Thinking of studying a new language? First of all, we congratulate you. Studying a language will give you a new perspective on the world around you, it will open a door to another culture, and it will give you tools to progress in the professional world. It does not matter what language you choose (we recommend French of course), we have compiled some tips that you should keep in mind when studying a language.
When we start to study a language, whether on our own or in a language institute, we can give in to the temptation to cover a lot of content. We want to write down each new word, avoid forgetting it and repeat it continuously. This can be useful when we are starting out, but as we incorporate new words, grammar rules and structure into our new language, we can feel overstimulated and stressed when we see that we have a mountain of words to learn. From here starts the following:
Don't worry if you feel like you forget phrases or words when you start to learn a language. Let the words flow like a river for your understanding, only through continuous repetition you will catch them, they will always continue to flow, so don’t worry if one escapes you at the moment, it will return.
Learning a language requires a commitment on your part, and within that commitment is repetition. Take learning your target language as something for you, not a level that you must pass or an exam to ace, this way you will feel a deep connection that will not end the moment your institute lesson ends. On the days you do not have a class to take, try to review or rewrite the lessons learned, ask your teacher for texts according to your level that you can review at home, and if possible, establish a fixed review schedule.
There are many reasons why you are learning a new language, travelling and getting to know other cultures should be on your list even if you are only doing it for professional reasons. Don't wait until you know how to defend yourself in the language to start learning about the culture that surrounds it. Knowing about gastronomy, literature, art, music, history and even politics will help you stay motivated in learning, in addition to opening a new world of culture for you.
Don't restrict learning to just readings and texts. There are many ways you can make learning fun, especially through games. Beyond the many apps that allow you to learn while you play, you can create your own educational games such as: memory cards in which you must respond with the translation of the images, guess the character based on the description of a partner, scrabble, stop, the possibilities are endless.
We do many activities during the day, why not bring your new language to one of them? When you consider that you have the level for it, try to translate words from your environment as well as phrases regarding your actions. If you go to the market, try to translate your shopping list. If you are very meticulous, you can also write down the objects in your room on small pieces of paper and paste them respectively to better assimilate the words, remember, all at your own pace.
Your favorite TV shows can help you practice your target language. If you have a series that you love and that you already know all its dialogues by heart (mine is Friends) Try to incorporate it into your learning, now streaming services allow you to choose from a variety of subtitles in many languages, find yours and try it. Music is also an interesting alternative, look for music of your favorite genre adapted to your target language. Words and phrases will stay with you faster.
Having the opportunity to travel and polish your language is something that will give you a total notion of learning, when you consider it appropriate, look for exchange opportunities in which you can travel to a country that has your target language as native language, speaking with native speakers might seem intimidating at first, but it will go a long way toward polishing your pronunciation and keeping you motivated.
Beyond all the activities you can do on your own when learning a language, nothing will give you a better vision and structure than studying at a qualified language teaching institute. The language teachers will study your level and will assign you the corresponding studies, texts, and bibliographies so that you can learn your language. In addition, you will meet people with a common goal and you will have the opportunity to practice with them. (This is especially important when practising speaking the language)
We hope that these tips will motivate you to immerse yourself in that language that has caught your attention in recent years, and if by chance, that language is French, Alliance Française Silicon Valley has you covered.
Written by Alejandro Ramírez G.
Alliance Française Silicon Valley
14107 Winchester Blvd. Suite T,
Los Gatos, CA 95032