Language learning is hard, so we’ve put together a checklist so that you’ve got all the tools you need to be successful. There’s just 5 main points, so making sure you’re successful won’t take long at all! You could even print it out and stick it on your wall (or who are we kidding, copy and paste it into your notes app) so you can keep reminding yourself when you’ve got a spare 5 minutes.
☑️ Little and often
When you’re learning a new language, you want to make it a habit as quickly as possible. If you’re a pen-and-paper type of person, why not write it on your calendar or your to-do list, so that when you tick it off, you’ll feel super accomplished (yay!) If you treat language learning like urgent appointments you can’t miss or reschedule, then you’re more likely to stick to learning and find success through practice. It doesn’t have to be much, either - you can schedule five minutes a day if that’s all you’ve got!
Did you know there’s something called decision making fatigue? Essentially, the more decisions you have to make, the weaker your willpower will be as the day goes on. In this scenario, your phone is here to help. Why not set reminders when you know you’ve got some free time to learn your new language? It’s a small step that’ll bring you a more successful language learning journey. Memrise has a handy feature that lets you set daily goals and learning reminders to keep you motivated and on-track.
☑️ Get engaged
Not like that - we’re not suggesting you run away to Italy to find a new partner! But, you’ve got to find stuff you’re engaged in and enjoy. The key to learning successfully is not to ignore what you’re interested in in your native language! Whether it’s cooking, Star Wars, powerlifting or skincare routines, if you enjoy the topic, try to seek it out in your new language.
It’s way more likely that you’ll remain engaged in a topic that you’re already familiar with (and master your new language as a result!) Don’t force yourself to find an online magazine about the Spanish economy if you’re not interested in economics anyway! The key to success is immersing yourself in content you actually enjoy. Save learning about new topics until you’ve got the basics of a language on lock.
☑️ Keep it relevant
NEWSFLASH: You don’t have to learn languages like you did at school! Gone are the days of old, out of date textbooks, monotonous listening tapes and language lessons that made you feel bored to tears. The world is full of useful, digital resources. If you keep up to date with pop culture, news and events in your target language, you’ll be one step closer to truly immersing yourself and mastering the language.
In other words, you won’t stick to something if you’re bored by it. If you dislike reading, there’s no point in setting a goal to “Buy German books” and then poring over an old German textbook from 1998 that you picked up in a charity shop because it was “a bargain” and you “could really do with learning some phrases”. Learning needs to be fun, because when something’s fun, it helps you learn better and retain more information.
If you prefer watching videos, why not find a German Youtuber and immerse yourself in their content? You might feel like it’s a weird way to learn language successfully, but hear us out:
Ditch the textbooks and use an app that actually includes relevant words and phrases.
☑️ Listen to others
Every language sounds strange the first time you hear it. The more you expose yourself to it, though, the more familiar it becomes, making it easier to speak and understand. Listening to another language is a great way to build confidence and find your voice when it comes to speaking. Mastering a language, however, involves both speaking and listening (obviously). So we came up with Pronunciation mode. Pronunciation mode gives you the chance to mimic a native speaker after hearing how they say it. Then you can measure up and make adjustments until you get it right. Part of mastering a language means taking the time to listen to native speakers, and soak in their accent and pronunciation!
If you’re looking for something a little more immersive, our ‘Learn with Locals’ videos are handy for learning words that real people actually use. Now, we’re not all lucky enough to be jetting off abroad like Instagram influencers, so these videos are crafted to recreate the experience you get when you’re living abroad. Learn with Locals is made up of over 30,000 bite-sized (and COVID-safe) clips of people using real language in context.
☑️ Set those goals
An important part of mastering a language is making sure you know your motivation and setting goals. This is key to successful language learning. If you don’t have a solid reason to learn a language, you’re less likely to stay motivated in the long-run. Whether it’s getting to know someone who speaks a different language, wanting to understand your favourite Korean drama or Spanish song, you should focus on a tangible scenario where you can use your language skills.
Something that’s important to note, though, is that when your goals are generic and lack a timeframe (think “get fit” or “learn Spanish”) then it’s likely that you won’t track your progress (or even make any in the first place!) Reasons for language learning that are specific and realistic are key. Try something like “Learn 100 words in Spanish by my Summer holiday”. It’s far easier to plan how to achieve these goals with small, manageable steps.
If you’re numbers-driven, then this kind of specificity is great! But what about if you aren’t? Flexibility is key. Make it a number range, for example: “I want to learn between 50-100 Spanish words in 3-4 months”. This is another tool to help take the pressure off learning, but will also allow you to feel accomplished when you achieve it.
So there we are! Follow these steps, and you’re well on your way to learning your new language successfully 👏 Let us know how you get on by heading over to our socials and using the #MemriseChecklist