Learning a new language is not easy. Everyone can realize that by thinking about all the people tha couldn’t be more than “just a beginner” in a foreign language. After a few years learning English and a couple of weeks of French I think is time to share some tips I’ve learned during the way.
Don’t start with the numbers or the colours
This is one of the most common mistakes. The truth is that numbers and colours are absolutely useless during the first months of learning and make people the feeling that they are not making any progress, and they are right! You have to memorize by hard a lot of words but you can’t actually say anything! The only case this may be useful is when teaching a language to a really young students, to expose them to a foreing language easily.
Don’t start with common phrases
This is another super common error. This kind of phrases like “How can I get to the Airport?” o “A burger, please” make you think that you can say something, but the fact is that you are ONLY able to say that, only repeating, without the ability of changing them. My recommendation is to learn only dally used or idiomatic ones. However, these could be really useful when travelling to a destination where a foreign language is spoken and you need to communicate specific things, but remember, these will only get you out of trouble momentarily and not much more.
Learn how to form sentences and ask questions
Looks obvious but a lot of people start dealing with this after months of study when it should be one of the first. Learning how the language works allow you to understand text only looking for the translation of the words you don’t understand. And, once you start asking question, will get easier and easier to easier to use the words you already know.
Learn to identify the most common words in your native language
This is something the people that already learned one foreign language knows unconsciously, that is the reason learning a the third language is way easier than the second. The words you most use in your language are almost the same as the one you most need you use in the language you are trying to learn. Identifying and studding this words you will notice that you would be able to say useful things. Don’t worry if you have a bad time remembering your book’s or class’ vocabulary, the most important words are the one you use in daily bases.
Never stop practising
This may be the most important lesson you need to learn. As I said before, learning a new language is not easy, it isn’t for anyone. After practising you may feel that you have reached a level where you are comfortable, but if you don’t practise regularly that knowledge is probably going away in just a couple of months.
Nowadays with Internet is easier than ever to get exposed to the language you want to learn, I bet you can find something interesting in that language to learn or do if you are willing to do so.
Finally, I would like to recommend you a web I’ve recently using, it is called Doulingo, and follows most of the key points I explained.
Picture by Felipe Luiz Fatarelli