7 Best Ways To Learn A Language At Home: A Step-by-Step Guide
Being bilingual or multilingual has become an essential skill in an increasingly globalized world. As a young African, whether you dream of studying abroad, travelling the world, and immersing yourself in a foreign culture or you just want to make the most out of your free time, there are so many reasons to learn another language!
However, it may happen that you don’t have enough time to attend classes. Or you’d rather not spend an arm and a leg on a private tutor. And then, you are starting to wonder if you can learn a new language from home.
Luckily for you, we’ve got seven best tips that will help you master a new language from your couch faster than you ever imagined!
Why learn a new language?
We live in a multicultural world where knowing many languages has so many advantages. Being bilingual gives you an insight into other cultures. It has an impact on the way you perceive people and things from other cultural backgrounds.
As a professional, mastering many languages also increases your chances of landing a good job abroad. Many fields such as education, journalism, and tourism require the knowledge of a second language.
Moreover, learning a new language is a must for students who wish to study in a foreign country.
7 Best ways to learn a new language
Goals, deadlines, success
The first step when learning a new language is to set goals of what you want to achieve with deadlines. As much as you cannot venture into an unknown place without a roadmap, you cannot learn a new language without a clearly defined programme. Setting goals motivates you and helps you track your progress. But the question now is how do you set the right goals to achieve success?
- Define short-term goals: You should break down your ultimate goal into smaller goals for days, weeks, and months. In this way, you will not find everything overwhelming.
- Challenge yourself: Set realistic goals that will make you push yourself. One of the best ways to get around this is to add a range of outcomes to your goals. For example ‘This week I am learning 25 – 50 new words.
From the basics to the top
You might be in a rush to know complex words or speak as fluently as a native speaker but remember that you need to start from the bottom before reaching the top. Focus on the basics: how to greet, how to count, the alphabet, the most common verbs, and some important day-to-day conversation words.
Write Things Down
According to science, writing down things stimulates your memory. When learning a new language, you should keep an old-fashioned notebook where you can jot down all words with their meaning as well as grammar points. It helps in refreshing your memory every time you forget or try to remember something.
Use The New Language in Your Regular Life
As a beginner, it is important to use the language you are learning in every way possible. In other words, you should do everything you normally do on a daily basis but in your second language.
- Music, videos, and movies. What’s better than learning and having fun at the same time? Whether you prefer listening to music, watching movies, or short videos, just make sure you do it in the language you are learning. Platforms such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, provide movies in many languages with subtitles. And if you are a die-hard fan of anime, you can always watch cartoons on gogo anime, Toonjet, or Cartoonito in the language you want to learn of course!
- Surround yourself with the language. Start by changing your phone language in your settings. The next step is to download language apps such as Duolingo and Babbel or Pimsleur if you want to focus on conversational aspects. Listening to podcasts is also a great way to learn a new language. Whether you are doing household chores, going on a walk, or driving, you just need to put on your headphones and press play.
The World Is Your Oyster
The internet is really a magical place. Back in the day, you needed to travel to a foreign country for language immersion. Then the pace of globalization quickened, bringing all diverse nationalities and languages to virtually every country.
Today, you can welcome native speakers of any language on Earth to your living room while you’re having breakfast. You can join online forums such as Quora to ask questions and get tips from other speakers about your language learning journey.
Consistency is the key to success when learning a new language. You know, sometimes you start reading a new book with much enthusiasm, and then, after stopping for weeks you totally lose interest. It’s only because you did not stick to a routine. The same applies when learning a second language.
Language experts recommend taking at least 30 minutes, four to five days per week to practice. It’s always a good idea to base your learning activities around the same time of the day. For example, you may feel like practicing every morning while your mind is still fresh. You should also associate your learning activities with other aspects that are part of your routine. You can listen to podcasts while doing your morning jog or driving.
We Start, we learn, we improve!
Learning a new language may be overwhelming in the beginning. New words rarely stick the first time you learn them. At some point, you may even forget things that you have learned and study them over and over again. You may feel that there is no progress and start losing it. But in such cases, you will need a lot of patience as well as persistence. Always consider your mistakes as learning opportunities. Rather than focusing on failures, you should celebrate the successes that come from consistent practice.
Now that you know how to learn a new language from home like a pro, what are you waiting for? It’s up to you!