When we think about learning a new language, we picture textbooks, audio lessons, flashcards, and, now, even language Applications for your phone or tablet. We've been programmed to think buying the new and expensive grammar book will help us succeed in the new langauge... but will it? Modern learning focuses less on those textbooks and more on critical methods to help learners succeed. Here are a few reasons why you should throw the traditional learning techniques out the window and expand your comfort zone to break the language barrier:
More comprehensive learning, less grammar lessons
Most people have heard of the Duolingo app which is a good tool to learn grammar and vocabulary but when you arrive in the country of the language you've been practicing, will you be able to put those new vocabulary words to use or will you feel like a deer caught in headlights? Most likely, it will be the latter. Stepping outside of your comfort zone, making mistakes, and going beyond the grammar rules we all think we should memorize is so important! Doing these things will allow you to forget your nerves and not be afraid to mess up every once in a while. Not only that, but you will feel more fluid and natural while speaking the newly acquired language - and people will appreciate your effort!
Learning a second (or third!) language is not the easiest thing to do. But as a beginner, remind yourself you do not need to be perfect. I always say being able to have a conversation with someone is more important than conjugating every verb or pronouncing every word perfectly. 9 times out of 10, the person you are speaking to will understand what you are saying. And if they correct you, it will be easier for you to recall the correct usage in the future. "Mistakes are the stepping stones to learning!"
Immersion and Interaction
If you wait until you felt perfectly confident enough to speak in another language, you may never do it! Once you immerse yourself and interact with people who speak the langauge you are learning, you will slowly but surely start learning and understanding more than you thought you would. What you can learn in just a short conversation is defintiley worth feeling a little uncomfortable in the moment. Then, the next time you ask for or say something, you will have gained even a small amount of assurance that makes you feel able and willing to try and learn more. Even ordering a coffee in a different language can teach you a lot! Before you know it, you will be having a conversation you weren't able to in the past. It's all about putting yourself out there.
Some people are able to keep themselves accountable and progress without external support. But, if you like to have someone for encouragement, find a teacher, friend, or mentor! If you have a friend who is fluent, ask them to speak with you in the language you are learning and to correct you along the way. If you prefer a proper teacher, find one who teaches you in a way that promotes your learning capabilities to the fullest. Decide what methods work best for you and go from there! Some people work best on their own but it is also a great idea to have someone who can correct you or motivate you when need be. Stay dedicated!