Are you looking to learn a language by yourself? In this 7-step guide, we'll cover exactly how to achieve this.
There's a lot more to language than words and grammar. Language is culture, dictated by different dialects, slang, abbreviations and idioms. People who speak different languages think slightly differently as a result.
For example, In german, you can't really cut off someone mid-sentence like you do in English because the verb goes to the end of the sentence. This changes how people talk to each other in nuanced ways.
You also cannot properly translate Shakespeare into French! English words and structures allow for different rhythms and styles, which do not work in French.
Tom Scott - YouTube
A native French speaker will never be able to experience the true work of Shakespeare's genius of rhythm and style without becoming proficient in English and understanding its rhythms, wordplay and culture.
So how do you actually go about learning a language?
Step 1 - Get A Notebook
Buy a brand new handy hardback notebook or download a writing app such as 'Bear' on your laptop. Whatever it is, it should be purely dedicated to the language you are learning.
Do not underestimate the power of writing or typing things down!
Just write a few things in your little notebook each night. Even when using apps like Duolingo, just make sure to write things down.This will hugely increase your ability to immerse yourself in the language and once you get used to it you will be way on your way to learning the language!
Step 2 - Learn The Grammar
It's very important to learn the grammar of the language you are learning. Grammar, spelling and pronunciation are the building blocks of the language you are learning and you should go about learning these first.
Learning grammar can be difficult, but you can't go wrong with a grammar book or an online beginner's course.
You can get a grammar workbook, which will highlight details such as 'false friends', pronunciation and important rules and structures you need to properly understand in order to learn the language.
These same things can be learnt online for free or affordably in a few classes of a beginner's course.
Step 3 - Watch Language Movies & Shows
It cannot be underestimated how important watching movies and shows in your target language is. It's by far the easiest and most engaging way to immerse yourself in that language and culture. You are shooting so many birds with one stone simply by watching a tv show.
You learn about the culture, mannerisms, pronunciation, new phrases and words. As you hear more people speak the language, you also start thinking in that language. You will speak and understand it better.
Step 4 - Listen to Native Speakers
There's a lot of nuance to every language, you won't need to understand most of it to communicate with most speakers but it's important to grasp it, especially if you're looking to immerse yourself in that language.
In English, we stress certain syllables built into words. An example is :
A Contest , To Contest
This is an example of a very small nuance of English that other languages do not have and the only way to learn them is to listen to the language being spoken, with enough time you will not even be aware of the nuances you pickup!
Step 5- Online Resources
There is a plethora of free or very affordable resources online dedicated to language learning.
There are many Youtube channels dedicated to language learning that offer very basic grammar to advanced language exercises. These channels can offer great resources, providing hour-long videos covering different topics.
Apps are also a great tool to help you learn your target language. There are general apps like Duolingo, which offer a broad range of languages. However, most languages have apps dedicated to them, and these services should not be overlooked as they often offer slightly different services,which might be preferable for certain learners! For instance, those who are more visual learners might prefer video-based resources.
Finally, personalised group courses can be ideal for some learners. LessonWise offers a variety of live group courses for many popular languages, it connects students with qualified tutors in group classroom environments , making it the ideal way to learn for some.
Step 6 - Speak The Language
It is crucial to actually speak the language out loud when you are learning it. Whether you are repeating words in a grammar book, scribbling pronunciations into your notebook or repeating out loud what's said in a video or movie.
It's important to continually speak the language to get used to thinking in that language. This will make all other facets of learning much easier. Above all, you should avoid being shy and practice confidently speaking out loud- this will make the process a lot easier!
Step 7- Group Conversational Practice
Once you are a bit more comfortable with the language it's time for the final and most important step. Practice speaking it. Practice makes perfect and conversational practice is by far the easiest and most effective way of doing it.
There are many ways to go about getting practice. You can try to find people willing to help you learn on forums like Reddit or Facebook groups. A further option is to join conversational practice groups,where you can work and learn with others alongside a tutor to perfect your use of the language. You can find offers for such practices in many popular languages here.