10 Tips for Faster Language Learning Online

Nov 11, 2019 by

Learning a new language opens up a whole new world! With online language learning programs within your reach, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start learning a language today.

Here are 10 tips to help you learn a new language faster while learning online.

#1 Be Consistent

The biggest obstacle between you and learning a language is time. Investing less time in learning will make it difficult to catch on, while investing more time is going to pay off with faster language acquisition. Just like any other skill, you need to put in consistent learning and practice time to see good results. For online learners, that means being disciplined to do your course work, since there are no physical classes to attend or classmates to spur you on.

Practice consistently. Put in the time up front to learn so you can begin mastering the language as quickly as possible. If you dedicate consistent time to lean from the start, you’re more likely to be able to speak and understand quickly, whereas the less time you dedicate in the beginning, the more likely you are to forget as you go.

#2 Build Up Conversation Skills Quickly

Don’t wait until you feel like you’re ready to speak. The reality is that there’s never a magical moment where you’ll feel confident speaking if you’ve only been learning in an isolated environment. You’ll only ever feel confident communicating in a language if you start using the basics you learn as you go.

#3 Put Your Pride Away

Learning a language as an adult can feel very silly at times. Going back to speaking like a child is humiliating, but it’s necessary in the beginning until you can build up a level of comfort with the language. The good news is, with repetition and consistent practice, you’ll be able to improve quickly enough to get to a place where you feel more comfortable. Little victories along the way help build your confidence as you go, especially when you know where you started!

#4 Look for Immersion Opportunities

As an elearner, immersion is very important for your success in any language. Immersion doesn’t have to come from travel or extended stays in areas of the world that speak the language you’re learning. You can immerse yourself in it daily by just absorbing different media in that language.

For common languages, it’s very simple to find TV shows, music, and even movies in that language online. With movies, if the movie isn’t originally in the language you’re learning, there are dubbed versions that work just as well. Reading books, articles, blogs, and other media can also help you get some exposure, though audio books are probably a better fit for early stage learners.

The point is to get as much practice as possible listening to the language being spoken. Listen for discernible patterns of speech, accents, and words so you can learn to speak and understand your chosen language more comfortably.

#5 Seek Out Native Speakers

Learning online doesn’t mean you can’t find some people to practice your new language with. You need native speakers to help you acquire the right accent, speech patterns, idioms, and the little nuances of the language. No online program can teach you exactly how to speak like a local, since language and speech tend to evolve quickly all around the world.

When you’re learning online, you have a lot of options to find native speakers. You can seek out a simple language tutor to do short weekly sessions over Skype, or look for local communities in your area that speak the language. Even if you’re learning 100% online, you’ll be able to find a native speaker willing to chat with you if you look in the right places!

#6 Speech First, Grammar Later

It’s tempting to dive right into the grammar, sentence structure, and vocabulary memorization. However, it’s easier and more encouraging to start with conversation, speaking, and audible comprehension first. Hit the books long enough to learn the basics you need to greet, ask simple questions, and get around a few specific contexts. From there, start speaking to others and build your skills that way.

Once your reach some level of comfort with spoken language, move back to the books to polish up what you’ve learned. Speaking and listening will give you some foundation for grammar, but you should refine it with grammar studies if you want to keep improving to mastery.

#7 Set Realistic Goals

Some people can learn new languages at lightning speed, while others take longer. Set learning goals that make sense for your life. If you have a lot of other commitments that will pull you away from language practice, don’t expect yourself to be conversational within a month.

Having realistic goals along the way is going to keep you motivated to continue. Failing to reach your unrealistic goals will discourage you and may kill your excitement to learn. Track your progress, so you know how far you’ve come in the time you’ve been learning.

#8 Choose Related Languages

Depending on what your first language is, it can be easier to learn a few specific second languages. You can learn any if you work at it enough, but you’ll have an easier time with languages that are related to your first language in some way.

Since you’re reading this in English, you’re likely a native English speaker, or at least fluent. The easiest languages to learn for English speakers are Spanish, French, Norwegian, Dutch, and Portuguese. This list may surprise you, but all these languages are grammatically simple for English speakers, widely spoken in areas where English is also spoken, have resources available, and have a similar alphabet to English.

#9 Anyone Can Learn a New Language!

There’s a widespread belief that children are naturally better language learners than adults. While there is a little biological help for children in the way their brains grow and develop, adult learners in controlled studies were shown to surpass children in terms of actually learning new languages. It turns out that people of all ages can learn new languages, with adults often being better at it than children are.

The problem of language learning as an adult usually boils down to social and environmental factors more than biological factors. Adults have other responsibilities and have likely built their social/work/family lives using their native language. Whereas young children exposed to new languages pick them up quickly, it’s more out of necessity for communication rather than any other outstanding factors.

No matter how old you are, you can absolutely learn a new language.

#10 Don’t Take It Personally

When you’re learning a new language, you need feedback from native speakers or teachers to help you speak it properly. Feedback and criticism are sometimes hard to take and might make you feel bad about yourself at first, but you need to learn to accept them and apply the recommendations. Take it as a helpful suggestion about how you can improve and try not to let it get you down!

Got an upcoming vacation, semester abroad, business trip, or other international exposure? Time to start learning a new language! Using these tips, you’ll be speaking comfortably faster than you imagined.

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