Whether you are dreaming of being able to immerse yourself in the local culture when visiting a foreign country or you are simply bored and want to expand your skills, learning a new language by yourself is entirely possible.
If you’re thinking of studying the language but don’t know where to start, here are some of the best strategies that will help you succeed.
1. Devise your own program
You should really have a strategy when learning a new language, and the good news is that having complete control over what you learn can make you feel empowered.
Even though every learner has different motivations for learning the new language, it is essential to craft your strategy around your personal needs. For example, if you want to brush up on your Italian for a trip, then you should first focus on essential phrases.
On the other hand, if you’re about to meet your French girlfriend’s parents, you should start by working on mastering pleasantries and introducing yourself.
2. Hear yourself speaking the words
Speaking and pronouncing words correctly in a foreign language is one of the most difficult aspects of learning.
While reading the words as you can see them written is important, this won’t help you much because you don’t know how they actually sound when pronounced by native speakers.
Make sure you use an app such as Rosetta Stone or Babbel to practice the sounds yourself and listen to native speakers. It’s also a good idea to watch TV shows and movies and listen to podcasts in your chosen language.
3. Be consistent but don’t overload your brain
Consistency is key when learning a foreign language, so it’s important to practice it a bit every day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. This way, you’ll be able to become conversational in a matter of months. Many people are actually surprised by how much you can learn by dedicating just a small amount of time to learning a new language every day.
While it can be tempting to do several language lessons back-to-back or study for two hours a day, it’s actually important to slow down your learning to properly commit the vocabulary to your long-term memory.
4. Practice with native speakers
Learning a new language with the help of software is great, but when it comes to fluency, you need to practice with actual humans. Try to find a friend or family member you can practice with, or, if that’s not possible, look for some live interactive virtual tutoring, like the kind offered by Rosetta Stone.
5. Always review what you’ve learned
Learning new things is exciting, but it’s also essential to review what you learn if you actually want to become fluent in a foreign language. Programs such as Rosetta Stone or Babbel make this easier by compiling lists of vocabulary you’ve encountered along the way so you can review them easily.
Learning a new language by yourself is entirely possible, especially when there are so many apps and resources available to help you. The keys to success are the patient and constantly celebrating milestones as they come without focusing on your mistakes.