What’s the key to learning a new language?
As language teachers, this is the question we get asked most often.
The answer is really pretty simple. And the good news is you don’t have to spend long, frustrating hours studying.
The single most effective tool for learning a new language is consistency.
Consistency truly is the key to doing anything successfully and it’s no different with learning a language. If you do something in your target language every day, even if it’s just for 10-20 minutes, you’ll learn a lot more than you will studying for two hours one day a week.
Of course it’s important to take a class to learn new structures and vocabulary and to have a teacher that corrects you and guides you to better pronunciation and more advanced language structures. But, doing 10-20 minutes a day on your own helps you apply and remember everything you learned in class.
So the tricky part is… how do you stay motivated enough to find the time every single day to dedicate 10-20 minutes to your new language?
The answer to this is also pretty simple.
The key to staying consistent is interest.
Let’s be honest. How many times have we set out to do something new (ie… working out, reading more, etc…) and we start out super motivated for the first month or so and after that…. life happens and we go back to our old habits. This is because we’re simply not that interested in our new activity.
For example, I don’t like riding bikes. If I want to lose weight and I try to do so by riding a bike, I’m not going to lose any weight because I’ll find every excuse in the world to not ride my bike.
The exact same thing happens with learning a language. If I try to listen to more Italian by watching Star Wars in Italian but I don’t like Star Wars, I’ll pay attention for the first five minutes and then I’ll find something better to do or my mind will wander, and Yoda will be speaking to nobody.
So the most important thing to do is find something you know you’ll stick to. If you absolutely love Gossip Girl, watch Gossip Girl in your target language. You’d be happy to watch it for hours on end in any language because it’s your favorite (and you probably know every word already anyways ).
For music lovers, I recommend using the site lyricstraining.com. On this site, you’ll be able to find just about any song and practice those tricky prepositions while you discover new music. Also, it’s a lot of fun and you’ll be happy to play every day. Aim for 2-3 songs a day, although if you’re like me you’ll quickly be hooked and will find yourself doing 5-6 songs a day.
For bookworms, start with your absolute favorite book and buy it in your target language. Don’t worry about underlining new words and trying to translate. You already know the context of the book and reading it in any language will be easier than you think. Your brain will do the work for you, and once you’ve seen a new word several times, you’ll understand and remember it with no effort at all.
*If you like audiobooks, I recommend using Audible by Amazon. They have a huge selection and many of their books are translated to several languages. This is a great way to get some listening practice as well.
For movie lovers, Netflix is your best friend. Find your favorite movie on Netflix and switch the language to your new target language. You already know what’s going to happen, so you don’t need to understand every word in order to follow the plot. Your brain will soak up the new words for you.
For everyone else, find a podcast to listen to on your way to work. A simple google search will lead you to countless podcasts about your favorite topics. Love sports? Google “sports podcasts”. Many podcast episodes are about 15-20 minutes long, about the same as the average morning commute.
You get the point… whatever it is that you love to do, do it in your target language for just a little but every day. You’ll see MUCH better results than trying to study from a textbook.
When you sign up to a highly effective and fun class with Oxinity and you do your 10-20 minutes of something that you enjoy every day, you’ll be a master of your new language in no time.
See you in class soon!