10 tips for learning a new language quickly.


Finding fun and varied ways to learn a new language or stay engaged with your foreign language is often a challenge. Endlessly doing exercises or studying word lists is less than enjoyable, isn't it? Below, our language coach Kate has 10 tips for you to learn a new language. The biggest tip? Integrate learning a new language into your daily activities.  How to do that, you'll read below!

1. Turn your bad habits into good habits.

Do you ever spend (too) much time with your mobile phone or other device in your hands? Scrolling through social media, or losing yourself in the YouTube 'rabbit hole' where at the end you can't remember how on earth you got to this topic? Find some great pages or videos in the target language. There are bound to be pages, channels, or influencers offering content in your target language on topics that interest you. So no more guilt when you get a notification that you spend an average of 2 hours a day on Instagram. Or when you were only supposed to watch one video and it's already an hour later in the meantime. After all, you are studying!


2. Read your favourite book in another language.

You already know the story, and therefore the characters. You no longer need to concentrate on that. Now you can really let yourself go in the language: learn new vocabulary, discover creative sentence structures, find the translation of funny puns... You will learn a lot while still dreaming away in your favourite world. The same applies to films or series. Try watching a classic film in the target language: you will already be familiar with the story and will find it easier to follow, even if you do not (yet) speak the language. Do you still need subtitles? Then you can also switch those on in the target language. Because subtitles are also a useful learning method to improve your language level.


3. Conduct internal monologues.

We are always having a conversation with ourselves: we think about our day and our to-do list, we prepare a difficult conversation by re-enacting it in our heads... So why not in the other language? Especially when you're behind the wheel, or in the shower. You'll be surprised how creative you are when you don't know a word and can't immediately reach for your phone to look it up. No doubt you'll find another wording. And all without stressing about someone listening in.

4. The power of music. 

There is rhythm in every language, and we also look for that rhythm when we start learning a language. Why? To learn to recognise the pauses between words. Rhythms and melodies help advance our memory, so why not listen to the biggest hits in your target language? Look up some Spotify playlists, put on the biggest earworms that stick around ad nauseam, and let yourself go all the way.

5. Learn about your hobbies. 

Would you like to read authentic recipes to make the very best Italian pasta or Spanish paella? Would you like to use knitting or crochet patterns written in other languages? Perhaps you follow a sports team from abroad and would like to follow local news stories? All great reasons to delve into the specific vocabulary of your own passions. And you might learn new things about a subject you already know so much about. You might even find like-minded people to talk to, and thus you can actively practise your language.  

6. Minimalism in the mother tongue, Beckett-style! 

Samuel Beckett was a writer who wrote mostly in French, and then translated his own works into English (his mother tongue). In his own words, he did this to write in a more 'minimalist' style, without using all the unnecessary florid additions as in his native language. Now you may be wondering, 'yes, fine for Sir Beckett, but why is that useful for me?' Well, maybe you too have ever felt frustrated because you don't express yourself as eloquently in the target language as you do in your mother tongue? Beckett proves that it is not a bad thing at all. Everyone likes short messages and small paragraphs. Especially in a world where we get too many e-mails. So maybe writing in your target language is even better for staying short and concise in your mother tongue too. Give it a try. 

7. Make an appointment with yourself.

Making time is not easy, especially when we are busy. 'I will practise for half an hour every day' is a nice goal, but it is not useful if it never happens. We are all busy professionals; if we don't schedule it, it simply doesn't get done. So take your diary and schedule that half hour. And keep that appointment. It is an appointment with yourself, the most important one there is. 

8. Doing something is not difficult, doing it every day on the other hand...

Keep yourself accountable and schedule not only your first appointment but also all other days in the week/month. Practice makes perfect. Only by continuing to practise and learn will you see results. This is true with sports, music, learning to draw, paint, and therefore also with language. You may not see the benefits of your hard work every day, but patience and regular practice really does reward. 

9. Make your progress measurable in different ways.

Try measuring your progress in different ways to keep you motivated. Keep a list of all the new words you come across, and give each word a green tick if you know what it means or exactly how you use it. Try to reward yourself when you stop making a particular mistake. Compile a list of all the possible things you can measure, and regularly evaluate yourself on all these points. That way, you'll quickly see that things are improving all the time and that you're actually never standing still.


10. Last but not least ... No stress.

These days, it is not easy to find people to practice with. We no longer meet up just like that, and let's be honest, nobody needs any more video calls. It is also not attractive for many people to find a chat-buddy online, so you have to spend even more time behind your screen. Super if you have the energy for that! But, don't stress if you don't. With the tips above, you will definitely see improvement. Your interlocutors will keep themselves better prepared. You will blow their socks off when you can meet them face-to-face again.

What about you? Are you all set to brush up on your language level with one of our language coaches, like Kate?

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