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Music for Language Learning: Best Practices

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

All cultures have a form of music that they call their own. Music is one of the early types of learning tools to learn a language. Parents use music to teach their young children simple words. Scientists have proven that music helps in focusing attention, improving memory, and acquiring a language. Music is a good foundation builder as well because it can help in physical development and coordination.

Why music helps in language learning

The imitation of the musical structure and rhythm of a language helps a person learn a language, which is one reason why children learn a new language faster. They play with other children and listen to songs, allowing them to adopt a new language easily. The repetition of song lyrics, such as those from nursery rhymes helps children retain words and expressions. Children may not know the meaning of the words from another language, but they will remember them. Mimicking the pronunciation of the words helps them practice making the sounds. The sounds will later lead to understanding their actual meaning.

You might not notice it, but have you wondered at times why you still remember the nursery rhymes that you learned as a child? You can effectively retain expressions and words through music; that’s why. It’s also the reason why you can memorize the lyrics of a song you like because the pattern is repetitive. Moreover, when you listen to music and follow the words, rhythm, beat and melody, you use both sides of your brain.

Ways to study a language through music

Each person studies and learns differently. When using music for language learning, the most effective way depends on your studying and learning habits. However, we want to give you different ways you can approach your language learning through music with these best practices.

1- Passive listening

Whether you have foreign language songs on your computer or you have a CD of foreign songs, one way to learn the language is through passive listening. Let the foreign music play in the background while you are doing something else. To achieve fluency in another language, you should be familiar with it. You need to train your brain to function in the new language 100 percent. The practice is one form of language immersion. As you listen and get more familiar and comfortable with the background music, you can pick up grammar patterns along with common words and phrases.

2- Memorization

Learn how to memorize and add more words to your dictionary. Memorizing the song lyrics is an excellent way to improve your memory. At the same time, the memorization exercise gives you confidence. Memorization gives you three benefits. It enhances your listening skills, boosts your reading skills, and improves your pronunciation of the words. Memorization will likewise help you do the next method.

3- Sing-along

This method is similar to the first one. But instead of listening passively, you take an active role in the exercise. Download lyrics of the foreign songs you like. Some download sites provide the original song lyrics as well as translations in English. Play the song and sing along. You can also find videos on YouTube that have lyrics in the source and target languages. Either way, you’ll learn grammar, spelling and pronunciation while enjoying the songs of your favorite foreign singers. Your listening and reading skills will likewise benefit from the exercise.

You can check your progress by finding the karaoke versions of the foreign songs you like. Again, YouTube is your friend. Trying to sing the song while reading the lyrics in the target language will test if your language learning is progressing.

4- Transcription

This method may sound weird to you initially. You listen to the song as it plays while you write down (or transcribe) the lyrics. At first, you are likely to catch only a few familiar words. Don’t be frustrated and continue what you’re doing. Let the music play as you write everything you hear. Play the song again and write the words that you missed in the first pass. In time, your hearing will improve, as you understand the words better. Your brain’s processing time will be shorter and faster. Further, it will enhance your spelling. Listening to the music and transcribing the lyrics will give your word list a boost.

These are just a few of the effective ways to learn a foreign language using music. Be patient and enjoy foreign music as you learn your target language. If you wish to start with something simpler, listen to children’s songs in your target language. The repetition of the song lyrics is more constant, which allows your brain to assimilate foreign words faster. If you need help in transcribing songs and music sheets, our language translation services team can help.

Learning a language through music means language learning more fun. Likewise, you learn to focus your attention and improve your memory. It’s an effective method when you self-study.

Author Bio: Sean Patrick Hopwood is the polyglot CEO of Day Translations, Inc., an interpreting services provider that serves clients in a wide range of industries including eSports, finance, and government.

Learn a language in the fastest, easiest and most fun way with Innovative Language Learning!

9 Languages Students Aspire to Learn Abroad

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

When embarking on a new adventure into a foreign country, elements such as exotic cultures, new people, and spontaneous adventures are practically guaranteed. However, oftentimes there is still an aspect which doesn’t always allow you to experience all of this in full: the local language.

A recent survey carried out by educations.com found that learning a new language is a major contributing factor for students who plan to spend a semester or even a whole year studying abroad. In fact, of the 32,000 students that took part in the survey, 31% declared that a second language was a top priority for them when choosing a destination to study abroad in. Of that 31% of students, almost a fifth are specifically going abroad to take a language course.

Rather than avoiding a country for fear of not knowing the local language, many students are plunging headfirst into the challenge of learning a new language. Given the many benefits of knowing more than one language, their eagerness to learn a new one is unsurprising!

Benefits of Bilingualism

Numerous studies have shown that being bilingual comes with numerous benefits that will make all that time spent studying worth it. One of the most common advantages that bilinguals benefit from is the ability to communicate in more than one language that will instantly give them a competitive advantage over those who don’t, especially in academic and professional spheres.

So, what exactly are the benefits of being able to speak more than one language?

