So, you are looking forward to studying in Spain, going on a road trip in the United States or spending a summer surfing in Hawaii and, to make sure you get the most out of your experience, you have decided to take a few lessons too. of language. As you sit in the classroom memorizing new words you will probably think “I’ll never make it.” Trust us, we understand you. Learning a language isn’t as easy as making a cup of coffee, but it’s not impossible either. In fact, here are 4 simple methods that will help you speak a new language faster.
Now, like all important things, learning a language takes effort. So remember: these techniques are not shortcuts or tricks. But they are effective. To know how much, you just have to commit to using them. Ready?
- TALK TO REAL PEOPLE
Since we started spending our days with our electronic devices in hand, we have become convinced that everything can be taught, learned and practiced without personal interaction. Do you want a master’s degree? Take an online course. Do you need a good recipe? Search on Google. Do you want to learn a foreign language? Choose an app. It is true that the internet can help language learners broaden their vocabulary and gain confidence in their skills, but if you don’t program it or say a word, it’s useless. You need to speak to native speakers (as soon as possible!)
Now, before you give up your travel plans abroad: don’t worry. Talking to foreigners doesn’t have to be scary or difficult. Try to find someone to chat with, a language exchange partner in your city and chat while having a coffee, for example, or taking an online course. If you want to combine a new and exciting experience with the study of a language, go abroad to really live it. Whatever you do, begin before you feel “ready”. Remember, languages are meant to be spoken.
- USE THE NEW WORDS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Many language learners conscientiously write lists of new words in their notebooks, but only to never use them in real life. While writing down new words is an excellent habit, it is not enough on its own. As they say, every left over is lost! So the next time you hear an unusual word, don’t just write it down – make the effort to use it as soon as possible and in as many ways as possible. Say it, write it in a sentence, find the form of the noun, verb or adjective and ask your native speaker friends for more information. This way you will have a concrete context for the new word, which will stay etched in your mind faster!
- ASK MANY QUESTIONS
Do not be shy and obsessive in taking notes from the back of the classroom: teachers appreciate students who ask good questions! Don’t know what to ask for? Write a list of general questions at the bottom of your notebook and use them in class. Remember, the best questions are those to get more information or to clarify a doubt.
Some of the best are “What is the noun/verb / adjective that comes from this word?” “Is this a word used in a formal or informal context?” “What synonyms/antonyms do you recommend?” or (if the language you are studying is spoken in several countries) “Does this word mean the same in Chile / Spain / Honduras?”. If you are not attending any language lessons, don’t worry! Post your questions on a forum, search Google or ask your native speaker friends to help you.
- START WITH WHAT YOU REALLY NEED
Imagine that you have just landed in Madrid, ready to start your semester abroad and talk to real Spaniards. Think about what your conversations are likely to be like. We bet you will not immediately throw yourself into deep and profound discussions on art or politics, right? To start off on the right foot during the first days and weeks abroad, think about the situations in which you will find yourself more easily. For example: I am lost (topics: moving around the city, public transport, visiting the city). I’m hungry (themes: order food, go to the supermarket). I want to meet new friends (topics: asking personal questions, talking about family and friends). Once you have identified the vocabulary you need, focus your energies on that. Your experience will be much simpler!