How to Start Learning A Foreign Language

Most people have ‘learn a new language’ on their bucket list, but very few people actually take the first steps toward fulfilling this dream as they simply don’t know how to start learning a foreign language or they think that it will be too hard.

Firstly, throw out any misconceptions that learning a foreign language is too hard, you are too old or you don’t have an ear for languages. You learnt to speak your mother tongue therefore you do indeed have an ear for languages and there is no magical cut off age after which learning a new language becomes impossible.  Kids seem better at learning new languages simply because they are not afraid of making mistakes, that is all.

Now that you are ready to start to learning a new language, here are the best ways to go about it:

Take A Class

This seems self-explanatory, but taking a class is the best way to start learning a foreign language. Most adult education centres have language classes and they tend to be fairly inexpensive.  The best part of taking a class is that you will have a whole classroom full of people to practice with who are not going to laugh at your mistakes cause they will be making them themselves as well.

Audio CDs

If, for whatever reason, you can’t take a class but you want to start to pick up a few phrases in your chosen language, then audio CDs are a good place to start.  Audio CDs will give you a good opportunity to get used to the sound of your new language, but the drawback is they offer no chance to practice speaking nor do they teach you any grammar.

Computer Software

Using software, like Rosetta Stone, is a very expensive way to start learning a new language, but if you have some spare cash and going to a class is not an option, then it’s a good place to start.  Like the audio CDs though, they don’t offer the chance to take part in conversations, but they will teach you the grammar so you’ll be able to construct sentences on your own rather than relying on learnt phrases.

Google

Yes, that’s right, Google.  If you don’t want to pay any money, then Google is the go-to place to start learning a new language.  Simply type ‘learn <language name>’ into the search box and be prepared to be overwhelmed with options.  However, beware some resources are far better than others.  Working your way through a couple of free online courses is a good way to judge whether you really want to learn the language before committing any money to it.

Once you begin learning a new language you then can start to read children books in that language, watch your favourite films (you know that ones you know all the words to) in that language and read trashy gossip magazines. Also most big cities have meet-ups for native speakers of almost any language you can think of and most of them would be happy for you to join them to practice speaking.

The hardest part of learning a new language is taking the very first step which can see from the above list is really not that hard at all.  So now that you don’t have any more excuses, it’s time to knock learning a new language off your bucket list.

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4 thoughts on “How to Start Learning A Foreign Language

  1. All good ideas. Today marks a year in Germany for me. My German has improved (self-study) but it’s nowhere near where it should be! Shame on me!

    I’m looking into getting a tandem partner (for my German obviously). It can’t hurt, can it? :)

    Tom

    P.S. I like the new blog. I’ll update the link from mine.

  2. Thought I’d toss in a music video for your German study. Good song, slow, good enunciation. Bonus feature: a verse (the last one) that is one of my absolute favorites:

    Vergiss Romeo und Julia,
    Wann gibt’s Abendbrot?
    Willst du wirklich tauschen?
    Am Ende waren sie tot,
    Ich werd’ immer für dich da sein,
    Bist du dabei?
    In dem Gefühl, wir wären zwei.

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