Job Opportunities

Although it’s commonly believed that the only way to learn a new skill is from a very young age, studies have proven that in fact, there really is no such thing as ‘being too old’ when it comes to picking up new languages. What this research has proven is that adults are actually more than capable of learning a new language at a faster and more accurate rate compared to children, meaning that picking up an entirely new language during adulthood is entirely attainable. With that being said, this should encourage anyone who has ever been interested in learning a new language to give it a go, and at the same time, have something extra to add onto the CV which will undoubtedly give you a cutting edge, and make your pathway towards finding employment much simpler. Being able to speak more than one language will also open up many more opportunities in different sectors, such as tourism and travel, journalism and publishing, international relations, sales, and management to mention a few.

Brain Enhancement

It should come as no surprise that learning a new language gives you the ability to rewire your brain and improve vital parts of your psyche. As a matter of fact, psychological studies on the area have shown that being bilingual can physically improve your brain activity, mainly by enhancing those brain-parts that are responsible for multitasking, communication, problem-solving, and decision-making. Furthermore, another benefit which should also be pointed out is the fact that this will also help you train your neurons by keeping your brain actively working, which is not only vital for overall mental development, but also in the delay of premature dementia.

Learning the very basics of a language before going abroad to study is very beneficial, as it will provide you with fundamentals which will allow you to understand and pick up the language much faster, as opposed to those people who will start from zero. Online language courses - whether offered through video lessons or podcasts - are an easy and accessible way to improve your language skills before and during your trip.

Below are the top languages students said they want to learn abroad - which one will you choose?

1. English


Source: Learn English with EnglishClass101.com

Deemed the most commonly studied foreign language in the world, about 23% of students who prioritized learning a foreign language chose to study in a country where English is the primary language. While it’s surpassed by both Mandarin Chinese and Spanish in terms of native speakers, it still boasts the highest number of total speakers in the world.

2. Español (Spanish)


Source: Learn Spanish with SpanishPod101.com

Spanish is the second most widely spoken native language in the world and is also the official language in 20 different countries worldwide. While it’s mostly spoken in the Americas and Europe, its status as a global language means that it’s also spoken internationally and is actually learned and spoken by many people as a second language.

3. Italiano (Italian)


Source: Learn Italian with ItalianPod101.com

Italy is a country that requires no formal introduction; it is a country full of historic beauty and significance, and currently home to the most UNESCO world heritage sites in the world. It’s worldwide popularity amongst tourists and students is evident, which officially makes Italian the 4th most studied language in the world come as no surprise.

4. Français (French)


Source: Learn French with FrenchPod101.com

From mouth-watering bread and cheeses to the majestic Louvre, to the alluring vineyards scattered all over the country, France is the ideal place to be for anyone who loves fashion, culture, and exquisite food. When it comes to the local language, French is an extremely popular one to learn as it’s the only language besides English to be taught in every country in the world, meaning that you have a very high chance of encountering a French-speaking person when on your travels.

5. Svenska (Swedish)


Source: Learn Swedish with SwedishPod101.com

If you’re a fan of cold climates, minimalist design, and tasty coffee-treats, then Sweden is the place for you. Even though Swedish might not be the first language people may choose to study in school, it is the most widely spoken language in all of Scandinavia. Furthermore, Sweden is also known for being one of the most forward-thinking and welcoming countries in the world, which as a result, makes it one of the most highly desirable places to live, study, and work in.

6. Deutsch (German)


Source: Learn German with GermanPod101.com

When considering learning German, many people are oftentimes easily discouraged by the fact that it has one of the most extensive vocabulary as well as the strictest and most complicated grammar rules, when compared to other European languages. Despite this however, adding German to your verbal repertoire comes with numerous advantages that will make the effort of learning it very much worthwhile; it is officially the most widely spoken native language in the European Union and is an official language in seven countries worldwide.

7. Nederlands (Dutch)


Source: Learn Dutch with DutchPod101.com

Another language which you might be interested in pursuing is Dutch. Cited as one of the easiest languages to learn, picking up this language should be a relatively fast process, as many Dutch words are spelled in the same way as their English counterparts.

8. 官話 (Mandarin Chinese)


Source: Learn Chinese with ChineseClass101.com

As the language with the highest number of native speakers in the world, Mandarin Chinese is considered to be a very advantageous (and popular) language to learn, which will give you the upper hand when it comes to business, travel, and culture. While learning how to write in Chinese can be rather challenging, its verbal structure is fairly simple.

9. Polski (Polish)


Source: Learn Polish with PolishPod101.com

Polish is not only the most-spoken Slavic language after Russian, but it’s considered to be the most widely spoken language after English in both England and Wales. Therefore, if you’re interested in learning a Slavic language, Polish is the most approachable due to the Latin nature of its script.

Psychology-Based Tips to Increase Motivation to Learn Foreign Languages

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

The more foreign languages people know, the more culturally enriched they’ll be. Not to mention different business opportunities that arise when someone is bilingual, trilingual, etc. However, learning a foreign language isn’t an easy task. Both adults and children can struggle with mastering a foreign language.

One of the main factors that hold people down is motivation. Without motivation, every effort to learn a new language will be in vain. Motivation is something that needs to be worked on and psychology has covered this topic numerous times. With the following psychology-based tips, anyone can improve their motivation for learning a foreign language.

How learning a foreign language can benefit the brain

One of the ways to motivate yourself is to understand the overall benefits of learning a new language.

