Learning A New Language? A Few of My Tips

Global Engagements Fellowship

Learning a different language is a beautiful thing. It allows you to gain a deeper connection to and understanding of a foreign culture… and it is one of the easiest ways to impress someone you’ve recently met. ~Enchantèe~

Learning a different language may also very well be the most difficult thing I’ve done. You finally remember that manger means to eat, but apparently there are 6 different spellings of it to memorize depending on who is eating. Two years of a mandatory Spanish class in high school did not prepare me for the magnitude of effort it takes to learn another language, not just pass a test.

My first French lesson began my second day of college. My professor informed us he would be teaching mostly in French. Immediately, I wondered how to drop the class. Instead, thankfully, I stuck it through. While challenging, it is very rewarding to understand a sentence that was once a jumble of nasally sounds. While I am still in the early stages, I’ve at the very least gathered enough study tips to share here:

Write it down – In class and when studying, I take notes from every page of the book, including the practice sentences. Personally, I will remember significantly more from the lesson if I’ve wrote it down. A sure sign that I am prepared for an exam is a cramping right hand.

Practice – Apps like Duolingo are great practice. Rereading notes is helpful for the large amount of memorization required, but Duolingo allows for me to practice creating sentences beyond the examples in the book. You can also show off in class when you know a word said in class that hasn’t appeared in any book lessons yet.

Turn on subtitles – Who knew Netflix could be so useful! Next time you binge watch a show, watch it in the language you are trying to learn with English subtitles. You become more comfortable with the accent and familiarize yourself on how certain phrases sound.

Dedicate time daily – Languages are complex, there are rules and phrases that you will likely not understand on the first try, or even the fourth or fifth one. I am lucky to have class every day of the week, regardless of what I may say on some mornings. Constant exposure will keep your memory fresh, which is a necessity if you want to build your knowledge daily (and that is how your professors will teach).

Now translate this in your choice of language! Thank me later, au revoir!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *