Updated: Oct 29, 2018
Learning a new language may seem daunting to most people. My students get started taking classes but often ask what else they can do to keep learning in between lessons with me. Sometimes, they need to take breaks from lessons and want to continue learning on their own. So I've got five tricks you need to know to get you jump started learning a new language today.
1. Put yourself in situations where you have to speak your target language.
This can mean traveling to a destination where your target language is spoken. Or it can mean going to a restaurant that serves food from that country and has people who work there that speak your target language. Then you can at least practice ordering food in your target language.
2. Find a native speaker to practice with.
You could Join a meetup where you meet other people who speak the target language. You could also do a language exchange where you practice your target language half the time and the other person’s target language half the time.
3. Find a teacher who offers private or group classes that are easy for you to access.
Many of my students take lessons with me because I'm conveniently located on their way home from work. They don't have to go far to take a class. Finding a teacher who works with your schedule makes it much easier to take classes. A few of my Spanish students are nurses in a hospital, so they have irregular schedules and need flexibility each week to move around their lessons to fit their schedule.
4. Watch TV programs or movies in your target language with the subtitles on.
This is great for learning how native speakers actually speak, including idioms and slang that natives actually speak. Basic students should use subtitles in their native language so they can hear the words being spoke in their target language but catch common words being spoken. More advanced students should put on the subtitles in the original language being spoken to learn both vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation all in one.
5. Listen to music in your target language.
Listening to music in the car or at home makes for a terrific, and catchy, way to pick up on commonly used words. Many students remember certain chorus lines. Here in San Diego, we can listen to radio stations from Tijuana that play music en español. Spotify is another great way to listen to music in your target language. Spotify will start developing playlists for you based on the music you enjoy listening to, so you don't have to always hunt for the music yourself.
You can view more ideas in my video.
Now are you ready to get started speaking your target language? It's not as hard as it seems thanks to these five tricks to jump start your learning!