I’m currently learning a new foreign language, Russian! Before learning Russian, I embarked on a challenge to learn Portuguese, and Hebrew. A wise person once told me that you can only truly understand another culture, when you learn how to speak the native language!
Learning a New Language is Easier
than you think ! Instead of focusing on perfecting a language, focus on trying and having fun. Learning is about fun, so if your mindset is positive, you can learn anything. The first step is having the will, and the second step is to put that will into action.
Best Way to Learn a New Language
Sure, there must be some psychological studies that explain the best ways to learn a new language. However, the best way to learn a new language is to incorporate learning into your day-to-day activities. When in Brazil, I listened to Portuguese music, and when I was in Israel, I listening to Hebrew music. I eliminated listening to music in my native tongue, so that I could learn a foreign language.
Immerse yourself in the speaking environment
When I arrived in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil I was shocked that barely anyone spoke English. It was my first day of a 6 month adventure. If I didn’t learn any Portuguese, how would I connect to people? It was easy for me to start learning as I had immersed myself into a complete Portuguese speaking environment. My ears were opening up to the different sounds of this new language. If I wanted to order food, it was useless for me to speak English, rather I just had to try speaking Portuguese right away. Sure, I made mistakes but my learning was amplified by actually trying.
Learn a new language by trying!
If you don’t have the option of totally immersing yourself within the language you wish to learn, be sure to block time out of your day to only listen and speak the language you wish to learn.
Write down new words, everywhere.
Learning a new language is easier if you write down the new words you learn. I found success in learning different languages because I kept a journal and categorized the new words I learned by separating the pages.
Every time I learned a new word, I would write it down.
I didn’t necessarily write the word down properly, but I wrote it how I heard it. I would group words that belong together, together because it’s easier for the brain to break down words in compartments. For example, I kept all food items on one page, and all verbs on another page. Not only did I write down words in my journal, but I covered my apartment in sticky notes on the fridge, window seal, and other places so that I would constantly be reminded of the word. Even when I wasn’t “studying”, I would still be learning as I reached into my fridge for something to eat.
Invest in a Dictionary
When backpacking throughout Brazil, I purchased a small, pocket-sized English-Portuguese dictionary. This dictionary would help me tremendously whenever I was missing a word. People were patient and kind with me as I would look through the dictionary to find the correct translation. Funny enough, I used this dictionary to start a romantic relationship with a Brazilian! He may have even learned some English, thanks to my dictionary. Read all about my adventures in my book, “Citizen of the World“. Soon to be available on Amazon.
Best Way to Learn Another Language
I love learning, but there is something unappealing about sitting in a dark library for hours on end. The best way to learn another language is by using software, especially Duolingo!
Learn a New Language with Duolingo
Duolingo is the secret to my success of learning multiple languages. Duolingo’s interactive features make learning a foreign language fun and exhilarating. With Duolingo, one can learn a new alphabet, new words and new sentence structures by learning in their native language. For example, when I was learning Portuguese, I would see the sentence in English, and then need to write the same sentence but in Portuguese.
Duolingo is Competitive Fun
If you like being in competition, learning a new language with Duolingo is for you. The Free version of the app only gives you so many lives, and each time you answer incorrectly, you lose a life. This causes users to really be engaged, thus increasing their likelihood of learning a new language! I would not have learned Portuguese and Russian without Duolingo. I can simply turn the app off, and on whenever I feel like. If I only have 5 minutes to spare before a meeting, I’ll open Duolingo to increase my language skills. Instead of wasting time, Duolingo enables me to maximize my free time, while learning something new!
Foreign Language Classes
I did not take a formalized foreign language class to learn a new language. Learning a language is not like learning history. It is not something that can be memorized, rather it needs to be practiced. Duolingo enables that practice in a fun and comfortable space. Going into a stuffy classroom to learn a new language is not for everyone.
Why are you learning a new language?
Formalized foreign language classes might be expensive, and learning in a group setting might not be beneficial for learning. When I was learning Hebrew, I needed to hire a private tutor because I enjoyed that the lessons were tailored to my needs. Why do you want to learn a foreign language? What is your intention? Once you set your intention, it’s very easy to learn a foreign language. Tailor your learning habits to your intention. Be sure that the learning is suitable to your goal. For example, if my focus is to speak Russian, I can listen to “Russian in Your Car” Podcasts where I can freely speak to myself. See how I would spend time speaking, instead of reading. I can learn the alphabet and practice reading Russian, after I have learned how to speak. When one engages in self-taught learning, the possibilities for growth are endless. You are the captain of your own ship therefore, don’t believe that the only way to learn a language is through formalized education. Your life is meant to be discovered, so use the world around you and tools readily available to you to learn a new language, today!
Citizens of the World speak Various Languages
Now, if I’m in Portugal speaking Portuguese, people think I’m Brazilian. When I met my in-laws for the very first time, I was able to communicate in Hebrew. These experiences of learning a foreign language have shaped me into a citizen of the world. My life’s journey of becoming a citizen of the world brought me to speak all these wonderful languages, and allowed me to connect with more people. As citizens of the world, it’s our obligation to learn new languages so we can collaborate and know each other. Only through collaborating and connecting can we really change the world. What are you waiting for to learn a foreign language? Download Duolingo, and start learning a new language now.