At La Paz Language Academy, we know that even with top quality instruction from the teachers at our online language school, learning a new language is never easy. However, there are some strategies you can use to make the process a little simpler. Here are a few language learning tips to help you pick up that new language a little quicker:
1) Conversation Is Key!
If there’s one strategy you focus on above all else, working through conversations with people fluent in your language of study should be it. Conversation is the best way to pick up a new language, as even just one hour of conversation can help you as much as five hours in class.
There are two key reasons why conversation is such an effective strategy for learning a language. Primarily, conversation is motivating! No matter how cool the curriculum at our online language school is, you’re going to be more motivated to practice and learn when talking with someone fluent in your target language.
The other reason is that language needs to be processed, not memorized, in order to be retained. Words and grammar rules stick far better when you have to use them in conversation than if you read them in a textbook. That’s why conversational practice is such a large part of our instruction at La Paz!
2) Figure Out Pronunciation Patterns
Recognizing patterns in pronunciation across different languages is a great way to expand your vocabulary and become a more confident speaker of your language of study. You might notice, for instance, that any words that end in “-tion” in English end in “-ción” in Spanish. These patterns can be found in many Latin-based languages.
3) Don’t Be Afraid Of Making Mistakes
Look, you’re going to stumble in conversation and occasionally say silly things as you learn a language for the first time. Everyone does it, so don’t let that stop you from engaging in conversation in your language of study with confidence! AT La Paz Language Academy, we foster an environment of non-judgmental support in our online language classes. We’re all learning together, and we all make mistakes and grow from them together.
4) Opt For Longer Study Sessions, Not More Sessions
Studies have shown that people learn a language more effectively when they study more intensely, as opposed to spreading out their language learning into shorter sessions over a longer period of time. So for example, studying a language for two to three hours a day for a few weeks will be more helpful for you than studying for an hour a day for a few months.
But why? Language requires intense study because of the need for repetition and consistency in order to internalize and process the new vocabulary and grammar rules.
We structure our online language classes into condensed time frames specifically because it’s more effective for our students to learn this way. Why spend money on language classes for a longer time and retain less when you can become a more fluent speaker by investing in intensive language study over a shorter time period?
5) Focus On Common Words And Getting Conversational
Expanding your vocabulary is a great goal, but it overcomplicates your learning if your goal is to become conversational in your language of study quickly. Researchers have found that 50% of spoken communication in any language involves the 100 most common words in that particular language. Expand your list to the 3,000 most common words, and you account for 99% of spoken communication in any language. Focusing on the most common words and phrases will help you become conversational more quickly, and make it easier to pick up new vocabulary later on.
6) Learn How To Ask, “How Do You Say (x)?”
Asking speakers of your language of study how to say certain things is the most important phrase for you to learn. Memorize it and use it often! Don’t be shy, people will understand that you’re learning and doing your best.
7) Supplement Your Practice With Media And Reading
TV, movies, and written articles in your language of study are a great way to supplement your learning and expand your vocabulary. You shouldn’t seek to have media replace your learning or your conversational practice, but it can be a great way to keep you engaged in study and learn more about the culture(s) that speak your language of study.
We incorporate cultural instruction into our curriculum, at La Paz for this very reason, to keep you engaged in learning and to broaden your knowledge of the place or places in which your language of study is spoken.
8) Practice With Other Language Students Or Fluent Speakers
Conversation is key to learning a new language, and a great way to learn without feeling awkward is to practice with other language students! At La Paz Language Academy, we incorporate a lot of conversational practice with your classmates into our instruction. There are also several sites online, such as Bilingua, in which you can exchange practice time in your language of study with native speakers of your language of study that are looking to practice speaking in English.
9) Private Instruction Is Best
It may be more of an investment than a free language app or a textbook, but private tutoring really is the most efficient way to learn a new language quickly. At La Paz Language Academy, we’ve become one of the top online language schools thanks to our commitment to small class sizes and personalized learning support from fully accredited instructors. Visit our website today to learn more and choose courses in more than 20 languages!