Which Language Learning Method to use has always been the subject of debate. This is true whether or not you’re in the ivory tower of linguistic academia, or if you’re a hobbyist who has found their way to Yahoo Answers for the very first time. Most language learning methods on the market are great tools, but the downfall they all have is that they don’t create, or tell readershow to create, a full language learning syllabus.
Through academic study and self-experimentation, we’ve developed a full proof language learning method to get great results. Like any other language learning method, it’ll take hard work and lots of learning, but it will work. The more diligent and passionate you are about language learning, the faster and more efficiently it’ll work. Everyone can use it though. So without further pause, here is the Language Bug Language Learning Method.
Language Learning Method Step One: Use the IPA for your language.
Learning how the International Phonetic Alphabet works is the key cornerstone to starting your language learning journey off on the right foot. Essentially, any human language is just a collection of sounds. The fact that those sounds can be put together into millions of different combinations is overwhelming, but the basic building blocks are always simple. Use the IPA to learn what the sounds of your new language are, and how to make them. This will ensure that when you move on to future steps, you hear the sounds in your head correctly. It’ll also pay dividends with your speaking in the future.
Language Learning Method Step Two: Use Mnemonics and Spaced Repetition to learn the most common 100, 200, 500, 1000 words.
In this step, we’re going to do some memorization. Luckily, it won’t be quite so boring as learning things rote like you did back in school. (Although, that can be made interesting too.) What you’ll be doing is using mnemonics. Mnemonics are short stories which create an association in your mind, allowing you to easily learn a new character, word or grammar rule. In order to take what you learn in the short term and commit it to your long term memory, you should learn about Spaced Repetition. Spaced Repetition is when you recall information you’ve learned at optimal intervals to make sure it sticks in your head and stays there.
Language Learning Method Step Three: Build a list of stock sentences and questions that you’re likely to be asked. Find Native Speakers.
A lot language learning methods will have you learn some words, and then skip straight to learning grammar. We all know that there’s an intermediate period which you have to go through before that. What we also know is that you need to practice with native speakers before you can start to internalize the grammar. It can be a vicious circle; you don’t know anything, so you can’t speak to native speakers, so you can’t learn anything. Luckily, there is a way around that. You can build stock phrases and learn the common questions that you’re likely to be asked. This’ll allow you to have short conversations with native speakers, and get into the flow of the language before you need to know grammar concepts.
Language Learning Method Step Four: Start using the words and sentences to build a personal story.
This could be considered a part of step three, but it’s important enough that it is an integral part of language learning all of it’s own. Once you know some simple phrases, you already know some simple paragraphs. Once you know some simple paragraphs, you know longer paragraphs. Part of keeping language learning exciting is to make it relevant to you. So you’re going to build a personal story in your target language, using all you’ve learned up to now. Later on, this will expand to help you talk about life experiences, hobbies and everything else you experience.
Language Learning Method Step Five: Turn that personal story into several stories by learning grammar and more vocabulary.
We’re going to continue with step four, but now we’re going to actively start learning grammar, and we’re going to learn more vocabulary. Learning a new language requires three things: Learning it via reading, listening, or otherwise acquiring it. Controlled practice, which is what we are doing when we do exercises in text books, and free practice. Free practice is arguably the most important, and it’s what we’re going to do. Every time you learn a new grammar rule, you introduce it into your personal story. Say you’ve learned about conditionals, you will add to your personal story. “I am a doctor, but if I’d been better at sports I could have been a basketball player.” Or, something similar that is relevant to your life story.
Language Learning Method Step Six: Concentrate from now on on Second Language Only Materials.
If you can build sentences using all the tenses, and you’ve gone through a beginner course or a grammar book, then you can understand most sentences in your target language. You then need to progress from that level. The best way to do this is to start using materials that are solely for learners of your target language. At the beginning, this might mean watching kids’ movies or reading fairy tales. You might need to write flashcards for a lot of words that you don’t understand. But you will get there, and once you are reading, writing, listening and speaking solely in your target language, the gains you make in your learning will be exponential.
Language Learning Method Step Seven: Get a tutor, and spend time reading and socialising in your target language.
At this point, you’ll be at least an Intermediate Learner. You’ll be able to have conversations with native speakers without feeling overwhelmed. That’s great, but there is still a long way to go. Here, you might consider getting a tutor. You’ll certainly want to read in your target language, and you’ll benefit by getting more experience socialising to iron out the flaws that you have. Don’t get discouraged, because you’ve got the bulk of the language in your mind, now we’re just tightening the aesthetics.
Language Learning Method Step Eight: Bring Out the Big Guns. Extensive Reading, Specialized Vocabulary.
You can spend a lifetime getting better at a language. Realistically, there is no ‘end’ to learning a language. At the point where you’re fluent or near fluent, what is left is specialised vocabulary. Also, being able to use appropriate language in certain contexts. We wouldn’t use our first language in the same way in a nightclub as we would in a classroom. Two great ways to build contextual language ability are by extended reading and taking up hobbies in your target language.
That concludes the language learning method we recommend. Get learning, and let us know your thoughts. We’re happy to hear from you.