Language learning hacks from the experts

Welcome to 2019, Expaters! If learning a new foreign language is on your New Year’s resolution list, then read on…

Here are some top tips, cheats and hacks from a range of language experts for learning a language quicker and more effectively.


Let free time become study time
Blur the lines between your free time and your learning time. At the age of 18, I never would have thought that some of my favourite films 10 years down the line would be in Spanish, German, Portuguese or Italian. Y Tu Mamá También, El Mar Adentro, Cidade de Deus, Hin und Weg, Biutiful, Le Conseguenze Dell’Amore, Im Juli… are all films from which I gained so much by watching them in their original, unadulterated versions.
Former Babbel expert, Ed M. Wood. Babbel is a learning system combining education methods with state-of-the-art technology.

Crack language jokes
The familiar structure of a comical anecdote meant I could quickly decipher and comprehend what it was all about. It aided my understanding of another language, and the potential to imitate and induce laughter in others made me want to retain it. Sentence structure, verbs, tenses and vocabulary — it was all in there. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the supposed break from revision was doing as much to improve my French as the colour-coded post-it notes we trudged back to once we’d polished off our cups of tea.
Former Babbel expert, George Oliver

Keep it real
When you learn something new, ask yourself, “how would I use this in my life?” Then try and make a sentence. Applying what you learn to real situations will help you remember.
Katie Harris‏, Founder, Joy of Languages, a fun and easy way to learn languages at home

Set yourself a contact goal
A contact goal is about how often you can stay in touch with your target language, even if the contact is minimal, like 10 minutes on Duolingo. Setting your sights on small actions that you can achieve every day helps to build a language habit, and it will make it so much easier to keep going.
Kerstin Cable, Founder, Fluent Language, a blog and website sharing the love of language learning

Go language shopping
When you’re starting in a new language, shop according to your own preferences, and look out for the style of resources that you enjoy most. Consider courses, plenty of input resources like videos and radio, reference resources like dictionaries and grammar courses, and all the support resources you need like online communities, study guides, and tool kits.
Kerstin Cable, Founder Fluent Language

Write your vocabulary down
It’s easier to remember what you note down, either on paper or in a Flashcard app like Smartcards+ or Anki. Try a goal of adding 5, 10, maybe more new words every day, and review your list at least once a week. Over time, you’ll spot the tricky words that you struggle to remember, and you’ll be able to create a special list of those words to practice.
Kerstin Cable, Founder Fluent Language

 

You can check out more language learning tricks and tips from language expert Kerstin Cable here. 

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