Learning a new language can feel intimidating. Unless you majored in a foreign language in college, you probably don’t remember much of what you learned in high school language classes. Sadly, I didn’t retain anything from my French days. It was made very apparent when I visited Paris just three years after high school and couldn’t remember anything other than “bonjour” and “oui”.
As an adult, you may think it’s too late to pick-up a new language, but with these helpful tips, it is not only a possibility but an enjoyable and enriching experience, too!
WHY I DECIDED TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
One of my favorite hobbies is researching my ancestry. I have a lot of German roots and this prompted me to pick up learning a new language. You guessed it – Deutsch! Although I do find speaking and pronunciation to be a bit of a challenge, I have made huge strides in my ability to read, write, and understand German. Check out my tips below and start learning a new language today!
TIPS FOR LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE
- DOWNLOAD AN APP | I love Busuu because its easy to use and teaches you conversational German. Babbel and Rosetta Stone both have great reviews, too! If you’re looking for a free option, Duolingo, is quite popular – although the lessons aren’t as “real world” as the others. All of these options have web and app versions. You can’t go wrong with any of them, try them out and see which one works best for you!
- JOIN A CLUB | Meeting and mingling with others who are learning the language is a great way to practice your conversational skills! You may even meet some people who are fluent! Check-out the class schedule at your local recreation center (I take classes at the senior center 😂, but seriously). Or, look into sites like Meet Up for groups in your area.
- READ BOOKS | Find books you have read in English or start with a children’s grade-school level book. André Klein has great books for German leaners. Amazon has many options is various languages, like these books for French.
- LISTEN TO PODCASTS | Coffee Break German is a favorite of mine. They offer multiple language options and really make the podcast experience interactive!
- YOUTUBE | Head to YouTube and search for shows in your new language, there are so many free options. Plus, they’re usually under 10 minutes long, nice and quick!
- WATCH A MOVIE | Check Netflix and Amazon for foreign movies or TV series in their native language. Watch it in their native language with subtitles to help you follow along. Your local library can also be a great resource!
- TUTOR| A quick Google search will provide tutors for every language you can imagine. Look for someone who offers virtual lessons to broaden your options!
- POST-ITS | Write common sentences on post-its and place them around your home. Example: Place post-its relating to food/cooking/eating around your kitchen.
- WRITE | After completing a lesson (book/podcast, etc), write down everything you can remember from that lesson. Keep a notebook handy and make it a habit to do this each time you practice your new language.
- FLASH CARDS | This one brings me back to high school French. Writing difficult words or phrases on flashcards is an easy way to quiz yourself.
- STUDY ABROAD | This one isn’t possible for everyone. But if you have the opportunity to immerse yourself into a local setting where your new language is exclusively spoken, you’ll be able to improve your pronunciation and learn the local dialect.
- PRACTICE | Practice EVERY DAY! The more time you put into immersing yourself into your new language, the more you will learn. Set aside 5-10 minutes each day. You’ll be amazed how quickly you catch on when you practice regularly!
Most importantly, don’t give up! It does take time and it may feel overwhelming in the beginning. Over time you will begin to catch on, and once you do, it’s really exciting.