A lot of people are confused as to where to start when learning a new language. After all, there are so many things to learn. They want to make sure to start on the right track. There are obviously things that are more important to learn than others, so it’s nice to have a learning plan. But this can also be a double-edged sword; some people are so confused as to where to start, that they never really do. All that time spent trying to find the perfect way to do things, could have been spent actually learning the language. Remember that anything you learn is a step in the right direction, so get started as soon as possible! However, we also believe that some aspects of language learning should be put as a priority. In this post, we will talk about a few things that, if learned early, can give you a major learning boost and make things easier for you in the long run.
Luckily, in many languages, the alphabet will be the same or be very similar to the one you already know. If the alphabet is similar, try to see if there are special characters or accented letters that you don’t know. If the alphabet is completely different, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the new letters. Knowing the alphabet is a huge step in the right direction and it can be done rather quickly in many languages.
The next step should be to learn the proper pronunciation of the most common sounds in the language. Although the alphabet may be very similar, it doesn’t mean that the pronunciation is the same. Learning the rules of pronunciation early on, will help you read correctly throughout the learning process and ensure that you’re understood in the long run. It also means that you won’t take in bad pronunciation habits. This doesn’t mean that you need to master pronunciation from the get go. You just need to be aware of the sounds, so that you can practice the correct pronunciation as you learn the language. If you’re simply unaware that you’re pronouncing things incorrectly, you will never improve. Some sounds are very difficult to pronounce; it’s totally fine to have some trouble at first. But if you know how they should sound, you will get there with practice.
It’s also a good idea to learn some easy pre-made sentences, in order to start using the language as soon as possible. Learn sentences that will be very useful to you in everyday life, or while traveling. You can start having very short conversations with pre-made sentences in just a few hours. These sentences will help you practice your pronunciation, and give you a feel for the structure of the language.
Learning the top 4 or 5 most important verbs in the language you’re learning can drastically improve how much you are able to understand. For example, verbs like “to be” and “to have” are used in virtually every sentence in English. In fact, the verb “to be” is used 57 times in this post alone; that’s around 6% right there! Learning the conjugation of these important key verbs will give you a real head start in your new language.
There are lots of lists of frequently-used words in most languages. Some words will be used constantly. Learning these words first will give you a huge boost. If you learn just a few hundred words like these, you’ll be able to understand half of the words in daily conversations. These words will, in turn, help you learn more words from context. Of course, learning these words can be quite difficult from a simple list of frequently-used words. Many common words like “the”, “to”, “of”, “for”, etc., don’t mean much by themselves and are hard to learn from translations. You’ll need to see them used in context to really grasp their meanings. Simply make sure to find a source that has lots of examples and explanations to really understand and remember them.
There you have it! After learning these few things, you should have a good foundation to build upon. When the language is completely unknown to you, it’s very hard to learn words from context. But when you know a certain number of words, you can start creating associations. You will still need to learn thousands of words to be fluent, but you’ll see that it becomes easier once you get the ball rolling. Remember to set small realistic goals every day and keep at it. The reward of daily consistency will give you the much-needed motivation to keep going and will ensure that you succeed in your language-learning quest. Good luck!
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