28 Oct 2011

5 Top Tips for Language Learning

Ever wished to learn a second language? With the increasing importance of global markets, and growing influence of economic powerhouses such as China, there has never been a greater motivation to invest the time into learning a foreign tongue.

Yet, learning a new language is not easy, as it require a large amount of time and effort on behalf of the student. This is perhaps why so many in Britain fail to study languages to GCSE, A-Level, and Degree classifications.

To counter this, Education Secretary Michael Gove unveiled new governmental plans that aim to teach every child over the age of 5 a foreign language during school hours. He told that Guardian that virtually every other developed nation in the world teaches a foreign language from that age, and the UK should set itself the same aim.

“If we pull all the levers, change teacher training… get schools that have language potential to take over under-performing schools, and we move the curriculum review in the right direction, then we can move towards the goal,” Gove stated.

Learning foreign languages has many advantages. Not only does it have a positive effect on intellectual growth, but it will also provide the individual with greater sensitivity to language construction and a better ear for listening. But, perhaps most importantly, a second language greatly increases your job opportunities in several careers where knowing a second language is desired.

However, before attempting to study a following language, a consideration of the following is advised:

1.Consistently expose yourself to many forms of media in your target language

When learning a new language, it is beneficial to find interesting ways to familiarise yourself with grammar, accents, and new words.

For instance, listening to music in your target language may provide you with examples of accents and synonyms for common words. Other examples of spoken language can be found in TV shows, movies, and radio broadcasts from your target country. Similarly, audio books and subtitles can help uncover new grammar and interesting phrases.

2. Attempt to meet people who speak the language that you wish to learn

Regular meetings with people who are fluent in your target language will be a great way to practice and develop your newly found skills. Native speakers are usually more than happy to help fix linguistic errors and offer tips to boost speaking ability.

Direct conversation will also improve accent, vocabulary, and comprehension.

3. Have an interest in grammar

Many linguists would rather learn a new language through acquisition, as opposed to spending hours studying grammatical rules. But even if you do not take a keen interest in learning grammar, there needs to be a willingness to invest plenty of time into understanding a languages rules.

Studying grammar can provide a good base to learn your target language, as a comprehension of language construction will help when writing text or in casual conversation.

4. Learn vocabulary effectively

Along with grammar, this is another pillar of language learning as, quite simply, the more words and phrases you know, the more you understand. However, the best way to lean vocabulary is to create flash cards from a set of 3 x 5 index cards.

Flash cards are an excellent language learning tool. They can help organise words into meaningful groups, such as by noun gender, in thematic categories, or regular versus irregular verbs. These cards can also be used in both directions, as you can practice translating from English into your target language, or your target language into English.

5. Be Committed 

Many people have positive intentions when starting to learn a new language. They purchase all of the study materials and attend many language lessons, yet fail to back this effort up with a proper commitment.

Spending around 1 hour of your day learning a new language is not long enough, as more time needs to be invested into such an endeavour. With more companies seeking multilingual employees, there is good reason to spend the time and effort learning a second language.


Sign up to our newsletter

Get our blog articles straight to your inbox.