When you have no one else to speak to, there’s nothing wrong with talking to yourself in a foreign language.
This can keep new words and phrases fresh in your mind. It also helps build up your confidence for the next time you speak with someone.
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If you don’t have a good reason to learn a language, you are less likely to stay motivated over the long-run.
Once you’ve decided on a language, it’s crucial to commit.
Finding some kind of partner on your language adventure will push both of you to always try just a little bit harder and stay with it.
It’s a really great way of actually going about it. You have someone with whom you can speak, and that’s the idea behind learning a new language.
Talking to people is one of the best ways to learn a language because it keeps the learning process relevant to you.
"The creative side is really being able to put the language that you're learning into a more useful, general, everyday setting"
Think of some fun ways to practice your new language: make a radio play with a friend, draw a comic strip, write a poem or simply talk to whomever you can.
The key to learning as quickly as a child may be to simply take on certain childlike attitudes. For instance, lack of self-consciousness, a desire to play in the language and willingness to make mistakes.
We learn by making mistakes. When it comes to learning a language, admitting that you don’t know everything (and being okay with that) is the key to growth and freedom.
Willingness to make mistakes means being ready to put yourself in potentially embarrassing situations. It’s the only way to develop and improve.
Talk to strangers in the language, ask for directions, order food, try to tell a joke. The more often you do this, the bigger your comfort zone becomes and the more at ease you can be in new situations.
You must learn to listen before you can speak.
Every language sounds strange the first time you hear it. The more you expose yourself to it the more familiar it becomes, and the easier it is to speak it properly.
The best way to go about mastering that is actually to hear it constantly, to listen to it and to kind of visualize or imagine how that is supposed to be pronounced, because for every sound there is a specific part of the mouth or throat that we use in order to achieve that sound.
Different languages make different demands on your tongue, lips and throat. Pronunciation is just as much physical as it is mental.
If you can’t watch and imitate a native-speaker in person, watching foreign-language films and TV is a good substitute.
Use the 360° maximalist approach: no matter which learning tools you use, it’s crucial to practice your new language every single day.
Really, really go for it and try to use it throughout the day. Try to think in it, try to write in it, try to speak to myself even in that language.
Although it is scary and hard, immersive practice is by far the most effective. When the person you're speaking with sees that you don't understand, they will automatically try to simplify what they communicate.
If you don't want to speak yet, you can also try reading or watching movies, until you have a high listening comprehension.
It is a good idea to master the basic skills first and focus on the grammar later, while asking for feedback and correcting yourself, learning on-the-fly.
Invest not only your head but your heart in the learning process. Practice makes perfect.
Ralby argues “a key language myth is that it’s harder as an adult”.
Adults and children may learn in different ways but that shouldn’t deter you from committing to learning another language. “Languages are simultaneously organic and systematic. As children we learn languages organically and instinctively; as adults we can learn them systematically.”