Secrets to learning a foreign language

7 secrets to learn a foreign language

Can you learn a language quickly? How to become fluent in a language? Read all our tips and advice to learn to speak a foreign language.

Learning a new language is no easy task. Yet the cultural, intellectual, professional and human benefits are countless. Therefore, whether you decide to take English classes, Spanish classes or Chinese classes, here’s 7 secrets to learn a foreign language:

1. Be realistic

When we asked the translators involved in the TED Open Translation Project for their opinion on this subject, their first response always was: “Be realistic.” Set a reachable goal to begin with, in order to measure your progress without getting frustrated. Choose 50 words and start using them in conversations. As for grammar, this can wait for now.

2. Add a lifestyle change to your learning experience

The difference between a student who makes progress and another who doesn’t often depends on discipline and consistency. Find ways to incorporate your new language into your lifestyle so that you can practice it in any given context.

3. Make the new language a component of your daily life

The more you incorporate this language into your everyday life, the more your brains will consider it useful, therefore your learning will speed up. Put labels on objects in your home, listen to music, watch movies, read children’s books, talk to your imaginary friend…

4. Let technology help you

Learning a foreign language in the twenty-first century can’t look like a class from the last century. We live in a world of new technologies, so make the best of it! Some tips: change the language on your cell phone and computer, search the Internet for online language learning websites or language classes.

5. Open the doors to new experiences

All those things you enjoy doing? Just do them in your new language. Look up a traditional recipe in the original language, explore the traditions of the culture, watch movies that are not dubbed, and so on.

6. Make new friends

Speak your new language: that is, if you really want to improve your skills you have to practice. To do so, there is nothing better than interacting with other people. Look for native speakers, and if you can’t find any near your home, find them online.

7. Don’t worry if you make mistakes

Fear of making mistakes often tends to freeze learners. Don’t give it a second thought. Native speakers, with only a few exceptions (the French have a very bad reputation in this regard) really appreciate the effort to speak their language. And if you are shy with adults, then try talking to children: you’ll likely find someone having the same language level…

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This article has been written by Mathieu

Mathieu was born in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. After studying Literature and Linguistic Research, he moved to Argentina where he is currently a translator and a web editor.