The start of a new year can launch a new beginning, an opportunity to make changes that will improve our lives in some way. Common New Year’s resolutions include changes to diet and exercise regimes, taking up new hobbies or interests, travelling more or simply spending more time with family and friends. But did you know that learning a new language is also high up the popularity list?
In fact January sees an uptake in language courses, both online and in the classroom. Sales of language text books and downloads of language courses apps also see an upturn. It seems the challenge of learning a new language appeals to many, but trying to maintain the interest can prove difficult for many, with surveys showing that up to third of people fail to stick to their resolutions.
If you’ve decided to take up a new language, here are our top 5 tips to help you keep your resolution
- Set realistic goals. It’s so easy to get carried away initially and try to do too much and later get discouraged when you are not able to maintain it. Our recommendation is slow and steady, ensuring you are comfortable with the time limits and goals you set.
- Make use of phrasebooks. Whilst phrasebooks won’t help you with ‘natural conversations’ you’ll be able to practice essential phrases that will help you to survive the most common situations. These set phrases mean that you don’t even need to learn any grammar rules to start communicating. They’ll give you some key vocabulary that you’ll be able to build on and as these set phrases are easy to learn, you learn quickly.
- Plan a trip. Motivation can be an issue especially when you don’t need to use your newly acquired skills in your everyday environment. Organising a trip in near future to a country where your target language is spoken is a fun way to keep the motivation going, especially if you’re able to organise short but frequent trips. This may not always be feasible, but if you can it’s definitely worth it, but don’t be too shy to use your newly acquired language skills!
- Identify a time slot for your language learning. If you’ve decided to take a language course at a school or college, you’ve already put aside a time slot for your learning but what about the extra study? And for those of us who choose to take an online course, study via an app or a text book at home, creating that identifiable time slot is crucial. The time slot may only be 10-15 minutes, but make it regular something that can fit easily into your daily/weekly routine.
- Find a language buddy. Talking regularly with a language buddy is a great way to maintain your motivation as well as experiencing how ‘real’ people speak the language, learn more about the local culture and perhaps make a great friendship along the way. It’s easier than you think to find a language buddy too with a host of websites and language exchange apps out there offering to link you up. Here are just a few of the websites and apps that offer Language Exchange services : Conversation Exchange, Speaky, Easy Language Exchange
We’d love to know how you get on. Let us know which of the categories you fall into and what language you are learning:
- Uh-oh! Less than a month
- Hardly trying! 2-3 months
- Giving it a go! 4- 6 months
- Not bad! 7-9 months
- Top of the class! 10 months +