Commonly, we are more eager to engage in a specific action if we know the purpose.

There must be some reasons that encouraged you to consider learning a foreign language. Besides those reasons, you should also understand how it can positively affect your brain.

Bilinguals have shown to have a much better memory than monolinguals. Memorizing new vocabulary, grammatical rules, and usage of a new language improves your memory capacity.

Another helpful trait of learning a foreign language is being better at inhibiting distractions and multitasking.

Types of motivation

No one can argue that motivation is a necessity for accomplishing any goal. The thing is that motivation comes in different forms.

Depending on what motivates you, there are two types of motivation:

  1. Intrinsic (internal) – Comes from a personal interest. For example, making a card to give it to your loved one.
  2. Extrinsic (external) – Comes from the desire to achieve something. For example, studying to get a good grade.

In order to increase your chances and boost your level of motivation, you should find reasons that will bring out both types of motivation.

Increase intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation needs to come from within. It means that you need to be driven by a personal wish to learn a new language.

For some, intrinsic motivation comes from the desire to speak the language of their loved ones. Others want to learn a foreign language because they are fascinated by that culture.

It is proven that intrinsic motivation has more power comparing to extrinsic motivation. If you devote yourself to a cause because you are genuinely interested, the process will be much easier.

Even if your current motivation is strictly extrinsic, there is a way to change that.

Think deeply about what will make you happy once you learn that language. Imagine all the places where you can go and speak freely with native speakers.

Do some research about countries and cultures where that language is used. Learning new facts and interesting customs can help you with your intrinsic motivation.

Increase extrinsic motivation

While experts mostly emphasize intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation can be equally important.

Extrinsic motivation is easier to pinpoint. Your external motivation can already be established if you need to learn a foreign language because of a new job. Just keep reminding yourself of the rewards that will come once that job is yours.

Another extrinsic motivation can be to have more job opportunities in the future. Or to start a new career.

There are so many external factors that can motivate you to learn a new language.

Set goals

According to the American Psychological Association, people who set goals that are both specific and challenging, are 90% more likely to achieve what they’ve set their mind to.

Setting goals is directly linked with self-confidence, motivation, and autonomy. Therefore, establishing clear goals in the process will help you stay motivated.

Start by finding different sources with inspirational language learning goals.

The important part is to write down your goals. Don’t allow yourself to forget about your plans. Put it all down on paper and keep it is a reminder.

Whenever your motivation starts to fade away, just pull out your list of specific goals and remind yourself of why you need to do this.

Reward yourself

People respond to rewards as positively as children. We may think that we have surpassed the time when candy made us sit still, but that is not the case.

Bob Nelson, a motivation expert, and the best-selling author claims that “you get what you reward.”

Apply this technique to your learning habits.

Motivate yourself to stay consistent in learning by giving yourself small rewards. Nobody knows best what will keep you motivated but you.

For example, you can make a pact with yourself if you don’t skip any class for a month you’ll have a spa day.

Be proud of your little wins

Negative thinking and self-depreciation lower the motivation level. Many teachers and parents think that criticism and dissatisfaction will make the children more motivated. This approach is wrong.

Positive thinking and celebrating little wins will encourage you to keep moving forward. Once you experience that rewarding feeling of being proud of yourself, you’ll keep coming back for more.

It is important that you recognize small accomplishments and not just the final goal. If you wait until you completely master the language to feel proud, you might lose your fire along the way.

Acknowledge when you manage to learn the whole list of new vocabulary. Be proud when you excel in the next test. Give yourself a tap on the back when you pronounce every word correctly. Moments such as these will give you that dose of motivation you need.

If you make learning a foreign language a pleasant experience you will be more motivated to go through it.

Some final thoughts

Motivation is one of the most prominent predictors of success. If you know how to motivate yourself and maintain that motivation during the language learning process, you’ll have a great chance of achieving your goal.

Instead of relying on some speculations, trust these psychology-based tips. Practicing these methods and staying consistent will help you add another language to your resume.

The Consequences of Medical Mistranslations

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

The Consequences of Medical Mistranslations 

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in health programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance.

In 1974, in the case of Lau v. Nicols, the Supreme Court ruled that language can be used as a proxy for national origin.

While these laws are in place, there is still mistranslation within healthcare facilities to this day. The consequences are severe, and in some cases, lethal.

Cases

Willie Ramirez

One of the most famous cases of medical mistranslation is the case of Willie Ramirez.Ramirez, an 18-year-old athlete, was hanging out with a friend when he started complaining of a splitting headache. He began to lose consciousness and was rushed to the hospital.At the hospital, Ramirez’ mother told doctors that he was ‘intoxicado,” a Cuban word meaning, not feeling well due to something one ate or drank. However, doctors misinterpreted this as “intoxicated,” so they treated Ramirez for a drug overdose. It wasn’t until a few days after he was hospitalized that doctors noticed Ramirez actually had a brain bleed.

The brain bleed, which could have been treated very quickly, instead was neglected for days. As a result, Ramirez became a quadriplegic, and the hospital became liable for $71 million.

