Tips for Learning a Second Language

by Daniel Kjaer

You have, for the most part, mastered the English language. You’re able to effectively communicate just about anything you’re thinking, and you can read and write. Why stop there? Once you’ve mastered one language, why not work on learning another? Learning a second language is beneficial in so many ways. It enhances your overall cognitive abilities, increases your exposure to culture and diversity, and even helps you improve your English. Learning a second language seems intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Anyone is capable of it. With determination and effort, you can learn a second language. When you decide to take on the challenge, here are some tips that will help you.

Use a Variety of Study Materials

There are many programs and books that can help you learn a language, and one way is not necessarily better than another. It’s all about personal preference. To give yourself a well-rounded way of learning a language, use a variety of methods and study materials rather than sticking to just one. A textbook, a dictionary, a software program, flash cards – all of these can help you better together than alone.

Study Every Day

Learning a language is acquiring a new skill, and you have to practice at it every day. The more you review your lessons and practice, the better and faster you will learn. It’s a good idea to set aside some time every single day to study, even if it’s just for half an hour. A half hour of studying a day will be more effective than four hours of studying once a week, so be consistent.

Learn the Foundations

It’s important to learn general grammatical concepts and proper pronunciation before you begin learning a ton of vocabulary. If you have a general understanding of how sentences are constructed in the new language, it will help you learn everything else. You’ll comprehend rather than just memorize.

Learn What Interests You

As you begin practicing vocabulary and verbs, concentrate first on subjects that interest you. If you have particular hobbies or interests, learn to talk about those in your new language first. You’ll remember them more easily, and you’ll be better prepared to learn everything else.

Read, Write, and Listen

You can’t learn a language just by saying things out loud. You have to expose yourself to it in many different ways. Practice reading in your new language, practice writing sentences and stories, and listen to native speakers. You can find videos or podcasts in any language online.

Don’t Worry about Mistakes

Don’t think that everything you’re doing has to be perfect. Practice speaking out loud even if you’re afraid of making a mistake. Mistakes help you learn. Also, it’s more important to get your point across than to be 100 percent grammatically correct. The more you practice, the fewer mistakes you’ll make.

Find a Study Buddy

It’s a great idea to study and practice with a friend. You’ll help each other learn, and you’ll have fun. If you know someone who is a native speaker, ask them to study with you occasionally so they can help you learn, too.

Photo Credit: dnnya17

This post was written by Daniel Kjaer

Daniel Kjaer is a danish-born writer and linguistics expert who knows the rigors and benefits of learning alternate languages. He even had to enroll in accent reduction courses to perfect his English and he often encourages others to do the same.

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