Magazine topic: 
Life around the world
Total votes: 95

My top 3 language learning tips

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by : 
RachelF

Learning a language is hard. I'm sure you all know this, since you are here on this website! I am currently learning French and German, and have also learnt Italian in the past, so I know how frustrating it can be. However, I have found a few things that have really helped me not only to improve, but also to motivate myself to learn, which can sometimes be the hardest thing.

Here are just a few of my favourite hints and tips:

Go to the country
I know this one may seem really obvious, but it can help in more ways than you would think. Going to the country whose language you are learning not only allows you to hear the language spoken in context by real native speakers. It also gives you an insight into all the things that make you want to learn the language. For example, when I started learning Italian, I was frustrated because I thought I wasn't improving fast enough. Then, I got the chance to go to Italy for a few days and everything changed! Suddenly, everywhere I went I was surrounded by delicious Italian food, historic Roman architecture, and (of course) the beautiful Italian language. It made me desperately want to improve my Italian so I could be a part of such a wonderful culture. Going to the country gives your language learning an aim, and gives you lots of reasons to want to improve. Of course, not everyone can travel to where their language is spoken, but if you do get the chance, I really recommend it!

Read, read, read!
Reading is one of the skills that you need in order to succeed at learning a language. But I'm not just talking about serious things like literature or difficult newspaper articles. You may think that challenging yourself to read harder texts will help you to improve quickly. But the truth is, any sort of reading is going to help you, as long as it's in the language. I would even recommend not choosing difficult things to read, because you are more likely to get bored and give up, or just not understand anything. And what's the point of reading something if you don't understand it? Instead, why not choose something fun that you want to read, like a girly magazine (if you like that sort of thing!) or a children's book. I am currently reading Harry Potter in German, which may not be the most challenging book in the world. But I love the story, so I'm much more likely to persevere with it than with something by Goethe. If you want to challenge yourself to read something more difficult, go ahead! Just make sure you don't lose your enthusiasm along the way.

TV and films and videos
Another thing that really helps me learn a language is watching television programmes or films in the language. Again, it doesn't have to be anything really difficult. In fact, I would recommend starting with a children's show or something that you have already seen in your native language. That way you will already know what's happening and can concentrate on writing down useful words and phrases or trying to repeat what they say with an authentic accent. Of course, you could just watch the show without doing those things, but you will learn much faster and will benefit a lot more if you do. In addition to this, you can watch YouTube videos in the language (in your case, English), to give you a fun way of hearing the language spoken in a more natural way than you would hear in the classroom. Actively listening (while taking notes, etc.) is one of the best ways of speaking the language better, especially if you then try to use the new vocabulary and expressions you've written down in your own conversations.

So there you have it! Three of my top tips for learning languages. Of course, there are many other ways to improve your language skills, and I'm sure you will find the ways that work best for you. Don't forget, one of the most important things is to have fun. That way, you will stay enthusiastic and will be able to motivate yourself much better to learn!

Discussion

What do you think about Rachel's top 3 tips for learning languages? Do you have any more tips that you can add? 

Comments

sona's picture
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sona 5 January, 2016 - 18:11

Rachel's top 3 tips for learning a new language are very useful and they help you to learn it better. I want to learn English more than I study in the school,so I am trying to follow these tips. I watch English films , read books,listen English songs and watch videos. However,what is more important I am registered in this website and now I see that my English has improved a lot.

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PestR's picture
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PestR 5 November, 2014 - 05:45

Hi Learn English team,
I've got a question to ask you. Do you call Britain for the UK? or for England?
Thanks, Pest

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PestR's picture
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PestR 5 November, 2014 - 10:09

Hi Jo,
I think I know the answer now. You call Britain for the UK. And England is only a part of it.
Regards, Pest

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PestR's picture
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PestR 28 October, 2014 - 13:16

Hi guys,
I totally agree with Rachel's learning tips. At first when I started watching movies in English, I hardly understood a word. Because the native English accent was very unfamiliar to me. Then I started watching movies with subtitles on. And also I started listening to pod casts on this website as well as BBC website.And now I'm very glad to say that I can understand most of what I couldn't understand earlier in watching movies. That's why people say 'Practice makes Perfect'!
Thanks and Regards, Pest

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NMemmedova 7 July, 2014 - 19:19

I like English .Azerbaijan and Russion language...I can speak English and Azerbaijan language..but i can not speak Russion language :( :(

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movingtoUKteen's picture
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movingtoUKteen 22 May, 2014 - 15:38

I actually learned a lot by reading all the harry potter books and movies in English,:)

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RachelF's picture
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RachelF 11 June, 2014 - 14:07

I think it is great that people learn from the Harry Potter books! They are such fun stories so it means you actually WANT to read them, rather than reading something more 'serious' that you never want to finish.

Good luck with your language learning!

Rachel

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polyrrr's picture
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polyrrr 16 May, 2014 - 19:17

I ansolutely agree. Reading is incredibly helpful when you are learning languages.

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Harabeli Supersweet's picture
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Harabeli Supersweet 23 February, 2014 - 18:13

Thank you, Rachel. I find your tips really useful, especially 2 and 3. I haven't had the chance yet to follow tip 1. But I'd love too. I can add that music, song lyrics can help us a lot when we're learning a foreign language. I spend hours listening to English music. It helps me a lot, because it's easier to memorize the words that rhyme.

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RachelF's picture
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RachelF 11 June, 2014 - 14:09

I'm so glad the tips are helping you! Song lyrics are such a great idea for learning English, especially since there is so much English music around. You're so right about it being easier to learn words that rhyme. I'm glad you've found something that works for you.

Good luck with your language learning!

Rachel

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dzeni's picture
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dzeni 16 February, 2014 - 17:06

Yes, I agree with Rachel. I think these tips are very useful and on that way I will improve my knowledge of foreign languages.

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serap 14 February, 2014 - 14:50

Yes, these are nice ways to learn a language well. And I do funny things to improve my English. For examle I write a diary in English, I look at this website and I write poems in the language!

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RachelF's picture
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RachelF 11 June, 2014 - 14:10

What a brilliant idea to write a diary in English! That is such a wonderful and unique way to practise the language every day. Poems are a great idea too. Well done for some great ideas!

Keep up the good work!

Rachel

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Niluh's picture
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Niluh 12 February, 2014 - 10:58

Read, read, read! I absolutely agree that reading is the best way in order to master languages, i read one to two articles in English everyday and find the meaning of words i don't understand. I watch English films and TV shows, listen to music and podcast then repeat the accent.

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RachelF's picture
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RachelF 11 June, 2014 - 14:12

Reading is certainly one of the most important things you can do! I'm glad you are reading so much English because it will definitely help you a lot. It is also a great idea to listen to as much English as you can (just like you are doing!) because it shows you how real English people (and other English speakers from around the world) speak in their daily lives.

Good luck with your English learning!

Rachel

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