How to make language learning stick.

  • Know what your goals are

It’s important to know exactly why you are learning your chosen language and for what purpose.  Maybe you have no choice – you have to do it at school – but then narrow down your goals to short term ones such as get through the term without falling behind or get ready for the next assessment.

Or maybe you are preparing for a specific exam such as GCSE or IELTs?

You need to know exactly what skills you will need to pass the exam and work out where your strength and weaknesses are.

  • Study trumps

What I mean here is the amount of time you can spend studying in any week. For example, studying a language for 15 minutes a day  for a month is much more beneficial than an hour a day for 2 months. Learning a a language and remembering what you have learnt requires regular repetition over time . This is the method Duolingo works from which I also recommend as a complement to your studying, you may find that it really helps motivate you.

  • Spend time on the most useful stuff

By this I mean focus on the most common words  – this makes sense as they are the ones you will use and come across the most.Start with the 100 most common words and then make sentences with them over and over again. Learn just enough grammar to be able to do this and do it until you feel pretty comfortable with all of them. Then you’ll have the satisfaction of being able to say exactly what you want. Studies have shown that the most common 100 words in any language account for 50% of all spoken communication.

  • How do you say …X…? (in the language you are learning)  is probably the most useful phrase you will need to know. Find this out and put it into practice!
  • Keep practising new stuff in your head

When you learn a new word, try to use it straight awayWhen you stop and look up a new word in conversation, make a point to use it in the next two or three sentences you say. Language learning studies show that you need to hit a certain amount of repetitions of saying a word within one minute of learning it, one hour of learning it, one day, etc. Try to use it immediately a few times and then use it again later in the day. Chances are it’ll stick

Keep it fun!! Learning will stick if you are enjoying it and it is possible to enjoy learning a new language and feeling great at each small step that you get right.  If you find an app that you like, then use it!  Listen to pop songs to familiarize your ear to the sound and the rhythm of the language.


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