Learning a new language can be an incredibly fun way to meet new people and expand your world view.
It also comes with countless benefits, including an improved memory, a stronger vocabulary, and wider career options.
But if you really want to learn a new language well, you’ll have to commit to regular practice.
How to Learn a New Language
Below are seven ways you can get started with your learning, from fun apps to language exchange groups.
1. Study With Language Apps
Most apps make it easy to track your progress, and you’ll be able to study anywhere and anytime—on the subway as you commute to work, during your lunch break, or while you sip your morning coffee.
Can Duolingo Make You Fluent?
With regular and consistent practice, language apps like Duolingo and others can actually help you to become fluent in a foreign language.
For the best results, try to dedicate at least 15 minutes each day to studying with your app. Regular practice makes perfect!
2. Read Books
Don’t discount the power of a good old-fashioned book when it comes to learning a new language.
You’ll need to study up on the basic rules of grammar before you can start conversing, and since many of us learn and remember things with visual cues, language books can really help you absorb all that new information.
Some, like John del Gaudio’s How to Become Fluent in Spanish, focus on a specific language but offer helpful learning tips that can be used by students of any tongue.
Once you get more comfortable, you can start reading books in the language you’re studying. Children’s books are a great start for beginners!
You can also highlight any new words you come across to help build your vocabulary.
3. Enroll in a Course
If you’re really serious about your commitment to learning a new language, you can also enroll in a formal language class, either online through websites like Skillshare, or in person through a learning center or community college.
Here are some Skillshare courses that are particularly popular for foreign language learners:
- Spanish for Beginners: The Complete Method
- Super Easy Mandarin for Beginners
- Bite-Sized French for Beginners: Introductions and Greetings
- Arabic Language: The Ultimate Arabic Course
4. Hire a Tutor
Sometimes nothing beats one-on-one practice with a pro. You’ll benefit from a tutor’s undivided attention and personalized instruction that meets your pace.
In addition, you might also check out any relevant Facebook groups for students of a particular language. Resources, contacts, and services are usually advertised in these online communities.
5. Connect With Native Speakers
Regular practice is one of the best ways to learn a new language quickly. That’s why exchange groups with native speakers or others studying the same language are so effective.
You’ll be able to get feedback from others and pick up on some of the intricacies of the language that you might not catch online.
You can also research immigrant or expat communities near you, and if you find groups that speak that language, start frequenting local hangouts.
People are generally happy to share their culture and language with those willing to learn.
6. Study the Culture
Watching foreign films or listening to music in another language can be a fun, easy way to start learning in your free time.
It will also expose you to new content that you might otherwise not have discovered, while helping you learn more about another country’s culture and history.
Tip: If you’re enrolled in a university, take a look at your library’s foreign films collection to borrow some classics for free.
If you can swing it, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in another culture and pick up on the intricacies of a language is through travel.
You’ll be surrounded by native speakers, so you’ll also be able to learn more colloquial phrases.
Being in a new environment will also force you to find new ways to communicate your needs. It might feel awkward at first, but it’s one of the best ways to get real world practice and break out of your shell.
8. Be Fearless
Never be afraid to make mistakes, and don’t worry about being judged. No one speaks a new language perfectly right away, but you have to push yourself to try.
Your mistakes will help you learn more quickly, especially if you can get feedback from a fluent or native speaker.
Learning a new language is an admirable decision that comes with dozens of benefits, so make the most of your experience by practicing regularly and speaking without fear!
How Long Does It Take to Learn a New Language?
The amount of time it will take you to learn a new language depends on how much time you put into studying every day, as well as how immersive your experience is.
The most important think when it comes to learning a new language is consistency, so try to practice every day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. You’ll see results each week as your vocabulary expands and you become more confident as a speaker!
Which tools make learning a new language easier for you? Feel free to share in the comments below!