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Language Learning Tips & Tricks From The Experts

There+are+many+different+ways+to+say+hello%3B+learning+a+new+language+might+just+be+in+your+wheelhouse.+Photo+Credit%3A+Addi+Ogburn
There are many different ways to say hello; learning a new language might just be in your wheelhouse. Photo Credit: Addi Ogburn

It’s common knowledge that learning a foreign language is not easy. Despite this, most schools require it. The majority of people won’t even try to actually learn foreign languages by themselves. Believe it or not, there are ways that will help make learning a language easier. 

I have met with some people who have become fluent in another language and they have plenty of tips to share. Daniel Cardenes Aguilar, who is from Cuba and moved to the U.S. whose first language is Spanish, Paula Bailón Lledo, a foreign exchange student from Spain whose first language is Spanish, Spanish teacher Señora Sies, whose first language is English, French teacher Madam Moré, whose first language is French, and German teacher Frau König, whose first language is German.

No matter what language you are learning, the native speakers are going to have figures of speech, slang and accents. A really good way to combat this is to watch movies. Paula Bailón says, “The movies make the difference,” which makes sense. 

It is a way to hear the language being spoken in the accent that native speakers use. Paula began learning English in school but when she began watching movies in English, she really began to see improvement. Her tip is to start off with easy movies like Disney so that you don’t get frustrated. It may help to start with subtitles in the language you are trying to learn, then your native language, then when you are ready, without any subtitles. 

Paula says, “At first you are not going to understand anything, but I promise that you are going to improve a lot.” Once you gain an understanding for the language you should move to movies that are more relevant to you. If you’re a teenager: watch movies that are from a teenagers point of view. This way you will learn how people your age talk. 

Schools and apps will teach you a more formal way of speaking, however, if you were to talk to native speakers your age they would most likely have a more relaxed way of speaking. You will have good days and bad days, some days you may know less than the day before. It’s ok to take breaks and slow down.

One of the most important parts of learning a language is being able to speak it. Daniel Cardenas Aguilar, a teenage boy originally from Cuba, says that “Just straight up speaking it” was the most helpful technique for him when learning English. He believes that it’s best to “Try your hardest to engage in a conversation.” It is so important to actually apply what you are learning into your daily life. 

It’s ok to not know how to say what you are trying to say, just take your time and don’t get frustrated with yourself. We are lucky that we live in a world where we have resources that can help us figure out what we are trying to say and translate it for us. It is ok to look things up once and a while when you need to but don’t make a habit of it. Speak it at home and whenever you can.

Everyone that I have talked to has agreed that immersing yourself in the culture is the most important part of learning a language. Listening to music, watching movies, reading books, putting your phone on the language you are learning, etc. “If you get a chance to go to a place that speaks the language you are learning, take it.” Paula says. 

Madam Moré says “Being immersed in the language, you can’t beat that.” Señora Seis, Madam Moré, and Frau König all learned best when they were immersing themselves in the language and culture. Daniel and Paula improved and are still improving every day being here in the culture. 

Keep in mind that these methods may not work for everyone. This is not a one-size-fits-all process. Things that helped Paula, like watching movies, didn’t help Daniel. These also may vary on how helpful they are depending on the language. It is best to remember that you won’t learn a language unless you are interested and have the drive to do it. It takes time and consistency, it won’t happen right away and that’s ok. Everyone is different and they have different learning techniques. Some people learn faster than others out of necessity or some kind of force, it’s important not to compare yourself to others’ progress.

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About the Contributor
Addi is a sophomore in highschool. She is super interested in languages and would love to learn more so that she can travel the world. She is very opinionated and very passionate about what she believes in and that gave her the idea to write for The Knight Times.
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Comments (5)

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  • S

    Stephanie OgburnFeb 21, 2024 at 2:58 pm

    Someone else once told me that watching tv in the language you are trying to learn is a great way to learn. Great article!!

    Reply
  • R

    Rickie DayFeb 20, 2024 at 7:57 pm

    I have to agree, immersion, for me is the best way to learn. You have to hear it and speak it to learn it.

    Reply
  • E

    EmmaFeb 20, 2024 at 1:14 pm

    This is actually really helpful, I listen to music in Spanish and I can already see how I’m more educated in the little things!

    Reply
  • L

    LilyFeb 20, 2024 at 12:48 pm

    This is lovely. 10/10.

    Reply
  • P

    Patricia DayFeb 20, 2024 at 7:40 am

    Interesting reading. I never took an added language.

    Reply