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7 Language Learning Strategies

Learning a new language or improving the one you already speak is a different experience for everyone. Some people find learning a new language a piece of cake while others really struggle to grasp the basics. Studies have shown that women are prone to acquire a new language faster and easier. However, in my opinion (and personal experience) if you are willing and motivated to learn something you will, no matter if you are male or female. In this article, I will reveal some very useful language learning tactics that will help you get on the right path of this process.

Learning a language

Define your level!

This applies to those who have minimum knowledge of the target language. Take a test (there are a lot of online tests that will point out your language level). Once you define your level you will be able to enrol in an appropriate course. If you want to know more about different levels and what they mean, read our article explaining CEFR and IELTS levels and what you should be able to achieve at each level.

Don’t skip lessons.

According to me, learning a new language is something like building a house. You cannot build a house without a strong foundation. The same applies to language learning. So start from the beginning and attend every lecture regularly to build a solid base.

Write and imitate.

Writing something will help you memorize what you need to know. Furthermore, try to read out loud while you are writing, making an effort to sound more like a native speaker; thus imitate the accent of the target language.

Record yourself.

When you read an article or even when you work on some exercises from your student book, read it out loud and record yourself while you are reading. After you're finished, play the recording and pay attention to how you read. How is your accent and intonation? Your pronunciation? Try to find your mistakes (if there are any) and when you read the text the next time, correct them. Do this every possible chance you get and you will see the improvement yourself!

Listen to the target language.

The best way to learn a language is to listen to it. I would suggest watching movies with subtitles from the target language, if subtitles are not available, try the closed captioning settings for hard of hearing. This is an effective method to learn and understand word order, accent, spelling and pronunciation in your target language. When you hear or read something you don’t understand, just jot it down on a piece of paper and consult your dictionary. After a couple of watched movies, you will notice that you read the subtitles less and you are just listening. Another tip that I would add here is not to rely on lyrics from songs because oftentimes they use a lot of slang and are grammatically incorrect!

Never be afraid to make mistakes.

So you are learning a new language and stumble upon a native speaker of the same language. You want to talk to that person but you are afraid that you will make mistakes and sound ridiculous. Don’t do this to yourself and don’t be afraid. You learn from your mistakes. The best way to learn something is by making a mistake. Once you are corrected you won’t make the same mistake again.

Go abroad!

If you have a chance, visit the county of your target language. Don’t worry if the first couple of days you don’t understand anything. Let your ears adapt to the new language. Furthermore, pick a place where your native language is not spoken. You will be forced to speak the local language and thus you will have to learn it through total immersion. You won’t believe how easy it will be for you to catch on to the new language.

Damian breen
Damian Breen Managing Director

Damian spent some 22 years living and working in various different countries in Africa and the Middle East, for several different leading international airlines, in senior country and regional manager roles.