5 tips to learn any language easily
Hello and Bienvenue!
The key was to not treat it like occasional classes but to make it a part of my life.
Since I was 14, I've had classes of Spanish. I liked it the first 2 years then somehow gave up. Except that, by a lack of choice, I had to pursue it until the end of my licence in college. So that's a total of 8 years of Spanish. I still do OK now.
Then, 3 years ago, I decided to move to Malaysia and wanted to talk Malay. I read that it was one of the simplest languages there is to learn. The lack of grammar, conjugation, tense etc. makes it very simple. On paper. Since then, I have been a slow learner. See, I don't have classes of Malay. I have several books and whenever I use one of the sentences in them, my husband says it's inaccurate and that nobody would understand what the hell I meant by speaking "like that". I'm not a fan of the music of their tv programs, and whenever I talk to someone in Malay, they show off their English. I'm not giving up, simply, I think it's not a matter of life or death, so I now take my time.
Finally, there's Catalan. Catalan is the first language I chose to study without any pressure to do so. Maybe a little though. My family is Catalan on my mother's side and I always wanted to speak it. I have no difficulty understanding it, because I've heard it my whole life, but I have the most terrible accent they've heard... Here, I'm also a bit limited in my options, since there aren't that many movies or songs to listen to, but, I'm lucky I have found some pretty good resources online.
Now, what's the key to master a language?
Time. And how you use it.
1) Be committed.
If you choose to learn a language and took that decision on your own, then stick to it. If you had no choice, well, make the best of it. No one likes to say "I studied .... for that long and I don't remember a word of it. Just don't.
2) Dive into it.
In the last hour before a Spanish exam in college I had one ritual: listen to as many Spanish songs as I could. Because at some point, you know your stuff or you don't and I chose to spend the last few minutes before getting my Spanish "on". Just like an athlete needs a warm up, you need to tiptoe before diving in completely.
3) Create a routine.
I've tried absolutely everything because I have a hard time learning anything by heart. So, I decorated my apartment with lists of vocabulary, listen to my own recordings of that list any free minute I had, (in the bus...). I made sure that my conscious AND subconscious were working on it.
4) Find your people.
Whatever language you're learning, and anywhere you are, you can find a person or a group to exchange with. Put an add or check if anyone is interested in it. Nobody? Ask your friends if they know somehow and chat over Facebook. Still no one? Well, time to check out some pen pal websites. You are NOT alone.
5) Be curious.
Like, all the time; to learn, you can't afford to be shy, or lazy and think "I'll learn that later". Nope. Look around you and write down what you see and want to know. No matter how simple. Can you say "wall" or "window"? Then write it down and look for its definition. You can also prepare a list of sentences you think you will need and submit it to your friend or teacher to help you find the most accurate way to translate it.
Any tips you'd like to share?