find yourself in situations where you could or would use them in your native tongue. So why not do it?
When you enter your kitchen and pick up an apple, just say “apple” in your new language. If you mom asks whether you want coffee or tea, answer her in that new language. After she’s done looking at you weirdly (and trust me she will), you can translate it for her.
No matter how little you know, use it, apply it, keep your eyes open for opportunities in your daily life, even if you just go over it in your head because you’re in public and not with your mom, apply, apply, apply! Everyone starts small.
Hope you’ll succeed in whatever language you’re learning, maybe I’ll write a post in Korean by the time I’m fluent 😉 and don’t let them put you in a box. Annyeong! 안녕! Bye! \m/
Check out my Pinterest for some study motivation!