How to Learn a New Language Effectively

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Most of us wish that we could speak many different languages, especially if we love to travel or interact with people from all over the world. However, not all approaches work the same. I have tested several and I am excited to share with you how to learn a new language effectively so you can have the best results.

how to learn a new language effectively

Indeed, years of studies in school are sometimes not enough to be able to have a conversation or understand a language properly. As a French native speaker, that was my experience with English and Spanish. And to be honest, I was amongst the good students. Always good grades, everything seemed quite easy. And yet, I still couldn’t hold a single conversation.

But I didn’t stop there. I developped my language skills through different ways in the years that followed and I am now bilingual in English and fluent in Spanish. This is why I wrote this article ! I want to help you do the same and feel more at ease wherever you choose to go in the world.

So I gathered everything I used to get to where I am today. Here are all my favorite tips to help you learn french, spanish or any other language of your choice effectively.

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Even though most classes have a limited potential for becoming really fluent in a language, at least in my opinion and experience, they do provide a good base for learning how a language works. You will study alphabet to grammar as well as the most common vocabulary. I would definitely start there and build from a solid foundation.

Practical tip : you can now find books and online classes everywhere if you want flexibility and if you are on a budget. You can also hire a good teacher with a personalized program.

French classes online
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Reading in the new language will help you learn, especially if you have a visual memory. It will also help you express yourself through writing later on. Read articles, books and any other material that you can find. Prioritize content that really interests you.

Practical tip : do not spend too much time searching for the vocabulary you don’t know, it can be very discouraging. Try to understand the general idea and context first. Then grab your dictionnary if you are really curious about one word or two.

read in foreign language
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If you can, watch movies, documentaries, TV shows and videos in their original language. It will help your ability to understand it immensely as well as getting familiarized with the pronounciation.

Practical tip : watch them with subtitles in your native language first. When you start improving, set them to the language you are learning. It will help your mind associate the words you hear with their written form and maximize your learning.

watch movies in original version
I definitely recommend this French movie : Hors de Prix.
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This will improve your listening skills and you will get to discover the specific culture of the country.

Practical tip : try to write down the lyrics on your own and then research and translate them for a better understanding and learning experience.

La vuelta al mundo Calle 13
If you are as adventurous as I am, this song will definitely touch you.
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I know this one is not easy, but it has really helped me master English when I didn’t have anyone to practice it with. Also, in the beginning, we may not feel like we know enough to express ourselves correcty and it can be less intimidating to just practice in our head.

Don’t put expectations on yourself, just start the sentence in the studied language and keep going as long as you can, even if you have to switch back to your native one after a few words. I promise it gets a lot easier with time and you will soon be able to naturally form complete sentences without too much effort.

Practical tip : do it while thinking about mundain tasks, it will help you for future day to day conversations as well.

Cinco Lagos Chiapas Mexico
Cinco Lagos, Chiapas, Mexico
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Your knowledge has to be brought into practice if you ever want to be fluent in another language or become bilingual. The best is obviously to practice with native speakers, but you can also do it with your friends who are on the same path. Practice both orally and through writing, for example with your international friends you keep in touch with through chatting apps.

Practical tip : if your are in your home country, try to find exchange students or foreigners whose native language you want to practice. Organize regular meetings, online or over a coffee, where you speak half your native language, half theirs. This way both of you are practicing and improving, and it is free !

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Sing, write, journal, make videos, just create whatever inspires you in the laguage you are learning ! The more it becomes part of your daily life, the more you will come closer to integrate it as second nature.

Practical tip : actually creating in another language can help you access a new energy and source of inspiration.

Journaling in another language
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This is the most obvious and for that reason, I wanted to keep it for last. There is no better way than going to the country where it is the official language and immersing yourself in that culture to really learn a new language. You can improve quickly but staying a few months is encouraged.

Practical tip : spend as much time as you can with locals so you HAVE to practice the language. Finding friends from where we are while being abroad can definitely be comforting and reassuring, but getting out of our comfort zone is much more rewarding !

Teotihuacan archeological site Mexico
Teotihuacan, Mexico
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This is sort of a following, bonus tip to consider once you get to the point of being fluent. If you want to deepen your skills and make sure you stay at ease, keep practicing and make room for material and conversations every single day if you can. This is how you can truly become bilingual.

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So here you have it ! Learning a new language can be challenging but it is also very rewarding. As I mentioned before, it helps you connect with information and people from different parts of the world. I allows you to better understand their culture and facilitate your own experience while traveling.

It also has a very specific effect that I noticed, and if you speak various languages, you might have experienced it as well. It brings out a new, slightly different version of yourself. Indeed, each language has its unique traits and character. When we master it enough, we tend to take on those traits. In my experience, it can translate into expressing ourselves with a bit of a different energy and personality. For example, I personally feel that English is more straightforward than French. I feel clearer, more assertive and outgoing when I speak it.

That is just my personal experience, so I invite you to try out for yourself ! I would be curious to know how speaking another language affects you. Does it also open your mind to new ideas and new ways of being ? Tell me in the comments, and share your own tips to learn a new language effectively.

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