Student Blog: How to learn a language

This week English Language Centre York's upper-intermediate class write their guide on how to become a legendary language learner! 

Do you find it hard to learn a language? Don’t know where to begin? Follow our step-by-step blog together with useful tips on how to successfully learn a language. We can guarantee that after you have read this blog, you will be able to overcome your difficulties.

Top tips on how to learn a language

With these tips we hope we can help people who want to learn a new language, to have a successful process by our own experience. But, before we start giving you the main advice or tips, here is (in my opinion), the most important one, which is avoid using your mother language when you start the process. Why? Cause how do you think you will learn without doing this? I mean, It’s better for you. Let’s imagine: You are in a foreign county, Spain for example and you are a native Chinese speaker. If you avoid using Chinese and try to use Spanish, you challenge yourself practicing a bit more and learning from your mistakes.

- Lucy, Angola

In my personal opinion, the best advice that I can give to someone who wants to learn a language is: “live and study in a foreign country”.

Nowadays “English” is considered the main language everywhere. Last summer my boyfriend and I went to the U.S.A and I encountered an obstacle because I noticed that it was very difficult to communicate with other people because I didn’t know anything, but Ivan speaks English very well so it was easy for me.

However, this feeling of the unknown pushed me to do my experience. Therefore, here I am in York improving my English. I live with a typical British family and this was very helpful because I needed them to understand me so, even if I didn’t know anything at the beginning, I forced myself to speak as much as I could.

Now my English is getting better. You should also go to school in which you can learn the basic grammar. I go to school every morning and then in the afternoon I study by myself.
I think this is the best way to learn and to be confident with any language, especially speaking with your mates, correcting the mistakes with each other and learning new words.

- Giorgia, Italy

Reading and Writing!

This is one of the best ways to learn and improve your knowledge of a new language, and you obvious know why. By reading you can discover new words, learn a bit more about grammar, discovering new ways to use knew words (words that you already know), all of it in a funny way, especially if you have the kind of book that you like. It worked for me (actually, it’s working cause I didn’t finish yet kkkkk 😀 ), cause every day I learned thousands of new words by reading books in English. Writing is an excellent way too, cause it helps you to practice and improve your grammar too. So if you join these two activities together you will have an extraordinary result cause by reading you learn and by writing you use it! And don’t be shy to show your work to someone who knows the language, otherwise, you won’t be able to know if you are making mistakes or not.

- Lucy, Angola

Listen to music and sing a song although you don’t understand it completely. Then search for the lyrics and sing the whole song as often as you like. Pay attention to the vocabulary and to all expressions used by the author. This way you will enjoy learning a language a lot.
Watch different TV programmes in the language you want to learn, especially those presenting opposite opinions about some topics of your interest, or the news channel. Use a dictionary to understand all the new words. Watch TV while you are resting at home, or when you are preparing to leave home for school. Pay attention to the vocabulary and the expressions used by the people. This way your skills in the new language will increase very quickly.

– Alberta, Mexico

Below you can see our step-by-step guide to learning a language. We hope it helps!

– Ernesto, Prol and Osama

Let’s start that process!

1- To learn the letters
This is the first step to learn any language.
Several people want to learn new language without any knowledge.
So, these people have to learn the alphabet. In this way they can start making words.

2- To pronounce
The second step is more crucial, because you attempt to pronounce the letters to make sentences. Some languages have a “phonemic chart “, what does that mean? That means, there slightly different between the letters and how to pronounce them. Because of that, many students have made mistakes in pronouncing words.

3- To write the letters
We can combine this one with previous step. You can write words correctly and also how to pronounce them. As a result, you’ll be able to write and read. So, if you have a desire to read or write you must know how to write perfectly.

4- Learning basic vocabulary
After learning the letters, you can learn basic vocabulary, such as apple, bird, dog, etc. It is more helpful to use photo cards together with the vocabularies that will allow you to recognise them more easily.

5) Basic grammars and simple sentences
You can learn how to write basic sentences with some vocabularies you have learned.

6) Being able to have conversation
Having conversations with other people or find a buddy to talk to, and motivate each other.

7) Learn more complex grammars and conversations
In this step, you are able to read a basic article, and then try to write your own story or diary.

8) Using language to write in various forms
For example, it can be formal or informal, an email, a letter, C.V. etc..

9) Improving your pronunciation
Now it is the time to have a proper pronunciation, not only letters and words but also compare sentences, the rhythm, the tone, and the stress in the sentences.

10) Making yourself able for a presentation in public
In this step, it is important to be more and more confident. You can practice in front of a mirror or record your voice, so that you will find some mistakes by yourself.

11) Using the language
Being able to share your ideas and your thoughts with natives and start to feel the language. After all these steps, you have the language bases, but if you want to develop your skill, you must keep practicing. The more diversity you practice, the wider your skills will be.

Looking for English language classes? Click here to find out about English Language Centre York.