Methods to Maximize your Language Abilities!

Get Yourself Immersed in a New Language

Posted by Danilo Angulo-Molina on July 28th, 2020

Knowledge is power. I remember reading this statement when I was 7 years old. Being inquisitive was always part of my childhood, and my attention always shifted for languages. Languages not only give you the opportunity to communicate and connect with people from all over the world, but they also allow you to get to know new places, to get a completely different perspective of the world, to improve your analytical skills, and to boost your career. Last, but not least, speaking in a different language allows you to have a different personality.

Immersing yourself in a culture where the language is spoken is essential. However, this could be done once you have reached an intermediate and when a vaccine is found for COVID-19. Therefore, in order to maximize your time and language abilities at home during this global pandemic, I have pointed out a few methods that I have used to learn new languages throughout the years.

Early child method

Have you ever thought about how you started learning your first language when you were a kid? Well, you did not have to translate anything since you did not have another language to refer to, and you first learned how to speak and then how to write. For example, you learned how to say bicycle by looking at a bicycle for the first time, whether it was drawn or in real life. Therefore, I call this the early child method and I try to apply it as much as possible when learning a new language. For example, instead of just learning the translation of an object, I close my eyes and link up the object along with its name in the language that I am learning. This technique is more practical, effective and it will save you time in the future.

Create sticky notes

If closing your eyes and making a relationship between the object and the word in the language you are learning does not work for you, that is totally ok. Instead, what I recommend you do is to write in sticky notes different objects in the language that you are trying to learn. For example, if you want to learn how to say a mirror in Spanish, you can write the "Espejo" in the sticky note and stick it into the mirror. Through this method, you will be able to link together the word "Espejo" with the mirror itself in real life.

Watch movies twice in different languages

Watching the same movie twice? One may think that it could be boring, but you can always choose your favourite movie or one that you enjoy a lot. More specifically, watching a movie first in English for example, and then in Spanish with subtitles will allow you to learn faster a language and to improve your listening. Why? Well, since you already watched the movie in English, when watching the movie in the language you are learning you will already know the context and the conversations characters had, which makes it easier for you to learn new vocabulary and comprehend better.

HelloTalk (App)

When you have done all these three techniques, or if you already have some knowledge of a language and you want to improve, I would recommend you download the app HelloTalk. If you like to learn a language in an interactive way while getting to know native speakers, this app is for you. This app works as an exchange in a fun way, where you can correct a person who is trying to learn your language, while they also correct you. What I like the most about this app is that allows you to have natural conversations, and you can both learn but also teach others your language.

Practice, practice, practice

Last, but not least, practice. It is important to enjoy and have fun when learning a new language since this will give you the motivation to continue practicing. I recommend you look at practice as a tool that will allow you to get fluent in a language that will ultimately benefit you in the short and long term in your personal, academic, and professional life. Find fun ways to practice and reward yourself!

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