Basics of Learning a New Language: 7 Tips & Tricks to Help You Learn Any Language Efficiently

Basics of Learning a New Language: 7 Tips & Tricks to Help You Learn Any Language Efficiently

Have you ever regretted not learning the basics of the language of a country you’ve visited?

You’re not the only one.

If you want to make excuses and say that you’re not a natural talent when talking about learning languages, or that it takes you twice as much time as an average person, don’t bother doing it.

Don’t make excuses, make progress. 

No matter if you have only 30 minutes a day to practice the language or one month, on the whole, you can learn the basics. The point is that you have the right attitude, give your best effort, and use the right learning tools and resources.

How to overcome the difficulties of learning a second language and what are the tips and tricks can help you learn the basics of any language, find out in the following lines. 

So, let’s get started.

How to Learn a New Language: 7 Tips And Tricks to Help You Learn the Basics of a New Language

The following tips are proven to be efficient. Even polyglots use these ways to learn languages, so why shouldn’t we ordinary people do the same?

Be Realistic About Your Goals

Before you start learning, you have to set your goals.

What does that mean?

When they start learning a language, many people expect too much from themselves. That is a mistake because often, if not always, many of them don’t meet their own expectations, which leads to disappointment, and these people often quit studying and practicing the language.

So, before you enter the world of languages, don’t take too much at the beginning. 30 minutes a day, for example, in the beginning, is a reasonable time.

Let us suppose that you have a deadline of two months before visiting the country. Organize your days and weeks. Find useful resources and learn useful phrases. And how to do that, read the next tip.

Learn Useful Words And Phrases

If you start learning the language from zero, first, you have to sort which words and expressions you are going to use in conversations.

How long does it take to learn a language depends on many things but learning it effectively is essential.

In almost any language, around 1000 words and phrases are the most commonly used ones. Therefore, focus on learning those expressions. Greetings, introduction, how to start a conversation, asking about directions or help are some of the basic phrases to learn in any language. 

Or better, make a list of the words and phrases you will use, such as the food you like, favorite books or paintings, or words and expressions about pets.

If you have a specific goal to learn the language, avoid learning words and phrases which is unlikely that you will use them. You’ll spend your precious time learning expressions you don’t need, and you won’t have time to focus on relevant and useful phrases.

Learn Cognates to Save Your Time

Cognates are words that have the same or similar meanings in two different languages.

Many languages have a long list of cognates. Japanese, for example, has many loanwords from English. 

Words in English that end in -tion, such as education, nation, or communication, in Spanish end in -ción (educación, nación, communicación), and in Italian, they end in -zione, as educazione, nazione, communicazione.

How can you find cognates?

Use the advantage of technology. Search cognates in your target and native languages, and you’ll easily find the list.

If you want to learn Spanish, take a look at this list of English-Spanish cognates. Should you decide to learn German or Japanese, here are some German words we use in English every day, that is English-Japanese cognates.

Practice the Language With Native Speakers

Even though every part of language is equally important, we all learn the language so that we can speak with natives.

In this case, practicing to speak the language is more essential than learning to read or memorizing grammar rules. 

One of the most efficient ways to improve your speaking skills is to practice with native speakers. 

Use Mnemonics to Build Your Vocabulary

Mnemonic is every image, event, or story you associate with a particular word or phrase.

Using mnemonics to memorize unknown words and phrases that have nothing in common with English or your native language is one of the tricks to remember them fast.

To some of you, it may sound weird but it’s actually pretty efficient.

Let’s say that you are a German learner. We all know how challenging German words can be. If you find it difficult to remember the word ‘aufgeben,’ in the meaning ‘to give up,’ for example, use mnemonic. The word consists of ‘auf’ and ‘geben.’ The prefix ‘auf’ sounds similar to ‘ouch.’ The word ‘geben’ means ‘to give.’ So, imagine that you start running in a street that ends in a hill. Half the way you become more and more tired until that point when your muscles basically hurt so you have to say ‘ouch.’ It hurts so bad that you have to give up, that is, ‘aufgeben.’

This is just one example of how mnemonics should work. Anyone has his own logic and image associations so what makes us recall a word, doesn’t mean it will work with you. So, you have to create them by yourself, so that they can work the moment you need to use those words and phrases.

Practice The Language Every Day

Today, there are many different and entertaining ways to practice the language. Starting from free websites and mobile apps to fun ways of learning a language with tv shows, movies, or songs.

No matter which methods of learning a language you use, the point is to practice every day.

There are days when you don’t feel like studying. Try watching movies in your target language. Or gather friends, get some snacks and drinks, and learn the language by playing games.

When you don’t know where to start because the day is too short and you have so many things on your mind, turn on the radio or listen to podcasts while cleaning, cooking, or doing the dishes.

 If you want to take off your mind from learning, read casual blogs about languages.

Even if you aren’t aware that you are learning, your brain memorizes all the things concerning the language.

As you see, there are many solutions to keep your brain active even if you don’t feel like studying. According to your needs and mood, you can choose whatever suits you at the moment.

Making Mistakes Isn’t So Bad

It is entirely normal, especially when you start learning a language, that you will make mistakes.

It isn’t so bad and you don’t have to be afraid.

Making mistakes means that you are trying to give the correct answer or to say something. When the other side corrects you, don’t look like a complete failure. Look at that as a lesson on what not to do or how not to say from that moment on.

And even if you make the same mistake, it won’t be the end of the world, especially when speaking with native speakers. No matter the language, any native speaker fully respects when another person wants to learn their native language, and they will appreciate every effort you make. If they understand what you are trying to say, then everything is okay.

Don’t be obsessed that you have to be perfect, especially when you have a tight deadline to learn the language.

Final Thoughts

Learning a new language is never easy. On the other hand, it isn’t impossible.

Depending on your goals and fluency level you want to achieve, learning the language can take years, that is months, sometimes even weeks.

You have to be specific for what reason you want to learn the language, and according to that, to aim at your goal.

Learning the basics of the language not only gives you the possibility to communicate with native speakers but also to see whether you want to learn something more and achieve a higher level of proficiency that can lead to fluency.

Ready to enhance your language proficiency? Here are some excellent options for online education: Start with Babbel for engaging, well-structured lessons that are designed to be both enjoyable and easy to incorporate into your everyday life, helping you progress quickly in language acquisition. If you're seeking comprehensive language training, Udemy’s extensive courses range from fundamental to advanced topics. For those who prefer a tailored approach, Preply offers the chance to interact with native speakers, greatly improving your speaking skills. Enjoy a 50% discount on your first Preply session by using this link.

What are the basics of learning a foreign language?

Be Realistic About Your Goals, Learn Useful Words And Phrases, Learn Cognates to Save Your Time, Practice the Language With Native Speakers, Use Mnemonics to Build Your Vocabulary, Practice The Language Every Day, Making Mistakes Isn’t So Bad

How to learn words and phrases?

If you start learning the language from zero, first, you have to sort which words and expressions you are going to use in conversations. How long does it take to learn a language depends on many things but learning it effectively is essential. In almost any language, around 1000 words and phrases are the most commonly used ones. Therefore, focus on learning those expressions. Greetings, introduction, how to start a conversation, asking about directions or help are some of the basic phrases to learn in any language. Or better, make a list of the words and phrases you will use, such as the food you like, favorite books or paintings, or words and expressions about pets.

What's the best way to practice speaking skills?

Practice the Language With Native Speakers Even though every part of language is equally important, we all learn the language so that we can speak with natives. In this case, practicing to speak the language is more essential than learning to read or memorizing grammar rules. One of the most efficient ways to improve your speaking skills is to practice with native speakers.

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