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Monday, August 2, 2021

Learning a new language? Here’s the best way to do it

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Tired of reading subtitles from your favourite foreign films and series? Here are our top tips for learning a new language and the best 10 apps to help you.

Being bilingual means two languages are always active in your brain, according to a study from Northwestern University, noting this is highly effective in assisting the development of intellect.

Other advantages include “metalinguistic awareness” which enables individuals to recognise language as a system that can be manipulated and explored, better memory, visual-spatial skills, as well as creativity.

For those that felt an itch to pick up a new language during quarantine this year, or those who want to dive into Turkish or Korean series without resorting to subtitles, Doha News has you covered. 

Here is a list of the best ways to learn a new language and some popular apps that can help you achieve your goal.

1-Plan your journey with realistic goals:

When starting a journey to learn a language, pacing yourself is paramount; you cannot expect to be fluent instantly. Instead, consider setting small and manageable goals that can be achieved more easily.

Start with identifying your goal: do you want to learn to only speak or do you have bigger plans to master writing and reading, too? Do you want to reach beginner level or develop to intermediate or even advanced? 

Once you answer these questions, sit down and write a plan of when and how you want to study. 

2-Start with the basics:

You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with new information, and make unrealistic jumps from learning the letters to sentences. Slowly build from letters, to words, to sentences and take your time in each step. Though it may feel good to get to your end goal, rushing to get there can be counterproductive.

Monitor yourself and recognise how well you recall information and words you’ve learnt, then move forward accordingly. Learn commonly used words first and those relevant to you, then slowly build from there. 

3-Make it a daily habit: 

Sometimes 24 hours can seem like not enough time in the day, but in order to achieve your new goal, you need to make a commitment. There’s a theory called “half hour theory” which states that you do one small thing every day for half an hour and you will gradually improve. So, even if you’re really busy, set at least half an hour to sit down and study. 

Also, make a habit of testing yourself during the day. For example, if you’re going to make coffee, try saying it in your head in the language you’re learning. You can also attempt to speak to your friends and family to grow more comfortable with the language.

4-Expose yourself to media: 

If you’re in the living room watching TV, switch to a channel in the language you want to learn. On the road commuting? Listen to podcasts speaking that language or even a language learning podcast. We are always on social media – that’s why it’s a good idea to follow people tweeting in that language. This forces you to see the language on your timeline and allows you to test yourself throughout the day by reading it.

5-What do you enjoy doing?

If there’s a show in the language you’re learning, watch it once with subtitles then once without, this way you can pick up new words. If there’s a song you like, print out the lyrics and translate it for fun. Do you enjoy cooking? Try reading a recipe in that language.

6-Practice confidently:

The only way you’re going to learn a new language is by practicing it out loud. If you have the option to travel to the country, do it! Alternatively, you can meet natives where you are. Though it may seem daunting at first, try to make conversations with others and practise what you’ve learnt. Of course there may be mistakes, and maybe a little mistranslations, but this is the best way to learn and become fluent.

Language learning apps are a great way to study on the go or if you want a short lesson, here are 10 apps for learning a new language: 

  • Memrise 
  • Busuu
  • Beelinguapp
  • Duolingo
  • Quizlet
  • LingoDeer
  • Pimsleur
  • Mosalingua
  • Rosetta stone
  • Mondly

Read also: Procrastinating too much? Here are five apps to boost your productivity


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