Hello, weary wanderer.
How can I tell you’re a weary wanderer, you might ask?
It’s because the ones mainly interested in this post are probably either highschool students desperately trying to raise their grades in the language that they’re taking, or you’re are someone who likes to spend hours studying the subjects they’re interested in.
But enough of my poor mind-reading abilities. You came here for tips and tricks on how to pick up languages, and Aunty Felicity is back on a special celebratory break to give you advice that she wished she had when she was first studying languages. (and why am I suddenly speaking in third person? Very tricksy, the hobbitses are)
Wait! Exactly what have you studied that makes you so qualified to make this post, Aunty Felicity?
What a good question! I’m so proud of my inquisitive nieces and nephews.
And to answer your question- I’ve studied French, Japanese, and Korean. (my strongest language being Japanese)
Its definitely been a huge learning process and I’ve been loving every second of it.
. . . And how good are you at it?
I’ve only been studying off and on for 9 months, so about the best I can do currently is introduce myself, write painfully basic sentences, and pick up the general idea of what’s going on in a conversation. As long as the conversation has a couple of words that I can recognize in it… and they aren’t speaking too fast.
DON’T I DAZZLE YOU WITH MY AMAZING LANGUAGE SKILLS? *throws confetti at you to try to impress you more*
But geez, Felicity. Stop talking about yourself- let the tips and trick commence!
First of all- memorize the basics.
This seems like a “WELL DUH!” moment, but seriously- it helps.
You can’t survive on the romanization for forever. If you’re serious about learning a language and learning it quickly, then do yourself a favor and learn to remember the language’s alphabet or their base system of writing first. Everything else starts to fall in place once you do that.
Not only that, but romanization SUCKS if you’re trying to accurately pronounce stuff in other languages. There are certain incorrect inflections that you’re going to fall into by habit that you can avoid all together if you learn the basics at the start.
Practice typing and writing sentences on paper.
Typing and writing are two different monsters all together. Writing on paper helps you memorize the shapes of the letters and sounds better, while typing helps you form and think things out quickly.
Both are extremely useful tools for different reasons. Especially if you’re wanting to pick up a language where pencil and pen strokes matter.
*cough* Lookin’AtYou,Japanese *cough*
And my advice is to not give into the mental cat that likes to take naps in certain parts of your brain whenever something overwhelms you. You can and will get better at things when you dedicate more time to practice.
Say bye bye to your lazy days- they’re only going to get farther and fewer in between when you dedicate yourself to the pursuit of a language.
Say words out loud.
Scream it like the next door neighbors woke you up with their leaf blower and the construction workers down the street started scraping their bulldozers at 5 in the morning.
No, I’m not sleep deprived at all. Never had these happen to me. Why do you ask? *eye twitches*
Your tongue needs to get used to pronouncing weird syllables and sounds. It’s not going to get any easier if you try to wriggle out of the work by going, “Oh, yeah- I said them in my head, so I’m good for today.”
Don’t do it! Because, ultimately, you’re just creating more work for yourself in the future. Don’t waste your time like that.
If you have someone to practice with, all the better!
Review, then expand.
The key word here is: memorize. You’re doing this so that you will be able to communicate with another culture sometime in the future, not so that you can temporarily survive a test.
Go over problem areas until you’ve nailed them down and keep adding new material for your brain to learn. Find a balance between review and expanding. If you only go over what you know over and over again you’ll become stagnate, but if you only keep adding new words for you to remember then you’ll only remember a couple of odd sentences.
And try learning from different programs and see what works best for you! Youtube, Mango languages, and blog posts are some of my favorite ways to learn Japanese.
Sure, you COULD only do a couple of quizzes to see how many words you remember once a month. But if you dedicated 15 minutes out of 4 days in a week to learning a language, think of how fluent you could be in a month.
That’s at least enough time to be able to read destinations on a map. Or maybe even a couple of road signs. Or, y’know- being able to tell what are curses and what are shouts of joy from your favorite foreign youtuber. (what’s the difference anymore?)
Find medias that you like, and spend time enjoying them.
It’s a sneaky way of re-wiring your brain to think in a different language. At face level it feels like you’re just spending an afternoon with a Kdrama or a reality show, but there are certain things that your brain secretly starts to pick up after awhile. Maybe you’ve noticed it yourself?
One of the biggest tells is that you’re able to predict what someone was going to say, and you’re able to recite it in perfect unison with them.
let’s pretend that this also isn’t a sign that you’ve binged the series and you’ve become addicted to that person. Or you’re able to understand what someone says even without subtitles.
The first time that happened to me while I was watching an anime, I was over the moon about it. I ended up being so pleased with myself that I missed half the episode because I was mentally patting myself on the back the entire time.
So these are some of the tips that I have for you to learn languages quickly! Let me know which ones you’ve been using to help you learn faster, and which ones I DIDN’T mention here but should’ve. I love me some helpful hints to learn quicker as well.
For those of you who know and love me, I want to give a hugeeee THANK YOU for not abandoning my blog. Y’all basically know by now that I pretty much disappear during the summer months here in the USA then return sometime during the beginning of fall. Hopefully that issue will be resolved sometime in the future… but I currently make no promises. (we know how that ends up. LOL)
Thank you for reading to the end of my post!