Posted on March 23rd, 2009 14 comments
I summarized 25 tips for language learning from Teach Yourself a Foreign Language Podcast episode six. I hope you like it!
1. When first starting out, try to just listen to your target language as much as possible without attempting to speak it. This helps you acquiring an ear for the language.
2. Develop a deep desire to learn the language. Without a desire you won’t get far.
3. Use time for you language learning which is ordinarily wasted. Standing on line, waiting for an elevator, etc., are all opportunities not to be missed.
4. Think in terms of phrases and not individual words. It’s easy to remember a phrase like “a breakfast of bread and butter” than it is to remember each word in isolation.
5. Use your imagination. Visual images can help you remember words.
6. Invent stories using as much of your new vocabulary as possible. Any words you can’t think off in your target language use your native language and then look up those words later.
7. Listen to internet radio broadcasts and podcasts as much as possible.
8. Likewise, watch videos. (http://youtube.com/)
9. Utilize the BBC for news broadcast and lessons in your target language. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/portuguese/aprenda_ingles/)
10. Utilize flashcards or small notebooks to review vocabulary words and phrases.
11. Invent funny or silly mnemonic phrases to help you remember new words or concepts.
12. Use a bilingual dictionary often, not just to look up specific words, but browse through it.
13. Draw columns on paper, words in your native language on the right and target language on the left. This allows your eye to easily scan to one column to the next and it helps your brain absorbs that word.
14. Write a simple children’s book in your target language. Make it silly and utilize simple concepts as though a child was actually going to read the book.
15. Learn the past tense before learning the present tense, and save the future tense for last.
16. Practice unfamiliar sounds in your target language in the shower or in the car. Example: the English “th” sound. Say it over and over.
17. Use computer programs and free online dictionaries. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/, http://dictionary.cambridge.org/, http://www.merriam-webster.com/)
18. When reading, read more slowly and deliberately than you do in your target language. Later, as you progress, your speed will increase to normal levels.
19. Read bilingual books or books in the target language that you are already familiar in your native language.
20. Read comics and cartons in your target language
21. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake.
22. Read your grammar books.
23. Think in your target language
24. Put stickers in everyday life items until you’ve learned their names.
25. Take an occasional break or a day or two off to let your mind sort out your new vocabulary words.