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Welcome to another Melba’s Finest post! In this one you will learn about the best way to learn a language. You do not need to spend a lot of money or fly half way across the world (although that does help) to be able to learn a language quickly and effectively. I have learned quite a few languages by now and can comfortably say this is the best way 🙂
Why classes aren’t necessarily the best
I have always been good at languages. English is not my first language so I had to learn it as a second language. I was lucky enough to learn French at school. Having been one of the best in class, I was super excited to visit France (you know, where they have actual French people who speak French). My arrogance quickly disappeared when I realised I couldn’t really understand what they were saying, and when I did understand, I just couldn’t respond quickly. So many moments of cringe still haunt me to this day. What I’m getting at is that it is important to be familiar with how the natives sound naturally. Even though my teacher was the best teacher ever (shout out to Mrs Tomas), her accent didn’t prepare me for real French so to speak.
Do you have to be in the native country of the language to learn effectively?
Short answer is absolutely not. Most of us are lucky to have access to the internet which harbours a wealth of resources for any pursuit.
What is the best way to learn a language?
As mentioned above, the best way to properly learn a language so that you can understand and speak with natives involves exposing yourself to the language in its natural/native context. Here are the ways that I have managed to achieve that.
7 Ways to Learn a Language
1. Watch children’s TV
This may be a strange thing to do but watching TV for the native children of your chosen language is a great starting point. This is designed specifically to develop listening, vocabulary and pronunciation in a visual way. It may seem weird watching children’s TV but if you are a visual learner like me, you will thrive on it. You can find such content on Youtube.
2. Watch a series
It obviously has to be from the country and in the language with subtitles you can understand. In general we all pretty much repeat a lot of words on a daily basis. When you follow a series you will start to notice the same phrases being repeated often. Soon enough they will be very natural to you. This also a great way to learn a bit more about the culture. Of course take with a pinch of salt because it is fiction after all, but I feel it is very insightful nonetheless.
3. Translate your favourite songs
This is actually quite fun and will enable you to start vocalising in your new language, making it more natural and approachable.
4. Listen to a radio station
You can easily find stations from any country online (it is free). Don’t settle for the first one you find. For this to work, you have to be interested. You will find, similarly to point 2 above, that there is a lot of repetition. Those repeated phrases and words are a representation of modern/contemporary language as opposed to textbooks that were written a bajillions years ago.
5. Listen to popular songs
You don’t have to do this but I have certainly found it helpful. The way that a song sounds, gives a different way of understanding pronunciation of that language.
6. Fall asleep to the language
Find an audiobook in your chosen language and listen to it every night. I personally prefer to listen to the same ‘tape’ every night. It helps me fall asleep having a regular routine or ritual. Furthermore, I am able to improve my listening as each time I hear different things and build my comprehension and vocabulary. You should be able to find suitable audio on Youtube
7. Michel Thomas
This method is fantastic. It is strictly audio based and rejects the notion of memorising. You learn very naturally. I have been doing Michel Thomas for my Portuguese and it has been awesome. It helps with pronunciation, vocabulary and listening. You can get it at decent prices, click below.
If you didn’t know some of these tips be sure to share with others who might also find it useful. I wish I knew about this 3 languages ago 🙂