Are you tired of sitting at home and not having anything else to do than to stare at your phone all day? I have something fun for you and yeah it’s learning a new language. It’s so much fun when you begin to unravel the technicalities of a new language until you slowly reach a level of total understanding. What if I told you can take yourself from zero level knowledge of any language to a boss level where you can boldly add the language to your resume as one of the languages you speak and all self-taught. I have followed a couple of polyglots (people who speak more than 5 languages) for a while now and have gathered resources for which they have used to attain fluency of which I’m applying also.
In my language learning, it all started with ni hao (hello/ how are you in Chinese), my love for Chinese culture immediately forced me to learn more than their culture at just 13yrs of age. At that age, I didn’t understand the fundamentals of really learning a language, I was quickly overwhelmed as the technicalities of the Chinese language overcame me and so I quit, sadly. The reason which I now understand, you can’t get it all at once. Fluency takes patience, practice and consistency. These three things are all you basically need to learn any language. You have to learn to be patient with yourself because you’re going to get it wrong so many times and it’s going to make you want to quit.
Now let me tell you a story of some incident that happened to me while I was learning Spanish, I was opportune to meet a Spaniard once and it was for a school event where I had to say the rosary in Spanish.
At that time I had already started teaching my self Spanish, I was totally immersed in the language like Hola mi amigos which was great, before this incident I was so confident of my little knowledge of Spanish that I thought I could pass, on any conversation.
The Spaniard who was fascinated at the girl who has never been to Spain but somehow could read Spanish well, the nice lady tried to start a conversation with me, I was feeling like this is my chance to finally put all I have been learning to test. Do you know what happened next?
I froze, I could understand her cause it was just basic questions you would ask someone you’re just meeting for the first time and that’s one of the first things you learn in any language (how to introduce yourself). After I froze, I took to answering her in English instead of in Spanish and it wasn’t a case that I didn’t know what to say or how to say it in Spanish, I did but I just froze
. It was like at that moment English was just safe. Another moment was when she thanked me for the help and all saying, mucho gracias that’s thank you very much, but I responded with ‘bien’ instead of ‘de nada’ which is ‘you’re welcome’. I knew it but at that moment I forgot. My reply was really rude which sucked and got to me really bad.
I learnt that I needed to be more confident and less comfortable, also pushing myself to practice more. Consistency is the key if you keep on doing all this, you’re on your way to fluency.
Five steps to take when learning any language and resources
Learn the alphabets of the language – by learning the alphabet and knowing how each sound would help you a lot in pronunciation, spelling and reading.
Learn basic things in the language like personal pronouns, numbers, prepositions I.e I, at, to, for, they, we, you, she, he etc.
Build up your vocabulary, learn verbs ib their purest form (to go, to be)
Learn the grammar structure, how to make a sentence, how to conjugate ( turn verbs to their past, present, future, continuous and so), how to quantify.
Practise every day and repeat steps 3 and 4 continuously. You can take at least 2hrs out of your day to practise and review over what you’ve previously learnt.
Now the resources
The ones I’m going to give are the ones that can just take you up to an intermediate level in any language which are free, but if you want to go further you would have to pay for some packages, online tutor with native speakers and the likes.
I’ve used Memrise ( they have a web and an app available for android and ios users). This is the top of my list cause this app will help you learn new words, track your memory of them, help you to practice and use the words.
Anki- an online flashcard maker, you can add new words onto there and it helps you to practise them, so you don’t forget. It has an app and a software you can install on pc
Lingodeer ( also an app), it’s really great for asian languages.
Hellotalk is an app where you can meet native speakers and interact. It’s kind of a language exchange where you teach the other your native language and then you’re taught also the language you are learning. I have used this app a lot, it even has corrections and translations, I don’t do it justice enough explaining it here.
Youtube is also a great resource too to add. So many free and fun language learning channels. Remember to keep it simple don’t bombard yourself with information, otherwise, it’s going to get overwhelming, wear you out and have you quit in no time. Just have at least one or two channels for your lessons and stick to them, till you exhaust all they have to offer before you seek out other sources.
For grammar, you’d have to do a little bit of work searching on google ebooks that teach grammar in your language of choice. If you’re lucky you may find one for free. Some of these apps offer grammar along the way but not as much as a book would.
These are the few things I have used and has helped me a lot in my language learning journey, I like to keep it simple cause I have observed too many resources can become conflicting and stressful to keep up with.
To help in practice I get games in that language that help me play around with words and also learn more, this you can find on your app store.
In conclusion, it doesn’t just take doing steps 1-5 only you have to be ready to immerse yourself in the said language by watching their movies, listening to the songs or speeches, reading books in the language. That way you get to see new words that you can learn and add to your vocabulary as you would in your native language. Movies and music helps with your listening skill, how well you can understand just by listening and reading helps with your reading. I can read Spanish better than I can hear which was because I didn’t properly immerse myself in the language.
With all these, I know you’re on a good start to learning a new language. I challenge you to pick that language you’ve always wanted to learn, give yourself two weeks and you’d be amazed at how much you’d learn.
Which Language would you be learning?, let me know in the comments
Are you already learning a language?, let me know how it’s going for you.
I Am Yeka Asumah,
An ordinary girl from Nigeria with big dreams.
I love to write, read, learn and try new things every day. I enjoy the ability to air my voice out, expressions and being able to inspire people with my little thoughts. I hope to one day create an atmosphere where people can drop their challenges and together help solve them... I am on a journey to success and greatness. I would like for you to join me on that journey.