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Learning a second language is a useful skill, so here are tips to help you hit the ground running. Photo by Pixabay (CC0)

For some people, being fluent in their native language and understanding a few foreign words or phrases is enough, and there is nothing completely wrong with that. Some, however, prefer learning foreign languages for different reasons, which is a skill that has proven itself to be quite advantageous countless times. And if you’re reading this, chances are, you’re like the latter.

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Learning a new language helps open up so many opportunities, both personal and professional. Photo by Pixabay (CC0)

Speak with the best of them!

Truth is, learning a foreign language is more than just a nifty party trick that you can use to impress your friends, and actually has multiple benefits, both personal and professional. For starters, there’s the obvious advantage that being able to speak multiple languages opens so many opportunities for communicating and connecting with different people, both socially and culturally.

Learning a foreign language also opens doors for your professional career. This is because communication is one of the biggest global “currencies” that we have, and being an employee with mastery in such a skill improves your marketability, distinguishability, appeal to global companies and overall knowledge. It’s what separates you from the fray, and it’s what you will be using to further yourself up in the ladder.

The problem, however, is that some people believe that the barrier of entry for learning a new one is hard. Add the popular myth that only young children are capable of learning a new language and it’s enough to discourage people from even trying.

Of course, learning a whole new language with its own set of rules, context and nuances isn’t a walk in the park, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. In fact, with most of us still working at our homes, now is the perfect time to test the waters and learn a new language altogether.

So with that in mind, here are some tried-and-tested tips that will hopefully point you in the right direction.

1. Follow your heart

This should apply in the type of language that you want to learn, and will also play a role in whether that interest and motivation will carry forward, or sizzle out and leave you bored. This should also help you gauge the difficulty level of what language you want to learn.

Because Spanish may be an easier language to learn than French, but if your heart is set on learning the latter, then you’ll find yourself more motivated.

2. Know your motivation, and commit!

This may sound like an obvious one, but keeping your motivation for learning a language plays a part in the long run as well, no matter what it may be. The motivation may be to make friends with other people in their native language, or to widen your skill set for your career, but what’s important is to commit to it.

So sit down for a moment, think about why you really want to learn a certain language, and focus your energy on making that come true. Knowing your motivation will also help you decide better on what you want to get from learning a foreign language.

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Whatever the motivation for learning a new language is, you should commit to it until you reach your goals. Photo by Pixabay (CC0)

3. Travel!

Traveling to a foreign place and immersing yourself with its people and trying to converse with them in their language is exciting, enriching, and will give you hands-on experience in how these people really communicate. Language, after all, is not purely by speaking. There’s also body language, gestures, and other nuances that help tell the bigger story.

It might be a bit difficult to pull this off at the moment. So until then, you might consider…

4. Enrolling in a specialized program/class

This is probably the easiest way to learn a foreign language, as not only is it focused, but it will also provide you with expert instructors and all the resources you need in order to progress consistently.

And while there are many language programs out there, Pimsleur is easily one of the best online course providers that can serve you today.

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Some of Pimsleur's features, all of which are intended to help you learn a new language easier and organically.

Established nearly 50 years ago by accomplished academic Dr. Paul Pimsleur, the company uses a scientifically proven set of principles called the Pimsleur method (and developed by the Dr. himself) to help take students directly to the heart of the language, eliminating any information overload, noise and confusion. This includes Pimsleur’s research in memory retention, interval recall, the principle of anticipation, core vocabulary, and organic learning, which makes for a program that breaks down every language and lets you learn it organically.

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Pimsleur only requires 30 minutes of your day everyday to help you learn a language.

The program itself is made for the modern world, as Pimsleur combines their known method with the easy and interactivity of today’s language learning apps, giving you:

  • 30-minute core lessons - which you can take anywhere, or even do at home with Alexa.
  • Reading lessons - which adds another layer of learning.
  • Speak easy challenge - which lets you role play your written transcripts.
  • Digital flash cards - that helps you practice your vocabulary.
  • Speed Round games - that lets you test your skills via a quick-paced game.
  • Uninterrupted learning - which lets you stream live or download lessons,
  • and so much more!

Through this (and only 30 minutes a day), you’ll be well on your way to learning your new language in no time, all at your own time and convenience. Have some downtime? Use it to listen to a lesson. Missed a live stream? Free your schedule at night and then watch a downloaded offline version. However your day goes, Pimsleur makes itself so accessible so as to fit your schedule more, and removing any hurdles that might make learning harder.

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The Pimsleur method is a set of scientific principles that will help you get to the heart of a new language.

At the moment, Pimsleur offers language lessons for over 50+ languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese, and many more. For those that want to first test the waters, Pimsleur offers a free lesson which you can learn about here, while those that want to dive straight in will be glad to know that Pimsleur’s 30-day course that lets you speak at an intermediate level starts at only $150, with a money-back guarantee. Learn more about it here.

The company also offers an affiliate program, as well as marketing opportunities. You can also request a language that's not included here.

5. Use Intensive Immersion by finding your saturation point

While programs like Pimsleur are incredibly helpful in teaching you a new language, the ultimate goal is to be able to speak and understand it fluently, so the next step is to use it.

Enter the power of intensive immersion, which you can do after finding your saturation point, or the opportunities where you can best absorb knowledge.

A tried-and-tested technique for many, the trick here is to not ease up one bit on your target language, and incorporate it into your everyday life. This means setting your phone’s language to your target language, listening to the news and music in that language, and even just speaking the language. Create a period of relentless study where you have no choice but to practice the language, and it will get easier in no time.

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Willingly putting yourself in situations where you will be forced to practice a language will help you progress a lot. Photo by Pixabay (CC0)

Consider every minute of your day as a prime time to practice. Inevitably, you will feel tired of it, which is then the optimal time to start thinking and responding in the target language. Heck, talk to yourself if you can. It may sound counter-productive, but the point here is to keep acquiring new knowledge and then making an opportunity to use and practice. In fact, doing so actually conditions your mind to get used to the language better, and many learners have found this trick very useful.

However, do value fluency over accuracy, as well as usability over thoroughness. While learning the technicalities of a language is important, being able to accurately express yourself and communicate better in your target language is more useful in the long run.

So there you go, easy tips that will help you hit the ground running in no time when it comes to speaking a new language. It may not always be easy, but it’s still an incredibly useful, rewarding, and enriching skill to have, so don’t give up!