Native speakers have tricks that make them seem to learn a new language effortlessly. After all, there’s no native version of Google Translate or Duolingo for their own languages. We non-natives are always trying to find out how they do it. From books and apps to live classes and one-on-one tutorials, there are many ways to learn a new language. In this blog post, we discuss the best practices for mastering any second or third language. Whether you’re brushing up on your Spanish, learning Swedish as a secondary language, or learning English as an additional language—we have all the insider tips from top professionals in the field.
Mimic Native Speakers
If you want to master a language, you need to surround yourself with native speakers. If possible, move to a country where the language is commonly spoken. If that’s not a viable option, find a language exchange partner or take classes at a local community center. If you can’t find other people who want to practice with you, then start mimicking native speakers in other ways. While you’re brushing your teeth in the morning, listen to a podcast or audio lesson in your target language. While you’re washing the dishes, put on a podcast or audio lesson in your target language. While you’re walking the dog or commuting to work, put on a podcast or audio lesson in your target language. While you’re doing any menial tasks around the house, put on a podcast or audio lesson in your target language.
Attend Live Classes
If you can find a local language class, take advantage of it. It’s one of the best ways to learn a new language quickly and efficiently. If your local community center doesn’t offer classes in your language of choice, then consider finding a class online. You can find language classes on platforms like Skillshare, edX, and Coursera. If you want to learn a language in a more interactive environment, then consider attending an immersive language school. Immersive language schools bring together students from around the world for intensive language courses. Courses typically last two weeks or longer, and are held at locations throughout the world. You’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and language of the country you’re visiting, while also meeting fellow students who are interested in learning your native language. A few examples of immersive language schools include American Language Center at the University of Georgia (hosting visitors in Athens, Georgia), the American Language Center at the University of Iowa (hosting visitors in Iowa City), and the Middlebury Language Schools (hosting visitors in eight locations throughout the world).
Read Children’s Books in Your Target Language
Reading is one of the best ways to learn a new language, but most people don’t think to pick up children’s books in their target language. If you’re looking for ways to pick up your language quickly and easily (without having a language exchange partner), then consider reading children’s books in your target language. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to pick up a language for which you don’t have any proficiency. Reading children’s books in your target language is a fun and immersive way to quickly pick up common words and phrases. When you read a children’s story in your target language, you don’t have to worry about getting bogged down with correct grammar and pronunciation. You can just enjoy the story and pick up new words and phrases along the way.
Use Audio-Based Apps and Games
If you’re feeling like reading children’s books in your target language is too slow of a process, then consider using audio-based apps and games. Apps like HelloTalk and My Language Exchange are great for finding language exchange partners. If you don’t know anyone near you, you can use these apps to connect with people around the world. These apps allow you to send and receive messages in your target language. You can ask your partner any questions you have about the language, and have them respond in their native tongue. This is a great way to quickly and easily improve both your grammar and pronunciation in your target language. If you’re looking for audio-based games to pick up your target language, then you can play games like Headphones in a language-learning app called Duolingo. Duolingo offers free language courses in a variety of languages including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Portuguese.
Be Patient and Don’t Give Up
Learning a new language is a slow and steady process. There’s no quick way to master a new language, and you won’t see noticeable results overnight. If you’re studying a new language, try to learn a little bit every day. This way, you can make learning a new language a consistent part of your daily routine. If you’re studying with a language exchange partner, remember that you can’t get annoyed if your partner’s language skills aren’t as strong as yours. Language exchange is a two-way street. You’re there to help each other learn, not to correct each other. If you’re taking a language class, remember that it takes most people several years to become fluent in a new language. If you’re studying full-time and taking classes several hours a day, you might have to spend a year or two in school before you can truly consider yourself fluent in your new language.
Ultimately, if you want to learn a new language, you have to put in the work. There are no shortcuts to fluency. However, there are ways you can make the process easier. If you want to learn a new language, make sure you surround yourself with native speakers. If you can’t find someone nearby, find a language exchange partner online. If you can’t find anyone online, then start reading children’s books in your target language. If you feel like reading is too slow, try using audio-based apps and games to speed up the process. Be patient, and don’t give up. With enough time and effort, you’ll soon be fluent in your new language.
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