To learn anything new, we need to do it a lot. That can seem really overwhelming when you’re facing a whole new language. Don’t panic! Take it in small steps, and build in some habits around your new language to help you move forward, even when you’re not in class.
Top 5 habits for language learning you should start today
1. Practice regularly
You’re all excited to do your Lingoda course, but then kind of lose steam. We all do, don’t worry. Sit down at the beginning of each week and find at least one class to take and book it. That way you have at least one booked in, and if you have more time, great. Feeling a bit stressed and can’t sleep? Name every object in your bedroom in your target language. Bored on public transport? Count as far as you can in your target language. Take action in all these small moments to book a class or practice, and you’ll find it easier and easier to slip into language-learning mode.
2. Find a tandem partner
Look online for a partner to have coffee with or go for a walk. Tandem practice means you choose an amount of time – 5 minutes or 10 minutes to start – and you both communicate in one language for the whole time. And then you switch! It works best if you’re fluent in different languages. I find if you agree on a theme to the conversation beforehand it helps, that way you can both look up some vocabulary beforehand. The great thing about tandem conversation is you can never fully prepare, so you get to practice spontaneous sentence creation.
3. Listen to music or watch TV
There are phrases you won’t ever learn in class, or even in tandem conversation, that pop up in songs or TV shows. Even if you watch your shows with both your native language and your target language using something like Language Learning with Netflix, you are still listening to your target language. I’ve switched over to listening to only music in my target language, and taking the time to learn the lyrics so I can sing along (at top volume in the car, my family loves me) and it’s done wonders for my pronunciation.
4. Do your social media in your target language
Maybe not all the time, but even setting aside one day a week to practice setting out your thoughts in your target language is progress. I’ve learned a lot, complaining on Twitter in German. It’s helped me in conversation as well because I’m constantly thinking about how I would express myself naturally. Follow people posting in your target language as well – this is the way to truly learn the way native speakers communicate. Facebook and Twitter can be translated quite easily, but if you’re looking for another level of challenge, TikTok is hilarious and enlightening.
5. Talk to yourself
This sounds a bit off the wall, but bear with me. I have imaginary conversations with people in my target language. Sometimes it’s practicing a conversation I will have to have, like with a receptionist or my son’s school. Sometimes I am pretending to be interviewed by someone because of my best-selling book or award-winning screenplay or something. It’s amazing how in-depth imaginary conversations can get, and what good practice this is. It’s best to do this in private, or you could put your headphones in and let everyone think you’re on the phone. You do you.
Don’t forget to book in your Lingoda classes to expand your language skills and get more confidence speaking. All these habits together with regular lessons will have you speaking confidently in no time.