I am not here to recommend you a course. My purpose is to provide some insight into foreign language learning. And I expect to be helpful to anybody who needs a clear and satisfying answer to the question: “What is the easiest way to learn a foreign language?”
It is indisputable that there are a lot of ads that could mislead you. The Internet is full of offers. These usually go like this, purchase this latest novelty to get the results you have always wanted. Another one is sign-up to this platform, and you will become fluent in no time.
However, most of us know that things do not work that way. Learning takes time and commitment. Besides, there are no shortcuts.
I understand your point when you ask for “the easiest way.” I also have been there. Sometimes it is pressure to learn a foreign language. On other occasions, it is years of trying to learn and not being able to see much progress.
The question about the “easiest way” is rather difficult to answer. But what is the main point underlying this question? You have to find a way to learn a language in which you can start seeing progress right away. These immediate results will motivate you to continue learning without slacking. So, your real goal is to find an approach that meets your expectations.
Why do I want to learn this language?
The most basic question you must address from the very beginning is why. You must identify your goals. It is also crucial to know how you will use this language. For example, some learn a second language to be able to read. Likewise, others learn to communicate orally. The goals can be diverse.
In this post, we will focus on the needs of learners that want to master a language to communicate through it. These learners want to understand and talk in the target language. If that is your case, you need to continue reading. Please do so!
I have tried to learn this language, but it is too difficult!
Consequently, the previous ways you have tried to learn your target language have not worked. Your approach is the one to blame. So, you do not need the easiest way. What you need is the most effective way! Finding a strategy that is a good fit for your specific needs may seem hard. But discovering our learning style is something anyone can do.
What is the easiest way to learn a foreign language?
The easiest way to learn a foreign language is by living and breathing that language.
A mistake some students make
Take a look at this common mistake. And please avoid falling into it.
A student sets apart two hours a week to learn a language. And that is commendable. During the two hours, the student strives to learn. But once those two hours have ended, what happens? Yeah, you guessed it! The guy closes the platform and puts away his books. Then leaves his notes at the studio and forgets all about it. “What is wrong with that? I will be back next week!” he could say. “Is not it supposed to be that way?”
Accordingly, the next week the cycle begins again. That is not the way to learn a foreign language! Let us predict what will happen. Two years later, that student will state he sees very little progress despite all his effort.
What should I do to learn a foreign language?
Use every opportunity to get exposed to the new language. As we stated above, the problem with many students is that they take the wrong approach.
A person lays on the beach all day and will inevitably get sunburned. Somebody continuously and purposefully exposes himself to appropriate content to learn a language. What will the results be? You guessed it!
So we have hit two key points here. Did you recognize them?
Exposure and Good Content!
There is content carefully crafted to meet the need of students. For example, platforms such as BBC have worked in this direction. Have you seen their material for students learning Italian? Check it out by clicking here.
But, not everything in the new language is suitable for learning purposes. You could apply filters to determine if the content is appropriate or not. Here are the criteria you will find helpful.
What type of content would help me learn a new language?
We have considered two main points here. They are:
1. Content must be in harmony with your current understanding of the new language. If you choose content that is way too advanced, you will only hear sounds. When you are absorbing this new vocabulary, you need to make associations. And you can when the words are simple and repeated often. You need to choose uncomplicated content in your target language. During the first days, you will still hear mainly sounds. But because it is repetitive, you will be able to recognize those sounds in time.
You could choose complex content in the language you are trying to learn. But time will go by, and you will continue without grasping much despite listening to it daily. Please do not make this mistake.
2. You must find the content interesting. There is nothing more boring than going through topics you find tedious. It will be harder for you to pay attention. Besides, when you enjoy the time you spend with the material you choose, you have already won half the battle.
What can I do to get exposed to a new language?
Here are some ideas. You could pick up those that work for you. Additionally, we encourage you to come up with your suggestions. Here is a brief list:
1. Take time to place Post-It stickers on every object in your house using the language you want to learn. It is an effective technique for learning new words in any foreign language.
Learning and memorizing vocabulary is tough if you don’t have much time to practice.
It is a quick method that requires little time but allows even the busiest person to learn with minimal effort.
All you need is a pen and some colored Post-Its. Next, write the names of objects in the house and stick them on top of them.
Stick them everywhere: in the closet, in the bathroom, inside the refrigerator, etc.
People trying to learn new words simply by hearing them can learn faster if they associate them with visual objects.
Post-Its, therefore, are a productive strategy for learning new words quickly and effectively.
2. Listen to audio content like podcasts and audiobooks in the new language. I will never overemphasize how important it is to apply your ear to others talking in the language you want to learn.
3. Read books for children. Learn through other types of materials created for kids in the target language. Books for children are simple and, in most cases, they can even be fun!
4. Watch subtitled TED. Also, watch TEDx talks about topics that are interesting to you. You should already have a general idea about the content in your native language. That way, your brain may be able to do the associations.
5. Live-narrate parts of your day. Speak as if a foreign friend who only speaks the target language were right beside you.
Give this approach a try. You will discover that learning a new language is something of everyday life. You will even come up with your ideas. You will create self-assignments that you will insert into your routine. These will add exposure to the language you are learning.
Above all, it is necessary to have fun learning the language. You can do this by incorporating it into activities that you enjoy. Make the time you spend with the language enjoyable, so you stop considering dropping out. And it will also make you feel excited to share with others your great discovery. The discovery of: “The easiest way to learn a foreign language!”
The principles stated in this post are valid for learning any language. Reading this post, you have realized how important it is to surround yourself with the language you are learning. Please click here to read a post with valuable and practical advice on how to immerse yourself in the language.