Careers & Education

How to learn a new language

By April Hall
Info Guru,

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The world becomes a more interesting place when you learn another language
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In today's global world, being multilingual is not only smart, it is almost coming increasingly vital for professional success. Open any classified section of almost any paper, and you will see many advertisements for bilingual candidates. Public schools have long understood the importance of students learning languages, and have offered foreign language choices for many years. But, if you are already out of school and you want to learn a new language, what exactly are your choices? And, what is the fastest way to learn a new language?

What is the Best Way to Learn a New Language? You will get almost as many answers to this question as there are languages in the world! The fast and easy answer is: whichever way works with both your learning style, and your lifestyle. Like anything else, if you do not enjoy learning the language, it is unlikely you will stick with it. Here are a few of the most popular learning methods (besides taking a class!):
    Rote Memorization Similar to classes taken in school, listening and repeating what you have heard is a process known as "rote memorization". While this term has taken some negative connotation in recent years, it actually has some benefits. If you are an academic personality, and you easily memorize information, this might be a method you should try. You can visit your local library and probably find CD's that will guide you through language memorization; so this is also a cheap way to learn a new language. However, be aware that rote memorization really needs to be combined with another method to effectively teach you how to actually converse in the language. Usually rote memorization includes translation practice, as well

    Visiting a Language School If you enjoy international travel, and have a few weeks to spare during the year, you may consider enrolling in a language school that focuses on the language you want to learn. According to, since students in these schools are completely immersed in the new language and culture this is perhaps the most effective way to learn a new language. These schools are becoming more and more popular with people who not only want to learn the grammar of a new language, but also the culture and correct pronunciation. The costs of these schools may be prohibitive for many people, but for some, it is a great option.

Making Use of Popular Media/Friends Okay, don't laugh at this suggestion! Many people who learned English as a second language will tell you that much of what they learned, they learned from television. Try turning your set to popular foreign language stations and watching the images as you listen to the words. Linguists will tell you that this is the way we learn our first language—we listen to word and intuitively associate their meaning with the images we are seeing. When someone on the screen greets a friend, we learn the word for hello. If there is a romantic moment, we learn how to say I love you.

Also, don't be embarrassed to ask your friends who speak another language as their native tongue to practice conversations with you. They will probably enjoy it, and it is a great, safe environment in which to practice your language skills.
    It is commendable that you have the desire to learn a new language! That shows that you want to be an integral part of this new, international environment, and that you are a lifelong learner. You will be able to find all types of tapes, CD's, DVD's, and videos to help you acquire the language; but more than anything, you will need determination. Learning a new language is a difficult endeavor, but it is one that will benefit you for a lifetime.

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