12 Tips to Learn Another Language

Struggling to learn that second language? We asked our community for their top tips to make learning another language easier.

We asked the World Nomads travel community on Facebook what their best tips were for learning a new language while on travelling. 

Here are the top 12 tips for learning a new language on the road.

1. Spend Time Overseas

"Books are important but real life is the key - try to spend a time in a place where the language you are learning is the official language, talking and sharing several experiences with native speakers. - Marce Leoy

2. Phrase Books and Language Apps

"Bertlitz phrase book and CD/Language App - listen to it over and over on your listeing device or car - read the phrase book over and over at every opportunity - waiting for the bus, on the train etc - when you get there tiake a lover who doesn't speak your language." - Roger Ramrocker

3. Immerse Yourself

"Immersion. Dunk your head in the tub and then take a big breath." - Raquel Gonzalez DelaCruz

4. Spend Time with People Who Don't Speak Your Language

"Be with people who don't speak your language. I might try to learn a bit from book before hand but there is nothing like having to speak and function where no one speaks your language. From my experience." - Susan Moore Williams

5. Listen to Others

"Keep quiet, let others do the talking, and listen." - Nancy Beiman

6. Go Overseas!

"Sit on a plane and go there! Stay with the locals, break bread with them, speak with them, dance with them, pray with them, party with them. LIVE THEM!" - Tarannum Khan

7. Do a Crash Course

"Do a crash course, do an intensive course, mingle with the locals, listen attentively, make your dictionary your bible, write down the basics, speak the words you know, watch television in the language and be brave even if you sound silly it pays off." - Tunisia Riant

8. Understand Cultural Norms

"Try to also understand cultural norms and their way of life." - Mason Blunt

9. Watch Movies in that Language

"Watch movies in the language you're studying. It keeps you interested and helps with comprehension." - Robert Behan

10. Volunteer Overseas

"Do a volunteer activity in the local language." - Cinthya Sopa

11. Make Friends

"Make friends that don't speak your native language, and then you must use the language you are learning!" - Chelsea Godier

12. Fall in Love

"Fall in love with a native speaker." - Mia Smith

Keen to Learn Some Lingo Before You Go? 

We have developed World Nomads languages guides in over 25 languages giving you enough phrases to keep you travelling safely and get more from your holiday.

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  • Machaon said

    Hide your watch, hide your City Map..and ask 100 times per day what time it is and for directions..even if you know directions..... so after that every opportunity ..talk to the Locals about the weather the Sea... if you fall in love ...well that makes thinks easier....<br>I am now learning my 8th Language ..:-)

  • Globetrooper Todd said

    Don't spend too many hours in a course per day unless it's purely conversational. A 4 hour per day course goes through way too much to learn and practice before the next day's lesson. We're finding that 2 hours per day covers plenty of material to practice for the rest of the day and the next morning.

  • Vagobond said

    Read every sign you see. Read the signs on the bus. Pick up kids books. Make a small notebook that you write the words you don't know in. Look them up later. Reading is the key. If you can't read the language....learn to!

  • Jared Detroit said

    I found the best way to learn a new language was to learn the basics (hello, goodbye, please, thank you, etc) not only for the phrase but also for the dialect. When I was in Germany I spent a long time studying co-workers in what they would say and how they would say it. For good morning the text books taught me to say "Guten Morgan" but no one says that. Morgan with a long O and a short "an" with an upward inflection was how they said morning.<br><br>When you can say the basics how the locals speak them, it makes it easier to get into conversation with someone and not have them just start speaking English to you.

