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7 Ways to Make Learning a New Language Easier

Updated: Jul 15, 2022

Learning a new language is hard, but there are some steps that you can take to make it easier.

Step 1 - Figure Out What Motivates You

Suppose you put twenty random people in a room; the chances of them all being there for the same reason and having the same interests is minimal.

Unfortunately, this is why the traditional education system fails many people who want to learn a new language. Standardised tests and restrictive English courses are built for the masses, not the individual.

If you figure out your why and study relevant materials, you are far more likely to pay attention, find it easier to retain the information and keep learning even when it gets hard. Your chances of becoming fluent will therefore rise significantly.

Step 2 - Practice the Basic Phrases and Sounds With Immediate Feedback

Most people learn a language at school in large classes (more than six students) or on apps like DuoLingo, but never advance past the Intermediate level (if they are lucky) and struggle to communicate fluently in conversation. If they do, you often find they make errors that are difficult to unlearn.

This is because there is a general focus on grammar-based learning (writing essays, reading and comprehension exercises etc.) to prepare you for exams and a lack of regular structured speaking practice with immediate feedback.

TIP: If you learn the language privately with a tutor, you will significantly boost your performance and avoid forming bad habits at the foundation level.

Step 3 - Immerse Yourself

When learning a new language, the best way to get started is to familiarise yourself with the sounds, rhythms and accents. Studies prove that you should listen to different accents and voices if you want to master a language faster. Listening to many speakers will train your brain and help you transfer that knowledge to the real world in a more reliable way.

How do we do this?

Some people have the luxury of doing an "Eat Pray Love" type move to a new country to learn the language, but it's not the only way. Thankfully, every country has their collection of movies, soap operas and tv-shows that you can watch online instead. Even if you watch it with subtitles, the language becomes familiar, and you will find it easier to distinguish between words.

TIP: YouTube and Netflix have loads of great international content to enjoy.

Step 4 - Use the Spaced Repetition Technique

This technique is similar to 'memory palaces' and can be used to imprint information into your long-term memory. It benefits adult learners, who often find it harder to learn languages than young children.

Your brain works by encountering and processing new information. The more often you refresh this information, the more likely it is to 'stick' in your memory, and the less likely you will forget it.

What makes our brains even more interesting is that even if you speak a language natively, if you move to another country and stop using it (stop refreshing your memory), you could start to forget it.

The best way to hack this is to learn regularly by dedicating 30 minutes daily to the spaced repetition technique. Start by studying your notes. Next, recall without your notes. Then try to think about it every 24 - 48 hours. Finally, review it again after a week.

This method is a natural way to remember information. You can easily add this technique to your schedule if you have at least two weekly private tutoring sessions.

TIP: For most people, learning four times a week in shorter 25-minute bursts will be more effective than learning twice a week in longer 50-minute classes.

Step 5 - Study Before Bed

Did you know that sleep allows us to clean our active operating memory, which helps to improve our learning capacity?

If you study before you go to bed or have a nap, the information you have learned will likely be stored in your brain's long-term memory.

Combined with the spaced repetition technique, this improves the connection between short-term and long-term memory, which means you can remember things faster and more accurately.

Step 6 - Mix the Old and New Information

Only learning new information is counterproductive as you may feel overwhelmed. That's why it's essential to review the old language when introducing a new one.

A great way to do this can be to read a children's book in your chosen language and work your way up to familiar novels as your language skills improve.

Sometimes the novelty of reading the same book in another language will help you learn faster. This is because you already have a foundational understanding of the book.

Step 7 - Enjoy the Process and Celebrate Every Achievement

Learning a language is hard so remember to celebrate every achievement. If you level up from Level A to Level B, frame your certificate and let it motivate you when you feel like giving up.

Another fantastic way to stay motivated is to set a goal.

For example, start saving up for a holiday to the country of the language you are learning. After you have completed your private tutoring sessions, add some money to a jar.

Do some research by watching YouTube videos in the local language. Which places do you want to visit? What is the local food like? What can you find out about the country's history?

Finally, book the holiday and use your language skills first-hand when you have levelled up.

Regardless, be proud that you are growing as a person and improving your skills.

If you want to level up your English skills with a British tutor then book a free class here