Francisco Torres

Francisco Torres was scheduled for kidney surgery. For weeks leading up to the surgery, all medical records referred to the Torres’ left kidney. At some point there was a change in documentation, and the records began to reflect that it was the right kidney that needed attention. The documents were never translated from English to Spanish, so Torres did not see the mistake.

While in surgery, doctors removed the right kidney. When they realized their mistake, the doctors removed the left kidney as well.

As a result, Francisco will spend his life on dialysis. The Health Department cited the hospital “for errors leading up to the surgery, including failing to follow safety protocol and failing to communicate accurately with the Spanish-speaking patient.”

Teresa Tarry

Shortly before Teresa Tarry moved to Spain from the Britain, she discovered a small lump in her breast. She visited her doctor in the UK, who told her she had nothing to worry about.

But after a few months in Spain, the tumor grew to the size of a golf ball. Tarry visited a Spanish hospital, where she claims her medical records were mistranslated. Tarry says that the Spanish doctors believed her mother and sister had suffered from breast cancer, when in fact she has no family history of cancer.

While she had a challenging time explaining her situation to the Spanish doctors, Tarry eventually trusted their diagnosis and underwent a double mastectomy. Weeks later she discovered that the tumor was benign.

Tarry sued the hospital for €600,000 in compensation.

The Tran Family

The Tran’s 9-year-old daughter had a severe infection with a rapid onset. When they brought her in, the girl’s Vietnamese parents were unable to properly communicate with the doctors. So the young girl was asked to interpret for herself. When the girl lost consciousness, her 16-year-old brother took over interpreting.

The girl was treated for gastroenteritis. However, she was actually suffering from a reaction to the drug Reglan. The lack of proper treatment resulted in an extreme blood level drop.

The 9-year-old girl suffered a heart attack and died. The patient’s family sued the hospital and was given a mere $200,000 for their loss.

An expert witness at the hearing testified, “In my opinion, the failure of the doctor and the facility to provide a professional medical interpreter was a substantial factor in causing [the patient]’s death. The reasons for not using family members, friends, and particularly minor children as interpreters are widely recognized.”

Doctors

Machine Translations

This day in age, if we need a simple word translated, we can just ask Google. However, when it comes to healthcare, machine translations are not an option. The risk of error is too great.

For example, if you ask Google to translate, “me siento intoxicado” it will tell you the translation is: “I feel intoxicated.” For the case of Willie Ramirez, he would have ended up in the exact same situation with Google translate.

Needless to say, a computer cannot be trusted in the realm of human healthcare translations. It takes a human to understand a human. The best case scenario is to use a professional human translator.

The Consequences of Ad Hoc Interpreters

An ad hoc interpreter is someone who facilitates doctor/patient communication in lieu of a professional interpreter, usually a bilingual staff member or a member of the patient’s family. Many studies have evaluated the effect of ad hoc interpreters on the results of medical cases, and all results point to the same answer.

Let’s take a look at the most detailed study to give you the clearest understanding.

In 2012, the Annals of Emergency Medicine published a study that evaluated audiotaped medical encounters to measure the potential consequences of cases where limited English proficient patients were provided professional vs. ad hoc vs. no interpreters.

Out of 57 encounters, 20 received professional interpreting, 27 were provided ad hoc interpreters, and 10 cases had no interpreter at all.

In total, 1,884 interpreter errors were noted, 18% of which had potential clinical consequence.

The risk of potential consequence broke down among each group like this:

  • Ad Hoc Interpreters - 22% risk of error
  • No Interpreter - 20% risk of error
  • Professional Interpreters - 12% risk of error

The study found that in regards to professional interpreters, those with 100+ hours of interpreter training significantly reduced the proportions of errors of potential consequence, from 12% to 2%, in every error category.

This study, along with many like it, concludes that less errors occur when no interpreter is provided vs. an ad hoc interpreter stepping in. However, ultimately the best scenario is to have a professional interpreter, with extensive training in the field, facilitate communication between a doctor and patient.

Know Your Rights

If you, or someone you know is dealing with a medical issue and cannot accurately communicate with the doctor, request a professional medical interpreter. It is the responsibility of the hospital to provide a professional, certified interpreter to assure that the patient’s needs are met.

If you are put in a position where you’ve been asked to serve as the interpreter, reflect on your abilities, and remember you have the right to decline.

Keep in mind, if you step in as a medical interpreter, your interpretations will become legally binding. Any interpretation conducted for a patient is added to the patient’s medical records, which is a legal document, and will be presented in a court of law, should something unfortunate happen. If you are not sure how your interpretations will hold up in court, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I understand the medical terminology being used, and do I know how to translate it in both languages?
  2. Do I understand humor and sarcasm in both languages?
  3. Can I accurately interpret non verbal communication in both languages?
  4. Do I have a relationship with the patient that could make my interpretations biased?

If you decline to serve as an ad hoc interpreter, this is not a failure to your family or civic duty. In fact, ad hoc interpreting often causes more hard than good. You declining to serve as an intermediate interpreter might actually give the patient a greater chance at receiving proper medical care.

To Err or Not to Err

In conclusion, professional interpreters create an environment for the best standard of care. When you, or anyone you know, are presented with difficult communication in a medical encounter, ask for a professional.
To err is human. But in this case, the best way to secure the least amount of errors is to trust a professional. You trust a medical expert for your critical health needs. Trust a language expert for your critical communication needs.

