People that succeed in learning a language do two things very well:
Firstly, they are motivated and have an intense drive to learn.
Second thing is that they integrate language learning tools in their daily lives seamlessly.
Language learners like yourself, have the ability to learn a language on your own.
Read on and follow The Best 13 Habits of Successful Language Learners. Updated for 2019!
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You might ask yourself…
Is it possible to learn a language on your own?
In the space we live in today, it is totally possible to teach yourself a foreign language.
It won’t be easy as 1..2..3, but it is doable.
No longer do you need to rely on physical classes or tutors. If you are testing out the waters, opt for online resources first, then evaluate if you need to attend a university class or tutoring session.
There are so many free and awesomely cheap language learning resources on the internet today. There is really no excuse to not start learning today or to push yourself even more.
I will tell you the most effective language learning strategies that anyone can use.
Maintaining Language Learning Motivation
To learn a new language, you need to be motivated to learn it.
Sure, you will love learning it for the first two weeks, but will you enjoy it in the next seven months or so?
You need to be passionate about the culture and the people in that target language to truly enjoy it. The more motivated you are, the more fun you will have!
Motivation is the single most influential factor in learning a foreign language. This is backed up by university research, so it is super important that you have the motivation to learn.
The methods I use to keep up the motivation will be highlighted in more detail further down the post soon.
However, I will tell you that your motivation will increase if you engage in community language learning forums such as Reddit, Discord and Facebook Groups.
- Reddit is great to ask a burning question on your mind or want to share your thoughts on the language. It’s a great tool to meet like-minded language learners.
- Discord is awesome for real-time conversations. Simply type into Google Discord (+ your target language). You can also send audio messages, video chat, and text-like messages.
- Facebook Groups. If you’re part of a Facebook Group already, you’ll know that you can share photos, wisdom, post question, polls and much more. Many of these Facebook Group will have at least 10,000+ members that post frequenty.
These resources will set you up in a community so you don’t feel so alone in your language learning journey.
Use Language Apps To Your Advantage
Learning a language using apps is one of the best ways to start out.
Most apps you can get are completely free. There are some freemium and paid apps as well.
All these apps I have tried and tested for myself. The main things I look for is: how well I am retaining information, how fun and interactive it is.
Here are a few of my recommendations for apps:
Duolingo is great for beginners and it’s free.
Pro: It goes through the absolute basics in a fun interactive way. There are many languages to choose from.
Con: The only downfall is that Duolingo uses the robot voice so pronunciation is hard to understand at times.
HelloTalk is a great way to message other people in your target language.
When I started using this app, I noticed that I could write better and better each day.
The app allows users to correct each other by editing their responses. This is a great tool because I could see what I wrote wrong in the sentence and how I could improve.
Pros: Community vibes, meet like-minded people to that will talk in your target language.
Con: Sometimes people don’t answer for a while.
Memrise has been my number one tool for building my vocabulary.
It is recommended to use it alongside Duolingo when you first start out.
So far I have learned over 1000 words and still counting! It is totally free and has native speakers for pronunciation.
Pro: The apps do make words stick and really helps out with your language vocabulary.
Con: Some people find it too repetitive and a bit boring. However, I find this the most effective way to remember the words.
Babbel is a great step up from Duolingo, I would recommend using Babbel alongside or when you have finished Duolingo.
Babbel is a paid subscription service and is well worth your money. It goes more in-depth with sentence structure, grammar, and native speakers. Check out Babbel.
Pro: Interactive, many different elements so you won’t get bored. They always have plenty of sales.
Con: Some languages only have ‘beginner’ courses while others have from ‘beginner to advanced’. Make sure you check it out first.
Learn 1500 words in your target language in this fun, interactive game. It supports up to 21 languages!
If you think Memrise is too dry, then try out this foreign language learning website.
Pro: Super interactive, colorful and you won’t get bored.
Con: Only extends to 1500 words of your target language.
There is almost an endless limit of online resources to learn a new language.
Apps are particularly popular to learn a foreign language. You can try out 11 Best Language Learning Apps Tested By Experts that I’ve tried out and loved.
If you prefer using your desktop, there are plenty of websites to help teach you a foreign language.
Watch Movies and TV to Learn A Language
A great way to watch movies and TV is on Netflix.
You can change Netflix language settings to your target language. You will now have access to your target language’s subtitles on most videos and dubbing on some.
Watching videos will help your listening comprehension and you will know how a native pronounces words.
Pro: Many TV shows will have subtitles in your target language. You will get a large exposure to different content when you change your language settings.
Con: Depending on where you live, you won’t be able to access every TV show or movie in the target language you want. This is due to legal and geographical restrictions.
Unfortunately, most free VPNs don’t work on Netflix anymore. *sadface* You can try out paid ones though.
Youtube is awesome because it’s free and has millions and millions of videos to choose from.
You can learn from a teacher, follow your favorite vlogger, watch funny skits in your target language and much more.
Watching Youtube videos is good because you don’t necessarily know what they are saying all the time, you eventually pick up what they are referring to. I would recommend watching vlogs or tutorials.
To find Youtubers, simply Google your language + “top Youtubers.” This will help you find a few people to follow.
Pro: There is lots of content. Most of the content is based on natural conversations in comparison to TV shows and movies.
Con: Most videos don’t have subtitles, but it’ll force you to really focus and learn. A con in disguise of a pro.
Tune in to Language Learning Podcasts & Music
The best source to find radio tracks, podcasts and music is on Spotify or iTunes!
You can also find language learning audio courses that you can listen to on the go.
Also, check out Google for radio stations/podcasts. Many have podcasts that are easy to follow for new language speakers.
Pros: Understand natural conversation and it allows you to get used to the flow of speaking. Listen to it while you’re in the car or on your daily commute.
Cons: This may be a bit hard for beginners, however, there are many language learning courses you can tune in to.
Pros: Perfect for those that love tunes. Music is super easy to follow and listen in, whether you’re a beginner or advanced language learner.
You also don’t need to be overly focused, just relax or do some multitasking while you listen.
Cons: I honestly can’t think of any con. Listening to music is always a good time.
Grab Yourself A Foreign Language Textbook
This may sound boring, but I suggest you get a grammar language learning book.
A grammar book will take you to the next level and teach you the nitty gritty of the language.
It is important to memorize and know all important aspects of a language to improve.
Follow Social Media Influencers In Your Target Language
I follow a bunch of social media influencers in my target language on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
The captions on Instagram and Facebook are usually small and easier to read than a full wall of text.
Watching videos or listening to audio happens in small bursts, so you don’t need to focus too much.
This will help your target language reading and listening comprehension a lot!
Change Your Phone And Computer To Your Target Language
This was very hard when I first adapted to this strategy.
Luckily, I use my computers and phones practically every day and was able to remember where most things where located.
It is a struggle at first, but over time you will get used to it.
Simply change your phone settings to your target language. It will force you to memorize and immerse yourself in the language learning process.