Humans are born with language instincts. Our brain is naturally bound to language. The brain has the ability to process complicated information from sound, movement, and context, and the capacity of this language will expand throughout life. That is, you can learn any language, at any time.
No need to bother the destination country to be able to learn the language. Today, the Internet is filled with language learning tools, such as apps, translators, online flashcards, and ebooks. Many of these facilities you can get for free. Now, just leave everything back to yourself to harvest all these conveniences. You live in an age where education and information are at your fingertips.
Tips to facilitate learning a foreign language
However, learning more than one language at a time requires careful planning and accurate strategies. Unlike exact science, there is no universal method for learning a language. Below we provide tips and tricks that can make it easier for you to learn many foreign languages.
1. Learn the right vocabulary in the right way
Vocabulary is the most common obstacle in learning a language and the one that often makes people give up before actually starting.
In fact, the main key for proficient foreign language is to get closer to familiar words and often used in everyday conversation. Find out what vocabulary and phrases are most commonly used by the people when speaking – move them into your own homemade notes or use applications, such as the Anki app that you can download – and learn regularly with a futures repetition strategy that increases gradually (once a day , once every two days, four, eight, etc.)
Or, you can use your favorite reading books when children (whom you understand well about the storyline) – Snow White or Pinocchio, for example – in the language versions you learn and your mother tongue (for example, the Indonesian version, England, Germany, and France).
This will allow you to be able to translate foreign languages line by line and easily describe how sentences and grammar of a language are built. You can also refer to the Indonesian language version when you want to review your understanding from time to time.
2. The importance of variation
Having a variety of learning activities is very important to avoid boredom. Although repetition is at the core of the learning process, methods that are too mechanical can bore you. There are three types of variations
- Material variations: The diversity of learning materials can keep you motivated. At first, you can use one type of material – a theory book, for example – and then quickly switch to another method, such as interactive language games. That way, you can find some aspects of learning resources that are interesting and effective for you, while others don’t.
- Variation of activities: Reading and listening are two very useful activities to be able to master the language, but these two methods are not the only ones. The more varied your approach to languages – such as training conversations with friends, coaches, or indigenous people who use the language, or using pictures – is getting better. It’s important to be involved in activities that aim to sharpen the language in the brain while keeping you motivated.
- Position variation: Maybe you will be a little surprised to learn that body position and how we move plays an important role in learning. In other words, the position of the body has an impact on concentration, which also affects your ability to store your information. So, don’t just sit still! Try listening to a German course podcast or Mandarin radio when you jog in the afternoon or read an Italian newspaper online while lying down?
3. Look for relationships with each other
When learning a foreign language, you already know a few basic words without realizing it.
In addition, the languages of European countries such as France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and others – even some vocabulary in Japanese and Korean – have many words in common with English which indicate that they have the same etymology. For example:
Prancis: the arm
Italy: the arm
Spanyol: the arm
Prancis: the fever
France: la langue
Italy: the language
Spanyol: the tongue
In addition, “action”, “nation”, “precipitation”, “solution”, “frustration”, “tradition”, “communication”, “extinction”, and other English words ending in -tion spelled exactly the same in French (although pronounced differently). You can simply change “-tion” with “-ción” (Spanish), “-zione” (Italian), or “-ção” (Portuguese).
4. Expand vocabulary list with mnemonic
Memorization and repetition will indeed carve sharp memories of new vocabulary that is important for you to learn. However, it’s not impossible for you to forget occasionally.
To get around this momentary senility, you can use the mnemonic method for a number of important words. Mnemonics can help you tap these words into your mind more effectively. Basically, mnemonics are a method of describing unique visual narratives that you can associate with the words you want to remember. For example, you are learning Spanish and having trouble remembering the verb “caber” means “to fit (to fit)”. You can fabricate a visual narrative in your brain, a large bear (pinched) in the cab window that sped on the street.
Or, “sausage” in German which means “wiener”. You can imagine someone on the podium after winning the sausage eating contest.
This association (caber -> cab, bear -> load an egg in a taxi) will make it easier for you. Maybe it will sound difficult at first, but practice this association several times and you will be able to realize how silly and easy to visualize this visualization can be very effective. So over time, you don’t need to use this method to remember foreign vocabulary.
5. Maintain the quality and quantity of learning
Learning languages must be a lot of obstacles, and many aspects of the language can whittle someone’s guts. So, especially at the beginning of learning, it is important to prioritize quality in order to build a strong foundation, where later we can expand our knowledge in a language. It is important to focus on small portions of material and study them thoroughly from the beginning until you really understand.
Here are some practical rules that you can make guidelines:
- Understand short and superficial language texts or units first. Long text or dialogue can cause you to be easily distracted.
- Study 1-3 times a day, regularly in fair time sharing (for example, every 4 hours).
- Arm yourself with various skills. For example, when studying grammar units “simple tense”, learn from a different perspective (read, talk, listen).
- Schedule your study period effectively. Avoid learning at risky times for you to be distracted – if you are easily drowsy in the afternoon and easier to be inspired in the middle of the night, why not exchange your schedule occasionally?
- Focus on learning time. Thirty minutes of a one-language intensive study period is 10 times more effective than two-hour “multitasking” for two languages at once (or working on a language unit that you think is boring or too difficult).
6. Don’t be afraid to talk
One way to gain the fluency of a foreign language is a lot of practice exercises.
As you progress, dedicate at least 30-60 minutes to speaking only in foreign languages - German, for example – and keep adjusting your study time to ensure that your conversation skills are honed, not just general knowledge about the language through ‘formal’ vocabulary lists. You may never use it in daily dialogue.
For example, create a session where you can ask how the weekend ‘Caucasians’ are native speakers or your language teacher in that language, and afterward also tell how your weekends are going. You can add some ideas that you might be thinking or about one other general topic, or you can let your opponent start a new topic. It’s important to take an active role and make sure you have varied conversations.
Make a list of topics that you want to discuss and share (hobbies, latest films, ideals, vacation plans, etc.) and make sure that the conversation can continue to flow.
7. Commitment and consistency
Learning a foreign language is a fairly complex and ongoing process. It is important to do the right thing at the right time and make sure that it is right for you. If you don’t have a strong reason to learn languages, you will be very likely to run out of motivation in the middle of the road. No matter what your reasons are, once you have determined the intention to learn one language, be committed and consistent in living it.
Adapt ways to learn according to your current language level. Some things will look very interesting at first but turn boring later. Some others are fairly difficult to understand at the beginning, and not so effective to do but will get easier with time.
For example, listening to the radio on level 1 will not be of much use, but it will be very useful at level 2-3 when your listening ability is far more developed. Consistent with your level and interest in learning is the key to optimizing your language learning understanding.