Author Bio:
Ciara Boyce is a content writer at Day Translations, Inc.. Ciara has a passion for uniting cultures across the world. She loves to encourage people through both the spoken and written word, and starts every morning motivating others with daily affirmations via @inrawlife on Instagram.


Related Course

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Learn essential conversations, phrases, vocabulary, and earn 50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™

With MedSpanishPod101, you learn Spanish with 3-15 minute Audio/Video Lessons by real teachers. You’ll learn the must-know phrases and questions to use with patients. Plus, you’ll learn a ton of medical vocab along the way. By the end, you’re ready to speak and use the phrases with patients.

How to Transform Your Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

Today, classrooms are no longer the only or even best place to learn a new language. More and more people are finding that they can easily learn a language just about anywhere they have a few minutes of spare time, including their daily commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends over 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work, or over 300 hours a year.

Rethinking Your Daily Commute to Work

But rather than simply sitting in traffic and wasting the time, you can instead use your daily commute to literally learn a language in just a few short months! Innovative Language Learning has developed specialized learning tools that you can use on your commute to work (and home again) to master the language in your spare time. Keep reading to learn how to get your free audiobook to use on your next commute so you can see for yourself how easy it is to transform “dead time” into realizing your dream of learning a new language!

But before we look at how to transform your commute home into a mini-classroom, let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons why traditional classroom settings just aren’t the best option for most people in today’s fast-paced world.

  • Difficulty Getting to and From Class
  • Learning on Someone Else’s Schedule
  • Very Expensive and May Cost $1,000’s to Complete
  • Can Take Years to Finally Complete Classes and Learn the Language

The simple truth is that traditional classroom instruction is simply not a viable option for most people in today’s very fast-paced, time-starved world. Now let’s examine how you can learn a language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classes—all during your commute to work and back home again!

Bus

3 Reasons Your Daily Commute Can Help You Master a Language

1. The Average Commute Time is More than 300 Hours Per Year

Between the commute to work and getting back home again, over 6 hours a week is completely wasted and not helping you reach any goals or objectives. But thanks to online language learning platforms with audiobooks and other resources that you can access during your commute, you can easily transform wasted time into tangible progress towards learning a new language. With over 300 hours available annually, your daily commute could provide you with enough time to literally master a new language each and every year!

2. Increase Your Earning Potential While Commuting to Work

How would you like to transform all those spare commuting hours each week into more money for a new car, house, or even a dream vacation? According to research, someone making $30,000 per year can boost their annual income by $600 or more per year by learning a second language. Added up over the course of a lifetime, you can boost your total earnings by $70,000 or more while achieving your dream of learning a new language during your daily commute!

How? From work-at-home translation jobs to working overseas, there are many ways to leverage your second language into more money in your bank account! So instead of wasting your precious time, you can make your commute more productive and profitable and the more languages you learn, the higher your income potential.
3. Repetition is Key to Mastering a New Language

Not sure if it’s practical to learn another language while commuting to and from work each day? Well not only is it possible—learning in your car on the way to and from work each day can actually help you learn and master any language much faster! The simple truth is that repetition is absolutely vital to truly internalizing and mastering any language. So, if you listen to audiobooks or even audio lessons on your commute to work and then repeat the same lesson on your commute home, the information is more likely to be “locked-in” to your long-term memory!

Listening

5 Ways Innovative Language Learning Makes It Easy to Learn a Language On Your Commute

First, click here and pick a language you want to learn with us!

Whichever language you choose, you’ll be able to access the world’s largest collection of audio and video lessons and advanced learning tools.
Innovative Language Learning has been helping people just like yourself learn and master a language in the comfort of their home, during their daily commute, or any place they have a few minutes of spare time. Here are five features provided by Innovative Language Learning that make it easy to learn a new language while commuting to and from work:

1. The Largest Collection of Audio Lessons on Planet by Native Speaking Instructors
Every single week, Innovative Language Learning creates new audio lessons by native speaking instructors. All lessons are short, to the point, and guaranteed to improve your mastery of the language you’re learning.

2. Word of the Day
Simply exposing yourself to new information and vocabulary terms helps increase your fluency and mastery of the language you’re learning. So every single day, Innovative Language Learning adds a new Word of the Day for you to learn and memorize during your commute.

3. Daily Dose Mini-Lessons
Have a short commute to work but still want to make progress towards learning and mastering a language? Not a problem! Our Daily Dose Mini-Lessons are 1-minute or less and designed to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

4. All Content Available on a Convenient Mobile App

You don’t need a PC or tablet to learn a language during your daily commute. At Innovative Language Learning, all of our lessons, tools, and resources are available 24/7 via our Mobile App. That means you can access all of our audio lessons and other tools during your commute to work or any time you have a few spare moments!

5. Audiobooks and Other Supplemental Resources
In addition to the world’s largest online collection of HD audio lessons, Innovative Language Learning has also created several audiobooks to enhance your understanding and make it more convenient than ever to learn a language during your commute!

