Top Ten Tips for Learning a Language

Learning another language takes dedication and effort to achieve fluency, and you may have struggled or could be struggling on the learning curve whether it's grammar, vocabulary, etc. Provided in this list, these are general tips that can help on getting familiar to a foreign language, especially for beginners that are just starting to scratch the surface.
The Top Ten
1 Start with the common words

Especially if you're just starting to get immersed in a language, don't worry about the grammar first, that comes later on. Focusing on the vocabulary is usually the best method of learning the language. Start getting familiar with the top 100 most common words, and then the top 1000. That way, you can recognize the patterns, basic sentences and you can even get a bit of a grasp on more complicated and unfamiliar sentences. This is my first methodical approach when immersing myself with a new language.

2 Immerse yourself

Immersing yourself in a foreign language is perhaps the most effective way to learn a foreign language, anything from books, podcasts, videos, and even some games. A good tip is that you can set the language on any website or games to the language you prefer to learn, or you can even watch news outlets to that chosen language. Take the time to spend at least 10-20 minutes of immersing yourself in that foreign language a day. The more time spent, the better grasp on the language depending on your free time.

3 Set goals

You should ask yourself and question your motivations on why you want to learn that language. If you're aren't serious, or the language you're currently learning isn't practical enough, then you may eventually lose motivation of learning a foreign language. Set some small, realistic goals that you can achieve such as reading a basic textbook without having to open up a dictionary, that way you can stay motivated on learning a foreign language in persistence. Especially if you are new to language learning, I recommend you stick to the more basic languages such as Spanish, French, German, etc. before sticking to the more complex languages (Chinese, Arabic, or other obscure languages) because you would eventually struggle and lose motivation if you were to just jump on a complex language (unless that language is either your native tongue or you are required to use it). If you are serious of learning a foreign language because of business related stuff or you want to teach others for a living, go for it!

4 Sing foreign songs

Listening and singing songs related to the language you're learning is an enjoyable way to discover new vocabulary. Who knows you're eventually going to stumble upon a good song that instantly ends up your favorite?

5 Just practice

As long as you follow these tips, you are on a right track to learning your goal language. Not only you should practice your vocabulary and reading comprehension, but you should also nail the pronunciations, immerse yourself via speaking that language (if possible), and learn how its syntax works. It's always better to be an active learner than a passive learner. Many of the languages require rote memorization, so make sure to practice consistently for at least 10 minutes. It's always better than nothing.

6 Put effort into it

Self-explanatory. There are no "secret tips" or shortcuts to become fluent on any language. You have to put serious effort especially if you want to become fluent. It would take thousands of hours spent in order to master a skill, but that really depends if how invested and passionate you are of learning a language. It's just like when you learn and master musical instruments. Hours of improvisation and practice are the keys of mastery.

7 Write

If you're just starting to get familiar in that foreign language, you could start by writing several short simple sentences a day and make that a little more complex overtime each day. Or if you already acquired a good grasp on the language, you can even write simple short stories on that language to hone your vocabulary and grammar skills. This can be very effective, but don't be afraid to make any mistakes. You can also submit your work on various writing websites to receive criticism and correction from other people.

8 Use language apps

Duolingo is an effective start for learning a foreign language, but that isn't the only resource you should use as it isn't enough to make you become fluent. It only introduces you to the basics of vocabulary and grammar. Once you'll get more familiar in that foreign language, you may need to move on to other apps and eventually, more advanced resources.

9 Use Google Translate

While google translate seems like a good substitute, it's not really recommended to use google translation or any other translating apps as a primary method for learning the language as they may be not reliable. Although google translate has improved over the years, google translate can 99% of times help you with simple sentences you are having trouble with.

10 Look for a buddy

An online buddy, specifically. If you have a friend or a relative that speaks that foreign language you're interested in, you can start initiating a conversation between them in person whether it's casual chit-chat or some deep conversations. Don't worry if you use the wrong words as they will usually correct you. Either way, that will help you flourish your vocabulary on that language and it's a fun way to do it.

The Contenders
11 Think in that language

Whether it's everyday tasks or anything what you're doing, you could think words or about what you are currently doing in another language. Or you can talk to yourself in that foreign language as a good practice, whether it's in your head or talking by word. It may sound stupid to you, but it can be effective on polishing your pronunciation and vocabulary.

12 Use flashcards

Especially if you're struggling on some vocabulary on a foreign language, flashcards are a useful tool for learning a foreign language. Flashcards could range to a word and an image, and it gives visual context. Sure, they may look very simple, but they are very helpful on memorizing vocabulary.

13 Visit a country that speaks the language.

Not only this is a good way of immersing yourself in the language, but you can also learn the culture, history, and if possible, you can even meet other people that speak the language. However, visiting a country is not for everyone and can cost money, planning, and it's risky, especially in this pandemic. But it is a good choice for those who are serious on learning a language.

14 Start young

It's better to start sooner, because you'll usually have sharper memory and able to learn quicker rather than starting in your middle ages or so.

15 Use the dictionary

A pocket dictionary would be especially helpful if you are traveling place to place. Whether it's a physical book or digital, it is much more quicker to find the foreign word you need.

Not the only resource you need, but it can help you with vocabulary.

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