Many of us have previously tried to learn a new language in a traditional classroom, and many of us have not succeeded. Traditional methods of language learning just don’t work! You don’t have to be a genius to become a polyglot; that is, a person who can speak many languages fluently!
Becoming fluent in another language isn’t an easy task! However, there are plenty of ways to make it more fun along the way. 😎 Check out these 7 amazing principles that you can apply to learning ANY language you choose!
1) CHOOSE ONE LANGUAGE AT A TIME
Pro tip: even if your goal is to learn every single language in the entire world (😃), we recommend that you focus on one language at a time! This is key to learning a language correctly. Even if you decide to learn more than one language over the course of a certain amount of time, you can alternate, and focus on one for a while, then pause, and pick up the other language for a bit instead. You should plan to spend a few months, at the least, on each language, in order to really make progress.
2) KNOW YOUR MOTIVATION
The motivation you have behind your goal, the reason(s) why you chose this goal, and the level of interest you have in learning this new language are super important! These are not always obvious factors for people who want to become multi-lingual. For example, don’t let the “coolness” aspect of learning a new language be your only driving force. Yeah, it would be super cool to become fluent in one or more languages, but that won’t be enough of a motivating factor to keep you interested past the first few lessons! Learning a new language requires time and effort, without a doubt. But it also requires a steady, consistent dose of motivation. People who become fluent in another language are the ones who stay motivated over a long period of time.
3) BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
This one is so important! You already know that taking on a new language is a huge commitment, so why would you start on that journey if you don’t believe that you can accomplish your goal? All too often we see students who don’t believe their success is possible, and these are usually the people who start learning a language because they are required to do so through their work or studies. They don’t believe they can become fluent, but they have to take the class anyway. That is silly! You’re better off convincing yourself that you can become fluent because, as the saying says: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” So, you might as well believe that you CAN! Strive to be motivated by your own reasons, and not anybody else’s.
4) SET REASONABLE GOALS
Depending on your level of motivation, and the reason(s) why you want to learn a specific language, you should set smart goals accordingly. These should be specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and timely goals. So, a goal like “I want to become fluent in Arabic!” is not a smart goal, simply because it is not specific enough.What does it mean to be fluent? How much time am I prepared to devote to this goal? Is my goal attainable in that amount of time? These are all smart questions to ask of yourself before you dive into your language studies.
The more specific your goal, the better that is for you! For example, “I want to learn the Arabic alphabet in two weeks” is a more reasonable and doable goal, because it is specific and not overwhelming. Once you’ve tackled one goal, you can progress to the next. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to keep going once your own progress and success show you the way!
5) FIND MATERIAL YOU ENJOY
You have to listen, and read, and immerse yourself in materials that you enjoy. So, for example: if I want to be able to sing my favorite Arabic song (and maybe join the next season of Arabs Got Talent, who knows?! 😜), I need to really listen to that song! It may seem obvious, but so many people think that by simply starting to speak the language, you’ll become fluent. While it is great advice to speak as much as you can, losing your fears, and practicing your pronunciation as much as possible, you still need to listen in order to know what to say! So, you will first need to find material that you will enjoy (and that is at a good level for your current level of understanding), and that will give you a good template to form your speaking skills off of.
6) IMITATE YOUR MATERIAL
Copy or imitate the material you’ve chosen as much as you can. Listening to music in the language you are trying to learn is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to accustom your ear to the way words sound. It’s also a great way to be exposed to idioms, slang, and colloquial vocabulary.
7) USE LANGUAGE AS A TOOL
It’s definitely fun to show off your newfound language skills to your friends, but you should also be sure to use them as tools to do things that you enjoy. Maybe you like to sing, maybe you like a particular cuisine, maybe you like to play an instrument, maybe you like to write, or talk to people! Find ways to fit this new language into your life and around the things you already love, and you’ll see how easy it is to incorporate your new language skills.
Are you still reading? Are you still motivated and ready to start your language-learning journey? We believe in you! Go out there, set your goals, and go after them. We know you can do it!