  • Henry Stivenson said

    Few people know about a pragmatic, efficient way to learn a new language. Those who do, advance in learning steadily and according to their schedule. While most people find themselves learning a new language as a necessity, many others do it because it is fun. It feels more sophisticated to know more than one language. It can be highly beneficial in your life over the long run. However, it is not an easy task to learn a new language no matter whether it is for fun or out of necessity. You've probably seen friends or acquaintances talk about wanting to learn a foreign language, then enthusiastically purchasing products, books, and maybe even enrolling into a course or program, only to ultimately see the reality of the fact that they have failed in their pursuit of learning another language. According to The Guardian, the ICM survey, which questioned 1,001 young people aged 14-24 from across the UK in June this year, paints a picture of a generation perhaps surprisingly open to the prospect of language learning, but often deeply lacking in the confidence of their ability to put their language studies into practice. Three in ten who chose not to study a language at GCSE or A-level say language learning is challenging, with almost half of all those questioned regarding grammar as difficult to learn and 40% seeing memorizing vocabulary as hard work. The research had indicated that A-level languages are perceived as being harder than other subjects and their content is demotivating. Sitting down with a language textbook and trying to teach yourself a new language is not only boring, it takes an inordinate amount of time. It can take months to capture the basics of a particular language. Fluency comes far later. Often, we don’t have the luxury of spending months learning a language. For example, those people who are migrating or taking up a job abroad.
    However as an individual learner or with a tutor, the student can cut down the time it takes him/her to master the basics of a new language. There are methods that can be used to reduce the time it takes.
    Main Essentials of Learning a New Language - They distinguish three main essentials associated with learning a new language; namely the vocabulary, basic sentence elements / patterns, and grammar rules. Vocabulary - the most basic step towards learning a new language is to learn its words. Familiarity with the words will lead you to form sentences. Sentence Patterns and Elements - this has to do with how you ask and answer questions. Making coherent sentences is the way to make someone understand what you are saying. The ability will also help you understand what others are saying and how you might respond. Grammar Rules - Each language has certain rules that need to be followed.
    There is a special type of media developed for the first and second component - a bilingual graded book. Bilingual graded books are also called bilingual graded readers. They offer a parallel translation that allows the user to learn a new language in less time. With the translation on the same page, learners can effortlessly learn what any unfamiliar words mean. They can quickly pick up new vocabulary and phrases that are used over and over in texts of bilingual graded books. When they read a graded bilingual reader, they can pick up chunks of language and vocabulary that they can use in conversation and other real-world applications. It also significantly reduces the amount of time it takes to become conversational in a new language. As you read a bilingual reader, your brain begins to remember words and phrases simply because you are exposed to them several times. You don’t even realize, until you have to recall what you’ve learned, that you have already learned the new words and phrases. Listen to the audio tracks that should always accompany a bilingual graded book to learn how words are said and to improve your overall ability to speak the new language. A good idea is to use the free VLC media player to control the playing speed. You can control the playing speed by decreasing or increasing the speed value on the button of the VLC media player's interface.
    Decide what is better for you a paper book or an e-book. Many of the e-readers by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo have dictionaries pre-loaded on their devices, with options to download additional ones, for free. If you do not have an e-reader, you do not have to buy one, because you can download it as a free app to your phone and use it right away. Writing your own notes, searching or making highlights is ridiculously simple with an e-reader or e-reading app. Anything you do with an e-book is also synced to the cloud, ensuring any change will follow you, no matter what device you are on.
    At first search on Google for "bilingual graded books" or "bilingual graded books for beginners". Choose and buy a book on a suitable topic, for example general, business, medical, culinary, dialogues, students, cooking, family, tourists, detective, short story or whatever you like. Read it for about twenty minutes a day. If you do it every day, you will be surprised how much you can learn in a month's time. Try to use the target language after you have learned for a month. If you don't have an opportunity to talk to native speakers at home or at work/study, use your target language in small talk on Skype or another online chat. Search on Google for "free online clean chat rooms" and pick up the one that suits your interests. Two or three minutes of small talk two or three times a week or more often will give you some motivation and encourage you to learn new questions and answers for new dialogues. Compile a list of questions and answers for your dialogues in a target language or find them on Google with keywords "Bilingual graded books dialogues" and try using them.
    Don't be afraid of making errors. They are your steps to success. You will spot and correct them sooner or later anyway. They will not be for the rest of your life. Better not to talk at all than to talk incorrectly? Wrong! Start talking as much as you can! Your language will improve every time you talk. A learner who knows only a hundred words and isn't shy of talking will progress more quickly than the one who knows a thousand words but remains silent because he or she is afraid of saying something wrong.
    It can usually take you from one to three months to finish a bilingual graded reader at beginner level (A1) and elementary level (A2). The amount of time depends on your previous experience with learning foreign languages and on your personal abilities. At this point you should be able to ask and answer simple questions with the following questioning words: What? Who? Where? When? Which? How many/much? As you improve and become more confident in your ability to use the new language, you can move on to the next reader level and continue your language-learning journey. After using a bilingual graded book for a week or two you are ready to study grammar rules, so buy a good grammar book. A grammar book will satisfy your curiosity about grammar rules awakened by the bilingual graded book. Read the grammar book to find out how you can use your target language more precisely. Follow this order - first read a reading book, then use a grammar book and exercises to make your learning experience uninterrupted.
    Language text with a parallel translation has helped many to uncover their potential for learning multiple languages. Whether you are learning a language as a hobby or for a necessary purpose, you will find such books are supportive. Using them is by far more pragmatic, efficient way to learn a new language than a "learn a language in two weeks" program. However you should frequently use the target language by using bilingual graded books with audio tracks, grammar books, chats, internet pages and even songs to maintain your motivation and progress. Remember - twenty minutes a day does the magic!

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