Conclusion

The average commute time of most Americans is over 300 hours each year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and master a new language. In fact, you can use the “dead time” during your daily commute to learn a new language and potentially boost your lifetime earnings by up to $70,000 or more! Whatever your motivation, Innovative Language Learning has the tools and resources necessary to help you learn a new language each year during your commute to and from work. Act now and we’ll even provide you with a free audiobook to try out on your next commute!

How to Supercharge Your Vocabulary With Bilingual Reading

Monday, March 11th, 2019

Supercharge Your Vocabulary!
Reading in a foreign language is great. But if there’s one big fat problem, it’s that you need a high level of fluency before it gets fun. And if a book isn’t fun, then you’re not going to want to read it.

The entire point of sitting down with a book is to enjoy it and have a good time being absorbed in the story.

And that’s just not going to happen if you need to look up every second word with Google Translate or a real-life dictionary. It will take you out of the story and it will feel like a chore as if you’re back in high school and need to read the book to pass your curriculum.

I was literally shocked when my girlfriend brought me a collection of Chekhov’s stories that had Russian on the left page - and English on the right.

 


It’s such a simple and elegant solution that will make reading (especially at the beginner levels) so much easier and more fun.

I’m in the process of uploading Chekhov’s stories online, including an audio version, so that you can listen and read at the same time. You’ll find more resources down below (also for other languages).

So, what is bilingual reading?

It’s all in the name. You read a book in 2 languages. The language that you’re learning + the language that you’re fluent in.

There are several variants and the most common one is the picture below. You have a book that has your foreign language on the left, and English on the right. This is the more traditional form.

 

Now, online you can also find stories where the story is translated paragraph by paragraph. The same principle, just in more bite-sized chunks, so your eyes need to travel less to read both texts.

The great thing about bilingual reading is that you can quickly switch between languages. And that the translation already has been done correctly, so you won’t need to distinguish between the 10 variants of a translated word that your dictionary offers.

Which brings us to the main advantage…

It’s great for your initial vocabulary building

Look, the best way to improve your vocabulary is to learn words in context. Let’s say you’re reading a book in Spanish, and you read the following phrase:

El sol es caliente - the sun is warm.

Now your mind is making the connection between sun and warm. And it’ll be easier to remember that the word for “warm” is “caliente”.

The only problem with reading a book in another language is, like we said in the introduction, that you need a relatively high level of fluency before you can make this connection between words.

It’s great if you already know 80% of words, as you can deduct the meaning of another 10-15%, and only look up the remaining couple of words you do not understand.

But if you’re starting out, you might only know 10% of all words! That’s when bilingual reading can help a lot.

You’ll read the sentence first in another language. See if you get it and if you can puzzle what the meaning of some words is. Then you quickly glance on the other side of the page and see the translation.

This way you’ll be able to have fun reading AND learn contextual vocabulary at the same time

Why it works well if you’re learning a language at home

If you’re taking language classes, then your teacher basically takes on the role of the translated page. When you’re reading a text with your teacher, you can ask them questions whenever you do not get something. They’ll give you the correct translation quickly with another context on how the word functions in the sentence.

But if you’re learning from home you don’t have that advantage. Bilingual reading offers the same benefits, as you can quickly look up the translation of a sentence and see what each word means.

Stages how you can use bilingual books

The main goal of bilingual books is to breach the gap between the beginner and intermediate to advanced stages. They can help set you up to read real books, without any translation.

Some language purists might recommend you only read stories that were originally written in non-English, but I’d say that any book you enjoy goes well.

Here are the steps I recommend you go through:

  • Stage 1 - simple bilingual stories (such as kids stories or fairy tales)
  • Stage 2 - the same stories, but now only in another language
  • Stage 3 - bilingual real books
  • Stage 4 - real books

You can use bilingual reading to improve your vocabulary and reading understanding. Until you become so good that you don’t need it anymore.

Does it work for every language?

It doesn’t matter if you’re learning French, Dutch, Russian, Chinese or Indian, bilingual reading works for every language.

After all, the principles of language learning don’t change. Only the implementation does.

You also don’t really need too much knowledge at the start. If you like puzzling, then you could even start reading some simple bilingual stories without any prior experience in a language! (the only exception would be Russian, or any other language with different characters - in that case, you’d need to learn the alphabet first)

However, just as with other language programs and courses, the more people speak a specific language (and the more people want to learn it), the easier it will be to find bilingual books.

If you’re learning any of the big languages (Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, Italian), then it’ll be easier to find translated stories that have been put into a bilingual format.

Which brings us to the final section…

Where do I find bilingual books?

There are many places to find them - and the internet has been a real game changer here. I’ve tried finding them in libraries, but you need a large library and quite some luck to find good (and more than just 1) bilingual books.

Here’s a list of resources:

  • Language Lizard (all languages, physical books)
  • Amazon also has a great selection
  • The Fable Cottage (Children’s stories in Italian, French, German and Spanish)

I’m sure there are more places to find them. A quick google search with “dual language books + [language that you’re learning]” or “bilingual books + [language that you’re learning]” should be enough to show up some gems.

It’s really remarkable how easy and fun it can be to read a book in 2 languages. It will make learning a new language more of a fun activity, as opposed to a traditional lesson.

