Learning another language is a great experience! I am currently working on maintaining my proficiency in Spanish and starting to learn the basics of French. As someone who’s been studying Spanish for many years, I’ve accumulated some of my own tips for practicing.
The easiest way is to take a class in either high school or university. However, the challenge comes when you no longer have regular homework and class activities to help you maintain what you’ve learned.
1. Find a friend to practice with
Whether you know someone fluent in the language or someone who knows even less than you, practicing out loud with someone else is the best way to keep up with your language.
2. Read books or watch movies in that language
Subtitles are your best friend! I recommend watching a movie or reading a book that you’re already familiar with so you have a general idea of what the story should be. For example, to practice my Spanish I’m currently reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone translated in Spanish.
3. Don’t be embarrassed to sound stupid or wrong
You’re going to pronounce things wrong. You’re going to mess up the grammar. But don’t quit practicing especially with people who are better than you. If someone who corrects you, they’re only trying to help you get better. So don’t be embarrassed by it.
4. Check out the app Duolingo
The app is free and easy to download onto your phone. You’ll take a quick test to assess your current mastery of the language and then it will design mini lessons to help you learn vocab and grammar in that language. And you can learn multiple languages at a time with the app having a plethora of options. Even just 10 minutes a day can help you improve – that’s how I’m currently learning my French animals and foods 🙂
Being able to speak in a different language is one of my favorite skills to have. I loved ordering coffee in Danish while studying abroad and I love speaking to my coworkers who have immigrated from South America in their native language. But, it does take work. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you in your pursuit of being bi- or multilingual. Please comment with your own experiences and tips, I’d love to hear them!!