Tips on learning languages on your own

By Frederik De Vos

"One always has enough time, if one uses it well."
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Self-instruction with a good language course can be a wonderful and flexible way to learn a language. However, unlike classroom courses or a fixed appointment with a tutor, you will have to decide for yourself when and how you'll go about it. Here are a few tips to learn a language effectively.

1. Make learning the language a part of your daily routine.

The easiest way to fit it into your daily life, is to do it before something you wouldn't forget to do, such as eating dinner or watching TV. You might want to place a note next to your TV or on your dining table to remind yourself in the beginning.

There are many advantages to spending 15 to 30 minutes on your language learning every day:

2. Listen to the audio recordings whenever you can, such as while doing the dishes, on the way to work, or taking a relaxing bath.

3. Put post-its in your bathroom with words you keep forgetting until you know them by heart.

4. Write down the sentences in a notebook and repeat them out loud while learning. It activates other parts of your brain and helps you remember via 4 sensory channels rather than 2 or 3 — hearing, reading, repeating aloud and copying on paper.

5. If you live in the Philippines, take a small notebook with you to write down new words, which you can look up later. Review your list once in a while to refresh your memory.

6. Keep it fun and light. Remember, this will make your life more enjoyable, even if you make a lot of mistakes!

Of all the tips above, tip #1 is by far the most important for language learning.

Is there anything you're doing that you'd like to share? We'd like to hear it!

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