Here’s a final recap of the benefits:

  • Learn new vocabulary quickly
  • Make this vocabulary stick because you remember it in context
  • Easier to put in more time into learning, as you enjoy the process
  • Shortcut the path to reading real books
  • A simple and fun way to learn at home without a teacher

Have you used bilingual books before in your language learning? Let it know in the comments!

Author: Arie Helderman started learning Russian in 2014. You can find which strategies worked best for him at Learn the Russian Language.

Secret Revealed: The Best Way to Learn a Language on Your Own

Monday, February 25th, 2019

Secret Revealed 

Can You Really Learn A Language Alone?

Learning a language on your own or without traditional classroom instruction may seem quite daunting at first. What if you run into questions? How do you stay motivated and on track to achieving goals?

Don’t worry, not only is it possible to learn a language without traditional classroom instruction: Innovative Language Learning has created the world’s most advanced and extensive online language learning system. Not only is Innovative Language Learning specifically designed to help you with learning a language on your own, it’s actually faster, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom options!

Let’s look at some of the benefits of learning any language alone.

3 Reasons to Learn a Language Alone

Learn Language Alone

1. Learn at Your Own Pace and On Your Schedule

In today’s fast-paced world, there just isn’t time for traditional classroom instruction. Between getting to class and studying on some professor or teacher’s schedule, traditional classroom learning is simply impossible to fit in. But when you learn a language alone, you can study in bed if you like and whenever suits your schedule best, making it far easier to actually reach your goal of learning and mastering the language.

2. Learning a Language on Your Own Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Speaking in front of a class, pop quizzes, and tests are just a few of the stressors you will encounter when you learn a language in a traditional classroom setting. Specifically, these are external stressors that often derail most people’s dream of learning a new language. But when you learn a language alone, there are no external stressors. Without the external stress and anxiety, it becomes much easier and more exciting to study a language and reach your very own goals—all on your own!

3. Learning A Language Alone Helps Improve Cognitive Function and Overall Success

Learning a language on your own is indeed more challenging in some ways than being taught in a traditional classroom setting. In fact, while classroom instruction requires more rote memorization and following instructions, studying a language on your own requires more problem-solving and higher cognitive function to self-teach lessons and hit goals. So while it’s more challenging and requires higher levels of cognition, teaching yourself a language pays dividends throughout life by better preparing you for social/work opportunities that arise.

How to Learn a Language on Your Own with Innovative Language Learning

Learn Language

First, click here and pick a language you want to learn with us!

Whichever language you choose, you’ll be able to access the world’s largest collection of audio and video lessons and advanced learning tools.

1. Access to the World’s Largest Collection of Audio & Video Lessons

The best way to learn a language on your own is to study from native speaking instructors. Ideally, you want audio and/or video lessons that teach vocabulary, grammar, and provide actual conversations and dialogue to help you with pronunciation. Innovative Language Learning has hundreds of hours of HD audio and video lessons created by experienced instructors and every lesson is presented by professional voice actors for perfect pronunciation. Plus, all lessons can be accessed 24/7 via any mobile device with Internet access. And, if you download the PDF versions of each lesson, you can even study without Internet access once the lesson is stored on your device!

2. “Learning Paths” with Language Courses Based Upon Your Exact Needs & Goals

Although Innovative Language Learning has more than thousands of video and audio lessons, you need not review each and every one to learn the language. In fact, Innovative Language Learning has developed a feature called “Learning Paths”. You simply tell us your goals and we will identify the best courses and study plan to help you reach them in the shortest time possible. So even though you are technically learning a language on your own, our team is always here to help and make sure you reach your goals FAST!

3. Advanced Learning Tools Reduce Learning Time and Boost Retention

When you have the right tools and language learning resources, it’s actually easy to teach yourself a language! In the past 10+ years, Innovative Language Learning has developed, tested, and refined more than 20 advanced learning tools to boost retention and reduce learning time, including:

  • Spaced Repetition Flashcards
  • Line-by-Line Dialogue Breakdown
  • Review Quizzes
  • Voice Recording Tools to Help Perfect Pronunciation
  • Teacher Feedback and Comments for Each Lesson
  • Dictionary with Pronunciation
  • Free PDF Cheat Sheets
  • And Much More!

Armed with our growing collection of advanced learning tools, it’s truly a breeze to learn a language alone and reach your goals!

Conclusion

Learning a language on your own is not only possible, it’s actually easier and more beneficial for you than traditional classroom instruction. In fact, when you learn a language on your own you can study at your own pace, eliminate stress, and actually increase cognitive function.

Innovative Language Learning is the world’s most advanced online language learning system and a great resource to help you teach yourself a new language. With the world’s largest collection of HD audio and video lessons, more than 20 advanced learning tools, and customized “Learning Paths”, Innovative Language Learning makes learning a new language easier, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom instruction.
And the best part is: With Innovative Language Learning, you can study in bed, your car, or wherever you have a few spare minutes of time. Create your Free Lifetime Account now!

Language Learning Tips: How to Avoid Awkward Silences

Monday, February 18th, 2019

How To Avoid Awkward Silences

Yes, even beginners can quickly learn conversational phrases in any language well enough to carry on real conversations with native speakers. Of course, beginners won’t be able to carry a conversation the same way they could in their native language. But, just knowing a few tips like which questions to ask to keep a conversation going are all you need to speak and interact with real native speakers! But before we get to specific suggestions, let’s first take a closer look at how having real conversations is so vital to your mastery of the language.

