Mastering a new language 101

Mastering a new language 101

We all know the benefits of learning a new language. If not, check HERE to find out 5 reasons to do so.

However, adapting this skill might not be the easiest task. Especially when the language is completely different from your mother tongue.  A couple of easy tips aka mastering a new language 101 can help you attain mastery of speaking foreign languages.

 

  1. Watch (and listen to) local TV, or radio if you prefer- even though you will not understand a lot at first, after a while, you will find yourself picking up pieces. Moreover, the human brain is a magnificent computer that will start making connections between what you hear and see. That means that you will double your chance of remembering words because your brain has put the words into context based on what you saw.
  2. Don’t be afraid to speak– in order to advance, you need to make mistakes. In order to make mistakes, you need to speak. It doesn’t help much if you are trying to learn a language alone at home but are afraid to speak to the locals. If you are hoping to secretly achieve a proficient level, most likely this will not happen. You need to practice.
  3. Get a local friend– and ask him/her to talk to you in the local language. It’s also easier to communicate with a friend in a foreign language. Plus, that friend might appreciate you teaching him/her English as well.
  4. Look for free language courses– or buy one, if it’s in your budget. Being in a particular language environment AND learning that language at a course is much better than attending a language course at your home country. There are many language courses for free, you just need to look for them whether online or asking around.
  5. Combine your learning with language apps– even though we recommend to try and combine all the tips above, we also suggest not to forget language apps. Apps alone most likely won’t do the job, however, they will play a big part in your process.

Here’s a list of some language learning apps on the market and their brief write-ups. All the apps have possibilities to learn for free:

  • Erasmus Online courses, OLS– One of the main benefits of OLS is that it’s completely free for Erasmus students. Actually, for them, it’s even compulsory to at least take a language test in that system. IF after the test your language level is sufficient enough, you don’t have to take a language course, but you can always ask for it. Currently, it offers 6 different languages. However, by 2020 the goal is to expand the OLS to all official European languages. It is available anywhere and anytime. 
  • Duolingo– it’s the most game-like language learning app on the market. Duolingo is easy to practice yet challenging. You can set your own goal for how much time in a day you want to practice. If you fulfill the goal, the app will reward you with lingots, which is sort of like Duolingo’s currency. Rather than relying on plain memorization, Duolingo teaches the learner context. The only con might be that the offline mode is quite limited.
  • Memrise– It has short videos of people saying phrases and it focuses on repetition and reversing of them. Such as Duolingo, it also keeps score on points and “strikes” (how many days in a row have you practiced). You can add friends and check them on a leaderboard. Also, something that is similar to Duolingo is the option for Pro subscription what will give the user different advantages. Such as chatbots, learning with locals etc. As the name gives, Memrise focuses mainly on memorization and more specifically memorizing vocabulary. Supports offline courses.
  • Lingvist– it judges your language level and adjusts the “questions” based on that. You can choose between larger topics such as general language or holiday language etc. The app allows learning language until intermediate level. Even though it might seem confusing that at the beginning Lingvist only gives you two options to choose between- whether you are a beginner or an advanced learner- don’t get yourself distracted. There will be a small “test” after you have chosen your level which will clarify your true language level. That works thanks to Lingvist’s algorithms which will observe your answers. If you keep answering correct, it will fetch you more and more difficult words and exercises, and the other way around.

 

Learning new languages will help you while doing an internship abroad. Go check out the internship offers here.