How to Learn a New Language and Get Started Today

how to learn a new language

Without a doubt, being bilingual or multilingual has many benefits whether that's being able to visit new places and meeting new people and speaking the local language to making your CV stand out and consequently having more chances of getting hired. Plus, according to Alzheimer’s Research UK, studies have shown that people who are bilingual show symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia later in life than those who speak only one language.

Whether you have a tutor or you are learning independently using online and other resources, here are some tips on how to learn a new language easily.

Learning is not a spectator sport

By watching or listening to someone speaking the language, you are just spectating and it will never lead you to becoming an expert. You need to go to the field and play the sport yourself! Interaction is the key. It would be beneficial to go to a language meetup (there are many meetups in London for foreign languages where both natives and people who are learning the language chat and exchange ideas) or even better, visit the country itself. However, at the moment due to the COVID-19, it would be best to use a language exchange app or practise with a friend who is native of the language you're learning or consider finding a pen pal.

Consider getting physical (or offline) material

If you are learning by yourself using online material, you can notice that sometimes free resources are not tailored specifically to you or your needs. If you are able to, why not considering buying a book which will have a guide for your level. It will make learning more systematic.

Consume contents without subs

Being a self-learner, you will need to learn from the native speakers which you can find online. Watch movies, YouTube videos, or search for other platforms with related content. However, do not enable subtitles as your brain is not learning the new language, but rather learning to read in your native language at a much faster pace than usual.

Play with the new language

A fun way to get to know the new language better is to play games. I would suggest labelling every object in your home in the language you're learning or better yet, read children’s books written in that language. The more you use a foreign language in your daily life, the more your brain will think of it as something useful and something worth caring about.

Set SMART goals

Another way on how to learn a new language is to track your progress using SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) as you can track your own progress. According to the Corporate Finance Institute, a SMART goal incorporates all of the criteria mentioned to help focus your efforts and increase the chances of achieving your goal. No teacher or tutor can lead you to your destination. Keep in mind that it's best to track your progress every week on how far you have come in terms of your goal.

According to the Corporate Finance Institute, here are details about what a SMART goal constitutes which can be used across all areas of your life from your professional to personal goals:

  • Specific: To make a goal more specific, ask yourself the 5 'W' questions (Who, What, Where, When, Why)

  • Measurable: Set yourself criteria for measuring progress

  • Achievable: A goal must be attainable but, at the same time, it should be stretched to make you feel positively challenged

  • Realistic: A goal should be realistic; achievable given the available resources and time

  • Timely: Decide a start and finish date. If your goal has no deadline, there will be no sense of urgency which equals less motivation to achieve your goal.

About Maria Peftouloglou

A creative multilingual Fashion BA graduate with experience in PR, journalism, and graphic design and a passion for writing and travelling.