How to Learn any Languages ? Language Learning Tips,+Hacks.
Updated: Aug 20
Today, a crazy thought popped in my head that I've been learning languages for more than a decade and I'm like wow! Have I progressed as a language learner? Can I call myself a polyglot? I don't know, but one thing I know for sure is that I definitely picked up some habits and mindsets over the years that I wish I had when I started learning languages. I have another article called "Mindsets you need to have when learning a new language" and I share a lot of the ways that you need to think about approaching a language there. So, if you haven't checked that out, please read that. But today I'm going to touch a little bit more on actual habits that you can do in your language learning journey, that will really have beneficial results for you. Before I get into all of my habits and mindsets, I just want to give me a shout out to today's sponsor, which is Lingoda.
You guys know that I took Spanish with Lingoda, and if it weren't for the "lingo to sprint", I would have not been able to speak Spanish right now. A bunch of you have asked me if Lingoda is doing the sprints again this year. And yes, it is starting on the 1st of July. So, if you choose to learn with Lingoda, you can get up to 100% percent cashback. I'll talk about that in a moment. And if you're doing English with them, you get free access to the Cambridge online speaking test! Do stay tuned because I'm gonna touch on that and don't worry I have a voucher for you that you can use if you're interested in participating in the sprint. Since we're talking about habits in this article, why don't you try and change up your study habits a bit [and] take some online lessons.
I know in the comments a few of you say "I'm really shy to... to take lessons, like I don't want to be with a teacher who might judge me," and that's really a mindset thing. We need to be open to corrections. So on that note, my first habit is: Being receptive to feedback and mistakes. I was talking to Valaria in a article recently if you haven't seen "The Dark Side of Language Learning" article we made here, and something she said really stuck with me. [Which was] that She kind of fears a judgment that will not come. When we are learning a new language, we're super sensitive to what people will think of our mistakes. Which we feel really shy and like 'Oh, are they gonna laugh at me? I sound so stupid,' you know, 'I'm an adult why am I making these mistakes?' Honestly, as she said, that is a judgment that is not going to come. People out there are not here looking to laugh at you for your mistakes.
It's okay if you're shy, It's natural to have these feelings. But adopting this mindset or this this daily habit of reminding myself that, it's okay to make mistakes, that people are here to correct me, not laugh at me, has really been helpful in my language learning journey. And the second habit is: Not to be a perfectionist in my notes It's really easy to want to take beautiful, aesthetically pleasing looking notes for the internet, but that's just not beneficial. You're not actually getting the information into your head. If I just reach over and grab, like, my Vietnamese notebook, I honestly don't care what it looks like. Like there's just stuff all over here.
Some of you do say my handwriting is neat, and I thank you for that. But you know in my eyes, this is pretty messy. You don't need to have this perfect system I kind of just use whatever colors worked for me, every page looks different, What you need to be doing is just jotting down the main important information to get into your head and The older I get I realize like really like people barely even go back to their notebooks what I need to be doing is really engaging with the note at that point. Speaking of the word "engaging" my third habit is: Looking at vocabulary differently in the sense of both engaging with the word and chunking. Chunking is learning entire set phrases, rather than little vocabulary words out of context.
We remember words a lot better when they are in context of a phrase, especially something that is related to something we are interested in. That's why how I'm learning Spanish right now is just going through like articles to do with design or reading TV shows I like and memorizing or learning set phrases. For example, we remember a lot easier when we're going on holiday to another country, [Like] "How to say where is the bathroom?" Rather than learning the word "Where" "Bathroom", you know, "is", and trying to piece that sentence together, and that is "Chunking". So I've spoken about chunking before but it's an awesome habit you can adapt, to look at how you learn vocabulary differently.
My next habit is: to simplify My friend Jonathan Sebald from Sebald speaks on YouTube, he made a article about deleting all his language apps, which is a crazy idea, but I totally understand where he's coming from.
There's just too much out there, and sometimes it's good to just pick one thing to stick with. I have found that I've been deleting language apps over the years. Once I find one that really works for me, so I cleaned up my phone a lot. So even though I have a bunch of Korean textbooks, when I'm focusing on preparing for something, I try and use just one textbook and complete that to the full. For Spanish right now, what I'm just doing is working through some articles on design and after that I'm gonna start with some text books. So, for example, I have these two text books in Spanish. I don't have any other Spanish resources apart from some apps. So this one is a Japanese one called, "Mi Diario en Español" It's about, I don't know, the weather activities like diary entries in Spanish. So I want to finish this book first, so that my mind can just be like on one resource, really simplifying my language learning schedule. And then I'm gonna move on to complete Spanish grammar.
