Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
I am Dutch, but I also have a blog where I write in English and I also have a YouTube channel where I speak English. That means that I learned to speak/write English. And in this blog post, I give you a couple of tips on how to learn a new language on your own.
When I was at the age of 10/11, I learned my first few English words at school. And in high school (age 12-17/18) I also had to learn English. But in the first three years, I had a teacher who had a burn-out, which means I had no English classes. In the fourth year (i switched school) I realized how bad my English was and I failed my English exam at the end of the 5th year. But I still went from a 4/10 in high school to a 10/10 in University. So if you really want to learn a new language, it is definitely possible.
How to learn a new language
Learning the basics with Duolingo
If you don’t know the basics of the language you want to learn, I would recommend starting to learn the basics. And a great way to this is by using Duolingo. Every day, spend a little bit of time on the app/site to learn a few new words and sentences.
Yes, this might sound weird but it is actually helpful. Here in the Netherlands we always have to read subtitles with movies. But it is a great way to learn a new language. Because I heard what they were saying in English and the translation of that was in the subtitles. So next time you watch something on Netflix, turn on the subtitles.
Note: sometimes the translation/subtitles are a little bit different, but it is pretty accurate.
Another thing I did was starting to read English books. I already loved to read, so I only had to buy English books. And the good news is, that English books are cheaper so basically I could buy more books. I wouldn’t recommend reading books in a different language if you are not familiar with the language. And also buy a dictionary or use google translate the words you don’t know. Start with easy books, like children’s books.
Spend time in a different country
And not just any country. A country where they speak the language you are learning. So go to France, if you are learning French. Or go to Spain, if you are learning Spanish. This is a great and fast way to learn more words because you don’t have another choice than speaking the language.
Practice every single day
If you really want to learn a new language, you have to practice daily. Watch Youtube videos in that language, read a little bit or translate things in your head. So when you are baking something, name the things you are using in the language you are learning. And if you don’t know the word, google it.
I remember I took German and French in high school but I haven’t used it in years. Maybe I can still introduce myself and order food, but that is basically it.