It’s almost the end of the year, and so, many of us our making our New Year’s Resolutions and planning our language learning goals for the next year. For many, continuing to improve and grow in their target language is high on the list. For me, it certainly is.
For those not currently studying with private tutors, creating a learning routine and finding resource to help you improve as a language learner may not be easy, so I’ve put together a list of eight things you can do this next year to help you better learn a new language.
1. Study every day. You can download my Project365 worksheet to help keep track. It can be really motivating to see several days in a row marked off.
2. Get real life experience by speaking with others. It’s one thing to read to yourself out loud or practice potential dialogues in your head. It’s an entirely different experience getting out there and speaking with other learners and native speakers. You can check out either HelloTalk or iTalki to find exchange partners.
3. Listen. Listen to recordings in your target language. Listen to music. Watch movies and listen to the dialogue (don’t get distracted by subtitles).
4. Spend time with those who speak the language better than you. You can do this in a variety of ways, but one of my favorites is by following the blogs of other learners – particularly those who have already been through the process of learning the language that I’m currently studying. I can then read about their experiences and in a way, pick their brains for what worked and what didn’t.
5. Find a video or article online that explains something that you’re struggling with in the language that you are learning. Take advantage of the countless resources available to the modern learner. If you’re having trouble doing or understanding something, chances are someone has written an article or has recorded a video explaining how to do it. If not, you can always join an online language community and pose your question on the boards/walls.
6. Record yourself speaking. Listen back to the recordings you’ve made while speaking on your own or during language exchanges. You may hear mistakes that you didn’t know you were making or you may even pick up on things that you need to improve (like your pronunciation of certain words or sounds).
7. Work on something completely different than you normally would. A great way to round out your language skills is to do something different – like using a resource that is completely different than what you’d usually use. Or even like starting a new language. Sometimes working through those beginning steps once more and just honing your learning skills in general helps you realize ways you can improve the language you were already learning.
8. Read in your target language. Read a comic, the news, a book in your favorite genre, or even the instructions for that piece of IKEA furniture you just bought in your target language. It will expose you to new vocabulary and further instill those grammar rules that just didn’t make sense until you saw them in context. And of course, you can always join us as a part of the Language Reading Challenge! We’re getting ready for the next year.
What about you?
Is there anything else you think should be on this list?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.