Best Way to Learn a New Language in 2020
Learning a new language is like going on a long journey: how you reach the end destination matters just as much as the destination itself. If this is your first time learning a new language, you’re probably unsure how to approach this seemingly monumental task because there are so many different approaches to language learning promising guaranteed results.
The fact is that there’s no single best way to learn a new language because all language learners are different. That’s why we describe not one but five ways to learn a new language, leaving it up to you to pick which one you prefer.
Benefits of Learning a New Language
According to a Czech proverb, you live a new life for every new language you speak. Even in our globalized world, this proverb reflects the fact that learning a new language comes with many wonderful and potentially life-changing benefits, including:
- Access to more job opportunities: A Confederation of British Industry survey revealed that 74 percent of employers find multilingual employees to be more attractive than employees who speak just one language.
- Deeper connection with other cultures: It’s impossible to truly understand a different culture and its people unless you speak their language. Each and every language has certain words and phrases that can’t be translated in a satisfactory way in any other language because they gain meaning from the traditions, religions, arts, and history of the people who use them.
- More vacation destination possibilities: There are around 2 billion English speakers in the world. If you never learn any other language besides English, you will have a very hard time communicating with the remaining 5.5 billion people who don’t speak English, which greatly limits your vacation destination possibilities.
- Improved memory and attention span: Multiple studies have linked multilingualism with improved memory and attention span, better problem-solving skills, and boost in creativity. It seems that learning a new language is one of the best forms of exercise for the brain.
New acquaintances and friends: The more languages you know, the more people you can connect with—it’s as simple as that. Being welcomed with open arms by acquaintances and friends from around the world is a wonderful feeling and powerful source of motivation for all language learners.
Best Ways to Learn a New Language Fast
Let’s take a closer look at five best ways how to learn a new language. To determine which one of them will likely work best for you, think about your language-learning goals and motivation.
Would you like to move to a different country, or are you interested in learning a new language just so you can find a better job at home? Are you willing to study for several hours a day, or would you rather take things slower? All these and other questions are useful when selecting the best language-learning approach.
If you have the chance to visit a country where your target language is spoken, go for it because that’s by far the easiest way to learn a new language. When you’re forced to interact with locals on a daily basis, your brain automatically shifts into language-learning mode.
Even without any conscientious effort, you start to pick up vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. After less than a month, many people who regularly interact with the locals see a greater improvement of their language skills than they would after a year of studying at home.
Find a Language Exchange Partner
It has never been easier to find a language exchange partner—all thanks to the internet. It doesn’t matter where you live and which language you want to learn, you’re guaranteed to find someone who would like to be your partner on popular language exchange sites, such as Conversation Exchange, Speaky, or My Language Exchange.
You and your language exchange partner can message each other, video chat, or play online games together. Just make sure that you both enjoy the activity and that you get many opportunities to practice the target language.
Learn with Your Smartphone
What would language learners 20 years ago give for a modern smartphone? You can use it to quickly look up words in a dictionary, communicate with your language exchange partner, or study with a language learning app like Encore!!!
With Encore!!!, you can immerse yourself in the target language everywhere and at any time. The app comes with a massive library with over 3,000 unique words. The library is organized into convenient playlists, and Encore!!! also gives you the option to add your own content and create customized playlists based on your unique goals.
You can get started with Encore!!! for free, but there’s also a premium version (available as a one-time purchase) with additional features and access to the full Encore!!! content library. All this and more makes Encore!!! one of the best apps to learn a new language.
Watch, Listen, and Read in Your Target Language
When learning a new language, the role of language input should never be underestimated. Essentially, input is everything you hear or read in the target language, and it includes movies, music, books, video games, the internet, and more.
To maximize the benefits of language input, select content that’s slightly above your current proficiency level, preferably something you really enjoy, and let your brain do the hard work for you while you have fun. With an app like Encore!!!, you can effortlessly maximize the amount of language input you receive throughout the day and customize it based on your goals and needs.
Enroll in a Language Course
Language courses are one of the best ways to learn a new language for people who dislike creating their own lesson plans and being responsible for their own progress. How long does it take to learn a new language with them? That depends strongly on which language course you choose. Some courses can be quite intensive, while others progress at a much slower pace.
The quality of any course goes hand in hand with the quality of the instructor, but other factors come into play as well. For example, language courses that take place in small groups almost always provide better results than courses where individual students barely get any chance to speak or ask questions.
Best Tips on How to Learn a New Language by Yourself
If you’ve decided to learn a new language by yourself, the five tips below will help you overcome all obstacles and progress faster than you ever thought possible.
Practice Every Day
Even the best way to learn a new language won’t help you achieve your goals unless you practice every day, or at least as often as possible. Of course, you don’t need to attend a language course or study from a textbook on a daily basis—any form of practice counts! You can watch movies, listen to music, read captivating books, talk with your friends, and much more. As long as it happens in the target language, you’re making progress.
Keep It Relevant
Hopefully, you’re learning a language to be able to use it one day in your life. When researching how to learn a new language, people often forget that they should keep their learning as relevant as possible. Instead, they start learning words based on their usage frequency, memorizing phrases they would never use in real life just because they are included in a popular textbook, and so on. Instead of following someone else’s footsteps, use a customizable language learning app like Encore!!! and create your own study plan.
Learning a new language sometimes feels like running a race without a finish line. By regularly testing yourself using standardized tests, you get to see how much you’ve progressed and how far you still need to go. Tests can also give you valuable feedback on how to learn a new language more efficiently, highlighting areas you still struggle with. You may even find out that what you thought was the best way to learn a new language doesn’t actually produce desirable results.
Even native speakers make mistakes from time to time, such as using words that don’t fit the context. It doesn’t matter if you follow the best way to learn a new language or the worst, you will make mistakes and lots of them, so embrace them and see them as valuable learning opportunities.
We’ve left the most important element of how to learn a new language for last: fun. Learning a new language should be above everything else a fun experience so don’t ruin it for yourself by sticking with approaches that bore you or simply don’t work for you.
In this article, we’ve answered the essential question all language learners have asked themselves at some point: What is the best way to learn a new language? Now it’s up to you to select one or more of the five approaches listed in the article and embark on your language-learning journey. Keep in mind that the journey itself is just as important as the end destination, so make sure you have a lot of fun along the way.