Improving the way you learn a language

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Posted on 
September 28, 2020

Learning a new language can be challenging. However, it doesn’t have to be arduous. In this post, I’ll share with you the keys to learning a different language and overcoming the associated barriers. The ability to communicate in more than one tongue can open up new career opportunities, help you to interact with people from other cultures, and make you more open-minded. But the process requires commitment, patience, and motivation.

When the language you’re learning varies greatly from your mother tongue, it’s important to recognize that you’ll need to invest a fair bit of time in this pursuit. The amount of time will vary, depending on how often you study. Practicing every day will produce the most noticeable results and make speaking the language increasingly easy.

The key is to know which method will best help you to retain the language. Some learn best by listening to audiobooks or podcasts. Others prefer a visual strategy, such as flashcards or films. If one-on-one learning is more your style, you may find it beneficial to have a tutor. Once the method of learning is identified, it will be easy to determine the best strategy for acquiring the new language.

However, the best option is to live in a country where that language is spoken. Being immersed in another culture provides a great opportunity to accelerate learning. Absorbing a new language while travelling opens the door to more interactions with interesting people and takes the travel experience to a deeper level as you gain more confidence.

Learning a language requires patience. Go easy on yourself: it’s normal to get things wrong initially. Making mistakes in pronunciation, misunderstanding phrases in a conversation, having difficulty reading or writing—this is all part of the learning process. Don’t be fazed by it; just make the necessary corrections and move on. Keep at it! Learning a foreign language should be a pleasant walk, not a race.

Setting goals is extremely important. As with everything in life, having a target helps you to succeed. Challenge yourself: how many hours per week can you devote to language learning? Choosing your favourite method and resources will give you extra motivation and help you to learn as much as possible.

Implement these strategies, make a commitment to follow through on them consistently, and be patient with the process. Make language learning a passion and enjoy every achievement. Every language is a secret code that unlocks a culture!

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The opinions expressed in posts and comments published on the Our Languages blog are solely those of the authors and commenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Language Portal of Canada.

About the author

Valdiceia de Oliveira

Valdiceia de Oliveira

Born in Brazil, Valdiceia de Oliveira works as an international trade analyst in Santos, Sao Paulo. Her hobbies include learning languages, travelling, and trying different cuisines. Her communicative personality has given her the opportunity to live in London and visit Scotland, Wales, and Italy.

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I’ve already started learning English by listening to BBC News daily. As you suggested, I am going to start watching movies and reading books. Thank you for your inspirational article.

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