It is estimated that there exist about 6,500 languages, though not all of them are equally widespread. About 2,000 of them don’t have more than a thousand of speakers in total. The biggest language by the number of speakers is Mandarin Chinese, and English is the most widespread language. To learn a new foreign language may seem a challenging task, but there are certain tricks to make it easier.
To learn a foreign language means something different than just recognizing what each word in a book means. Every language has a unique, individual cultural heritage that dates back in time. Learning the ways and customs of the target language can be of immense help and is often considered to be the first stage of learning. When an aspiring language learner is starting out, it would be great to find a movie in the target language and take notes of the numerous new words, sounds and intonation. Below are five excellent tips for any language learner, but first, it’s important to remember that persistence and diligence always pay off.
One of the most effective strategies in language learning is setting goals. By setting concrete goals, you reward yourself as you move forward, which provides a gratifying experience and makes language learning more satisfying. It creates new incentives and motivates you to push on. Examples of goal setting include doing grammar exercises or learning a fixed amount of new words every day. There are plenty of free language tests online, which is also a great idea. Such tasks keep you accountable while keeping you on track. Setting goals as you reach important milestones is the real way to make the whole language learning experience rewarding and fun.
By creating associations between words, you can improve your language learning by a large margin. This is a very effective technique because when people use associations, that allows them to recall things much faster and retain important information in memory longer. This is also called aided cues, because you recall things on cue. Take the Japanese phrase “moshi moshi”, for example, meaning “hello”. If you vividly imagine hearing it when another person says hello, you have a simple word association. The effect can be made even stronger by associating foreign words with familiar English words.
LEARN THE RIGHT WORDS
For learning a new language, it is commonly advised to learn a set of so called “right words”. It might seem that there are no right and wrong words because every word is necessary and plays a role. However, one can outline a selection of the most frequently mentioned words that you’re most likely to come across when reading a text. For example, just 100 English words make up almost a half of any text, and 1000 words cover 90% of it. By learning the top 400-700 of your target language you ensure that you’re learning the most popular, commonly occurred words.
KEEP ON PRACTICING
They say that “practice makes perfect”, which is as relevant in language learning as anywhere else. It is a very significant factor and, in large part, a determinant of one’s success, because without practice it is impossible to truly learn a foreign language. If you’re lucky enough to reside in the country of your target language, then this is a golden opportunity that should not go wasted. It’s important to never be shy and use every opportunity to exchange a few words with strangers.
USE THE INTERNET
The internet offers plenty of opportunities to practice your target language, a luxury that did not exist in the past. Moreover, it’s not at all expensive and comes basically at no cost. Social media platforms and messengers, forums, chatrooms, all of this is at your disposal. There are even special platforms for language learners where you can communicate with foreigners using the video chat. Another great idea is to take advantage of the abundant media content available online, searching for children’s cartoons in your target language, for example. This simple method is incredibly effective for familiarizing yourself with a new language in a fun way. If they’re supplied with subtitles, you can practice not only listening, but also reading.