This was a Christmas gift from my best friend and I have not started this yet, because it's just overwhelming. And I don't have time to touch on so many resources at once. Which might sound counterintuitive because I'm learning like 12 languages this year, but a lot of them are just in maintenance mode. TLDR: Simplify, find what works for you. Delete a few apps, stick to one textbook, see if you can finish that before moving on to another. Another habit I have is: Always to take my notes in a different language. Even if I'm taking notes for work. I'll always have Korean or Japanese in there. So here's an inset from my speech at Polyglot Conference, where I talk about how I'm actually using different languages in my notes. I needed to write on Africa has 18 billion people, 15 percent of the world's population. So here I wrote in katakana, "Africa" and then this is "zhun" in Chinese and then "yo" or like "sekai pop", population So this entire sentence has just been shortened to this.
Okay, I hope that gives you a little bit of like an idea into my mind, and the reason I think this is a good habit to have is that the language is always at the forefront of your mind. Whenever you're taking notes, you're thinking 'what is it in that language?' And you're giving yourself opportunities to learn new words and phrases. And finally this one also kind of touches on the note-taking thing, But I wish I knew when I started learning languages is: You DO NOT need to write everything down ! And you don't need to review your notes all the time ! I feel like when we come out of a school, a middle school or a high school environment We are stuck with like being in a classroom environment. what you do when the teacher talks is you write down and what you do when you go home is you look at your notes. Language learning can be a little bit different. It is okay to not write everything down.
I touched on this in a article I made about how to best study with a Korean Grammar in Use textbook, and one of the things I say is: don't write everything down. If I open this textbook here and we're talking about "Other uses of the pluperfect subjunctive" "You have seen the pluperfect subjunctive..." *Sped up voice reading the textbook word-for-word* Really? And I log into Instagram and Tumblr and I see people's notes have like these... *gestures* Why are you writing it down? It's right here. Why are you copy-pasting the entire book into your notes? I've been guilty of that before, so I just want to recommend to my past self, as well: it's not necessary to write everything down. On the topic of reviewing your notes, something that both I and Steve Kaufman and a lot of other polyglots do is not necessarily spend too much time going through our notes, but spending more time getting immersed in the language.
So if you've learned a language to a beginner or intermediate level and you start talking to natives, start reading TV shows, start listening to podcasts, what will happen is these words are going to keep popping up and you're gonna be like, 'Oh, I remember learning' that and the more you hear it the more it gets solidified in your memory. I'm a very auditory learner. So, by hearing someone say something I'll remember it a lot easier than I would just going through my notes over and over reading this word. The next habit I've picked up over the years is to read more.
I just like having a break from social media and engaging with a book in another language. It just, it's like the most heartwarming feeling when you're reading in another language in you're like wow -I I could never do this a few years ago. So I choose to buy books that are interested, Interested? Interesting to me, about minimalism and design and sometimes short stories as well. By reading another language, you're really engaging with how it is used naturally and it's a fun way to pick up new vocabulary in context as well, And you can integrate this into chunking and memorizing sentences. Yeah, the next one is a little bit more of mindset which is: To be teachable and it kind of touches on not worrying about making mistakes.
We are provided with so many resources and textbooks and apps out there that we want to self study, But sometimes you get to a point where you feel like, 'I just need someone else's guidance' During times, like stressful times, like now, When I have my full time job to do, when I have articles to make, when I have other languages to study, kind of relying on a teacher or a tutor to help me and For me to be teachable. Feel like it's just, it's just removing a lot of mental strain from my side to think like 'What should I teach myself today?' And just hand it over to the tutor so that she can tell me what to do. And the same thing for Lingoda, when I was learning Spanish. It was a new language for me, I didn't really know where to start.
For three months, I could rely on what these native speaker teachers are teaching me. I put myself in this position, this mindset of being teachable saying, 'It's okay, I am a baby in this language.' So Lingoda was really awesome for me because I could fit it into my schedule, You can choose to book lessons like in the morning, your lunch break, after work, weekends. And all the language learning materials and courses you need are there. You can download the PDFs and go through them anytime before or after the lesson.
How the sprint works is that there is a "Super Sprint" and the "Lingoda sprints" So if you're looking to get 100% cash back, I recommend you take the Super Sprint, Which is 30 classes a month for 3 months and if you attend every single class you will get a hundred percent of your money back. Then the other one is just the Regular Sprint, where if you're a little busy you can try this one, So you only have to attend 15 classes a month and you will get 50% of your money back.
You can take the Sprint in: English, German, French, Spanish, or Business English. The Lingoda Sprint starts on the 1st of July 2020, and you only have until the 26th of June to register So, how are you to secure your spots ? To secure your spot, you have to pay in full for the first month, But don't worry, I have a discount code for you. Which is: class40 to get 11 USD or 10 euros discount on your first out of the three months of the Lingoda Sprint. Lingoda's challenges have been running for two years, And I've personally really loved it, and you can check out more stories of people sharing their experiences on the Lingoda Instagram. Alright guys, Thank you for reading! As always do check out my website, where I have blog articles, blog posts, so I will see you in the next article. have a good Learning.
Always Do Your Best,
Destine To Do.