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Learning a New Language as an Adult

Several studies have shown that learning a new language is easier for children than for adults. Some of those even say that after the age of 18 you will not be able to achieve native-like proficiency in any foreign language. People over the age of 18 can learn a foreign language, quickly, easily and as effectively as any kid.
learning a new language as an adultThere are numerous differences between the learning process of an adult and the learning process of a child. Not being afraid to make a mistake, fail and sound foolish is the biggest advantage the kids have over us. Children don’t have superpowers for learning new languages. They are just not afraid. So, if you are moving to a new country and you want to learn the local language, our only tip is to act more like a child. Accept that you will sound foolish, make mistakes and have a lot of misunderstandings at the beginning, but you will reach your goal in no time and you will laugh about it all very soon.

Learning a language is a lifelong process and there are several phases that you will go through, but the most important thing is to keep your goal in mind all the time. Your goal is to start thinking in the target language without effort. At the very beginning, you will know several individual words and you will not be able to understand anything. After a while, you will realize that you can understand much more then you can speak, after that you will get to the conversation level and the rest will come by itself. Once you stop translating words in your head, you will know that you have achieved your goal and now you are ready to contact your movers.

10 Steps for Learning a New Language as an Adult:

1. Learn the 100 most common words

Let’s assume you are starting from scratch. Make a list of 100 most common and most used words and start there. This is the great first step for learning a new language. You will easily find the 100 words, you will hear them and use them all the time and you will be able to remember them quickly. You don’t need to make things complicated with grammar rules just yet, you can simply start with 100 most common words, learn enough grammar to combine them and use them in different sentences over and over again.

According to many studies, 100 most common words account for 50% of all spoken language, 1000 most common words for 80% and 3000 for 99% of spoken communication. Keep in mind that you can not simply learn those 100 words and stop there, you need to aim for conversation, you need to combine them and use them constantly, find different ways of starting conversations on target language and repeat those words daily.

This is a great step for people who are moving to another country. Language classes and courses have a tendency to focus on specific groups of words, and those words may not be as useful as you think. When you move to a new country, you won’t need to know lists of jobs or furniture, you will need to know how to start a basic conversation, ask for directions and respond to the most common questions.

2. Learn the commonly used sentences and phrases

As mentioned before, memorizing individual words is fine for the first step, but you need to use them in conversation. Your second step is to learn the most common phrases, questions, and responses. At this point, you still don’t have to worry about the grammar rules, by using the most common phrases you are also learning the structure of the sentences, and you will be able to put those 100 words into the structures of the most common phrases. Repeat and combine constantly, find one phrase and simply change nouns and verbs.

3. One-on-one tutoring and conversations

When it comes to language lessons, classes and courses, the most efficient way of learning a new langue is one-on-one tutoring. This is also the most expensive way, but if you can afford it you definitely should. If not, you can have one-on-one conversations with regular people. This is also one of the most efficient ways, because even though you don’t have the guidance from a teacher, you have your own investment and motivation to keep the conversation going, and you will be able to learn a lot of new words, phrases and structures form the person you are talking to, and you will also try harder to create your own sentences and remember more words.

Remember, the more important the person you are talking to the bigger the effort. After all, motivation is the most important thing about learning a new language.

4. Find an online learning partner

If you are not surrounded by people who are speaking your targeted language you can always find a learning partner online. There are numerous apps and websites where you can practice languages with people. There is a great number of people who will practice their native language with you in exchange for you practicing your native language with them. This is a great opportunity to meet new people who share the same interest, and you can even make friends with locals from your new country before hiring a moving company. Take a look at the list of the most popular language exchange apps and websites:

language learning apps

Language Exchange Apps:

HelloTalk
Tandem
Hello Pal
Italki
Bilingua
Idyoma
NiceTalk Tutor
Speaky

Language Exchange Websites:

HelloLingo
Conversation Exchange
Reddit

using the language

 5. Use the language

This is not the step as much as the simple reminder. You can not hack the language learning process but you can make it much faster, a conversation is the most important tool and step of a language learning process. According to several studies, one hour of conversation in the targeted language is as efficient as 10 hours of a language course.

6. Intensify learning process

Learning а new language requires a lot of time, focus and dedication. The language learning process is all about consistent commitment, a lot of conversation and repetition. This means that you will benefit much more from shorter intense periods of learning than from long courses with once in a week classes.

books and movies7. Read books, watch movies, listen to songs, radio, and podcasts

If you are moving to a new country you will want to learn about culture, history, current trends, and topics. The best way to this is to start listening to radio stations and podcasts and to watch movies and read famous books. Apart from learning about your new country you can also use this as a tool for learning a language, you can start by reading some of your favorite books translated on the target language, watch movies without subtitles and find your favorite local bands. Read song lyrics and translate them. Radio stations and podcasts are a very efficient way of learning a new language because they are mostly created for fluent speakers and you will need to try hard to understand and catch up with them.

8. Learn the slang

We all know that there is a big difference between a classroom and real-world vocabulary, and since you are moving to the new country and you aim to sound like a native, you will need to learn the slang. Using the slang words will make you sound more casual, it will help you start a random conversation and it will help you understand the locals better. Slang words will give authenticity to every conversation, and you will assimilate into a new culture with ease.

9. Practice all the time

The final step in learning a new language is to start thinking in it. Try to construct sentences in the target language when you are lone, use the language whenever you can and wherever you can!

10. Carry a pocket dictionary

After your move you can carry a pocket dictionary for the first few months, this will help you stay calm knowing that even if you don’t remember the word you can look it up. Don’t rely on it too much, carry it as a reminder that you are still learning and that it is fine if you still don’t know all the words, but try not to use it if it is not an emergency.

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Our final advice is to keep learning fun. If you want to become a fluent speaker, you will have to be dedicated to learning and you will need to make it fun. Make it personal, talk about the things that are important to you, talk with people you think you will care about, make friends and connections, relate your new language to important things. The beauty of learning a language lies in the fact that it is never over, every language is evergrowing and you are becoming a part of something huge.