Last week, we talked about the use of learning languages. Today, I would like to continue on this path and talk to you about my hacks to easily (or more easily) learn a new language. These hacks are perfect both for those who study the language in class, via an online course or private courses etc and those who learn it by themselves.
In my case, I’ve been quite fortunate and got the opportunity to learn with teachers. But I still learn by myself and I often realized how important it is not to count only on our teachers and class teachings. When you learn a language, you have to invite it in every aspect of your life. This is what my hacks are all about. Actually, I don’t think I’ve invented anything new, but so far, these have been working great for me, that’s why I want to share them with you.
#1 Exchange with someone from the country. It’s kind of like a teacher but not that much. With this person you’d learn how to communicate properly, not necessarily the grammar etc. Having someone who can give you the example (written and verbal) is a real advantage. Plus, it gives you a friend. Myself, I had the chance to be assigned a penpal during my first year learning Chinese, as we were having an exchange between our two schools. 10 years have passed and we are still communicating (actually she’s my bestfriend). This time the school did the work for me and gave me directly the penpal, but when I started to learn Russian, I had to find myself. I heard people, during my Chinese lessons, talk about Interpals, a platform on the internet. If you don’t know it’s a platform where you can communicate with people from all over the world, and get penpals. This is how I “met” with my Russian penpal Dashima. For a few years we just talked about anything, us, our countries etc online and it’s only in 2017 when I came to St Petersburg that we were able to meet. This was quite a special moment for me.
#2 Watch series and movies. Even if you don’t really understand everything atfkrstt, it’s okay because you still hear people talking in the language and you get used to catch a few words. And actually, you’d be surprised all the things we can understand in a movie even if we don’t speak the language. The best example I’ve from my experience is from my childhood. I was between 5 and 10 and my father showed me a Soviet movie. I clearly didn’t speak or understand Russian at that time. Still I could understand the story and explain to my mom what I could see on the TV. More recently, I’ve been watching a lot of Chinese dramas which helped me a lot to understand when Chinese people are talking to me.
#3 Listen to music. Here it’s more about unconsciously getting your ears used to these words. It’s been years since I uploaded Russian songs on my mp3 player and played them for hours in the bus, the train etc without really noticing them. By know, I’m able to catch up a few words and get the general meaning of the song for some of them. It also helps me to have a better pronunciation.
#4 Read bilingual books. I say bilingual because its already hard enough with the translation on the other side to simply read the original. I personally have trouble reading in Chinese or Russian. Reading is way harder than simply watching a movie, because you have nothing to help you, no picture, only the words. But still, reading helps a lot to understand the grammar and syntax.
#5 Make themed vocabulary sheets. This method is quite useful when learning words and needing them for translating. When you look for a word you just have to check one of these lists and it’s easier. Also when making them, you’re practicing your writing and spelling.
#6 Spread word cards everywhere in your house. The idea is quite simple. A word a card. And you place these cards all over your place, so that you see them all the time and memorize them easily without even noticing. Most of people think of the toilets as the perfect place for these cards, but there so many others, like the fridge, at your desk, on the ceiling over your bed… I still remember one of my friends during my Chinese courses, she had a while wall near her bed, covered with lots of these small cards for each word she had trouble with. And it worked, she improved a lot over the years.
#7 Write words lines. It sounds silly, but it’s another great way to memorize words. Just write lines, even pages, copying only one or two words. It sounds and seems quite repetitive but it’s very effective. Believe me, it really is.
Last but not least.
#8 Invest into a good dictionary (paper one). This is the must-have tool anyone needs when learning a language. And most of all, choose a top-quality one (in terms of translation etc). It’s better to spend a little bit more money at the beginning for a very good dictionary, rather than spending less but having a bad quality one, not so efficient and useful.
That’s all for my hacks for learning a language more easily. Just bear in mind that all these tools are better is they complete some grammar etc learning, may it be with a teacher or by yourself.
I hope this post is useful/interesting. If you like it please feel free to share it around you. Thank you for passing by and reading my blog. It means a lot to me.
I’ll talk to you soon in a next post.
Until then, take care of yourself ❤
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