Learning a new language can be very hard.
Words, grammar rules, sounds that are very different from your native language can be a real challenge for you to learn and use correctly. It means doing a huge effort and a lot of work!
If you are trying to learn English, or any other foreign language, this article can help you.
We collected the advice of one of the most successful interpreters and summarise them for you.
If you will follow them, this difficult and sometimes boring process will become a lot quicker, easier, and even… funnier!!
Kato Lomb (1909-2003) was an Hungarian translator and one of the first simultaneous interpreters in the world.
She was able to fluently interpret in 10 languages
and could translate technical literature in 6 languages.
Altogether, she was able to work with 16 languages, most of them she learned herself without attending any language schools or courses.
Her approach to studying languages was based on complete immersion into language through reading literature in target language, trying to figure out idioms and phraseologisms and on efforts to make sense of idioms and set expressions, without translating every word with dictionary.
Here are Kato Lomb’s tips:
- Study every day.
If you do not have sufficient time to follow an intensive course, try to find at least 10-15 minutes to study or revise words and phrases EVERY DAY.
Do it for example at a fixed time: while preparing your breakfast, while having a tea, after dinner.
If you follow the same routine everyday, studying and revising the language will be a natural part of your life, and you will not see it as a big effort anymore.
Remember that the most productive time for studying languages is morning hours, so the best is to study while having breakfast, but you can do it even before going to bed!
- Do it your way.
If you are feeling your enthusiasm and desire to study languages vanish and you get bored, try to create your own approach to study.
Find something that really interests you, and try to use the foreign language as a medium for that!
For example, listen to the radio instead of reading; instead of learning words by heart, create a small essay which would contain these words, but never stop the learning process.
If you are passionate about music, why not focus on foreign languages lyrics?
Why not using video games… but in a foreign language?
Try to cook foreign dishes with foreign recipes….. Or use social media to meet new foreign friends and improve your skills…
The thing is: find out what you like, and do it in another language!
- Put it in Context.
Do not learn isolated words! It will take you a lot of time, and you will forget them after a while.
So stop simply translating words.
You will remember what is the translation of “Good morning” or “Thank you”, only because you have used them in a specific context and in a specific occasion.
Try to do the same for every word you want to learn.
Start by asking yourself simple questions:
Who? When? What?
They will help you to build short and simple sentences, and put words in a more practical context.
By remembering the entire sentence, learning new words and concepts will be …. A piece of cake!!!
- Use pattern phrases
Language is not an abstract concept. People use languages everyday.
Every language has its own typical expressions, questions and answers.
All you have to do is starting using them as well!
Try to memorize “pattern phrases” and use them in your speech.
You will notice that there are many more as you may think, and they are the most useful things you will learn.
They can really save your life in a foreign country!
Translate in your mind everything what surrounds you .
It will give you the chance to learn new words, revise expressions, keep language in use, refresh your memory.
Be curious and start asking yourself: what is the English for this word? What is the Spanish? And the Russian?
Maybe you will find out something good, maybe you will learn something useful and I promise you won’t regret it when you will know the same word in many different languages.
Start with heads of articles, titles of songs, boards, and try to find the correspondence between the languages you know.
It will be an effective warm up for your brain and a useful method to train your memory.
It is a good practice to memorize short phrases and dialogs.
You can start repeat very common sentences or expression that are used in the foreign language.
You will find them when you watch movies, listen to songs, play videogames, or use social media.
Start with simple and short expressions, the most common and easiest ones, and you will learn them simply by repeating them.
Try to re-use sentences and phrases you heard in your everyday life: they will stick into your mind!
(Beware: in order to prevent mistakes to take root in your mind, these phrases have to be proofread and corrected by your teacher first.)
Always memorize idioms and expressions in the first person singular.
When learning a verb, build a sentence in a way that reflects what you do, and who you are.
By doing it, you will find yourself thinking about the action, and it will be easier to remember the actual verb.
For example, “I am reading an interesting article.” “Tomorrow I will study harder”
If it is about you, you will have to think about it! 😉
8.Vary your supports.
Studying languages is not about books.
Not any more!
Today, we have a wide range of technologies that can help you, so start using them as a way to learn.
When you want to study, try to utilize as many approaches as possible.
Start using technology and internet in foreign languages, it will help you a lot.
You have also many different alternative choices: reading newspapers, listening to the radio, watching movies in their original version, searching in the net and communicating with native speakers.
Change support very often: it will transform your study into something new everyday…in this way it will never be boring!
Do not let your fear of making a mistake keep you from trying!
People always appreciate foreigners that try to communicate and to learn the local language, so they will surely be happy to help you.
During the conversation you can always ask your interlocutor to correct mistakes. It will allow you not only to correct them, but to learn from them.
Remember: in order to learn a language, you HAVE TO make mistakes. A lot of them. It is A MUST.
This is because your brain will be more busy in trying to produce a message than to check it, and so sometimes you will use the right word, but incorrect spelling, or incorrect grammar.
But do not worry about that! This is perfectly normal, and only with practice and time you will be able to produce a message and to check it at the same time.
This is why you will learn only by trying and practising, a lot.
Give yourself time, and mistakes you have been doing will come into an help.
Do you think learning languages is easy? It is NOT.
Do you think it is fast? It is NOT.
But believe me, it will be worth it.
All your effort will be worth it when you will able to communicate and express yourself in different languages, and you will be proud of yourself.
Do not let your desire vanish and keep working, even when you feel discouraged.
Be convinced and confident that you will beat the language barrier.
Keep learning and after a while, the barrier will be broken.
Learning a language may be difficult and challenging.
If it means that you have to spend long hours on grammar books and exercises, it can be frustrating and boring, and to be honest, it won’t help you in communicating and expressing yourself.
By following these tips you will transform your approach and it will help you make the best of your learning sessions.
Sooner than you realise you will be getting more and more progress, you will improve your knowledge and you will also enjoy the long process of learning a foreign language.
We wish you good luck, and we promise you that learning a new language will give you a great self-satisfaction and will be a big achievement for you.
Authors: Artem Bielozorov and Sara Rizzo