Learning a language: five tips
Apps, films, friends and Skype can all help you learn languages
1. Master a new phase a day
The key to learning a language is remembering the 2,000 or so basic words and phrases. Aim to turn this task into an enjoyable habit, building in five to 10 minutes of memorisation every day. It’s amazing how quickly you will see your broader language skills improving.
2. Keep it mobile
Having free language-learning apps installed on your phone means you can keep up with your language learning wherever you are. Try apps such as Busuu and our app Memrise – both for iPhone and Android. They allow you to squeeze a little bit of language learning into spare moments in your day.
3. Practise with a friend
The aim of language is to communicate so it makes sense to learn through conversation. Finding a real-world partner to chat with helps you build confidence and skill, and motivates you. This even works over Skype, so being a couch potato is no excuse.
4. Learn from the movies
Chances are that the language you’re learning is spoken in a rich array of wonderful films. Watching films in another language can provide excellent incidental learning opportunities. More prosaically, changing your mobile’s default language to the one you’re learning can do the same thing.
5. Go online
The internet is full of resources that can inspire and improve language learning. Check out Benny the Irish Polyglot’s blog fluentin3months.com for excellent tips and tools on picking up languages quickly.
Ed Cooke is co-founder of Memrise and author of Remember, Remember: Learn the Stuff You Never Thought You Could, available to download for Amazon Kindle