Learning to Carry a Conversation is Vital to Mastery of Any Language

Communicating with other people is the very point of language and conversation is almost second nature in our native tongue. For beginners or anyone learning a new language, conversations aren’t easy at all and even simple greetings can be intimidating and awkward.

However, there are 3 vital reasons why you should learn conversational phrases as quickly as possible:

  • Avoid Awkward Silences: Nothing kills a conversation faster than long periods of awkward silence, so you need practice and specific strategies to avoid them.
  • Improve the Flow of Conversation to Make a Better Impression: When you know what to say to keep a conversation going, communication becomes much easier and you make a better impression on your listener.
  • Master the Language Faster: Nothing will help you learn to speak faster and truly master the language than having real conversations with native speakers. Conversations quickly expose you to slang, cultural expressions, and vocabulary that force you to absorb and assimilate information faster than any educational setting—and that’s a great thing!

But how can you possibly have real conversations with native speakers if you are just starting out?

3 Conversation Strategies for Beginners

Conversation

1. Ask Questions to Keep a Conversation Going

For beginners and even more advanced speakers, the key is to learn to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Of course, they can’t be just random questions or else you may confuse the listener. But, by memorizing a few key questions and the appropriate time to use them, you can easily carry a conversation with minimal vocabulary or experience. And remember, the more conversations you have, the quicker you will learn and master the language!

2. Learn Core Vocabulary Terms as Quickly as Possible

You don’t need to memorize 10,000’s of words to learn conversational phrases. In fact, with just a couple hundred words you could have a very basic conversation. And by learning maybe 1,000-2,000 words, you could carry a conversation with a native speaker about current events, ordering in restaurants, and even getting directions.

3. Study Videos or Audio Lessons that You Can Play and Replay Again and Again
If you want to know how to carry a conversation in the language you’re learning, then you need exposure to native speakers—and the more the better. Ideally, studying video or audio lessons is ideal because they provide contextualized learning in your native language and you can play them again and again until mastery.

Innovative Language Learning Makes it Easier and More Convenient Than Ever to Learn Conversational Phrases

Learning Language

First, click here and pick a language you want to learn with us!

Whichever language you choose, you’ll be able to access the world’s largest collection of audio and video lessons and advanced learning tools.

For more than 10 years, Innovative Language Learning has been helping students learn to speak by creating the world’s most advanced online language learning system. Here are just a few of the specific features that will help you learn conversational phrases fast using our proven system:

  • The Largest Collection of HD Video & Audio Lessons from Real Instructors: Innovative Language Learning instructors have created hundreds of video and audio lessons that you can play again and again. And the best part is: They don’t just teach you vocabulary and grammar, they are designed to help you learn to speak and teach you practical everyday topics like shopping, ordering, etc!
  • Pronunciation Tools: Use this feature to record and compare yourself with native speakers to quickly improve your pronunciation and fluency!
  • 2000 Common Words: Also known as our Core List, these 2,000 words are all you need to learn to speak fluently and carry a conversation with a native speaker!

In all, more than 20 advanced learning tools help you quickly build vocabulary and learn how to carry a conversation with native speakers—starting with your very first lesson.

Conclusion

Although it may seem intimidating for a beginner, the truth is that it is very easy to learn conversational phrases. By learning a few core vocabulary terms and which questions to ask to keep a conversation going, just a little practice and exposure to real conversations or lessons is all it really takes. Innovative Language Learning has created the world’s largest online collection of video and audio lessons by real instructors plus loads of advanced tools to help you learn to speak and carry a conversation quickly.

Act now and we’ll also include a list of the most commonly used questions to keep a conversation going so you can literally get started immediately!

Assisting College Students with Foreign Language Learning Difficulties

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

Assisting College Students with Foreign Language Learning Difficulties

 

Students who have certain learning difficulties often struggle mightily to be successful. Add a foreign language, and that can be a formula for disaster. In some cases, a student may have no diagnosed learning difficulties, but may face significant struggles when learning a new language.

 

However, that doesn’t mean these students are doomed to fail. Whether it’s an ESL student attending an English speaking university, or simply a student attempting to meet a foreign language, graduation requirement, there are programs that can help.

 

1. Encourage Students with Emerging Difficulties to Get an Assessment

Sometimes, if a student has never faced a particular challenge, they may have a learning issue that has gone undiscovered. Any student who suddenly finds themselves struggling with learning a language should seek help and information.

 

For one thing, it is now believed that Foreign Language Learning Disability is real thing. In addition to this, a student may have found ways to compensate for another learning issue in the past. However, now that they are challenged to learn a new language, those methods may not work effectively.

 

Fortunately, there is help available. In order to comply with ADA regulations, colleges must provide assistance to students with learning difficulties. This includes conducting assessments for potential learning disabilities and providing students with accommodations.

 

Test

2. Students with Diagnosed Disabilities Should Review Their Accommodations and Use Them

Whether a student is newly diagnosed or has dealt with a language learning disability for some time, they are entitled to certain accommodations. Any student with a learning difficulty who is struggling to learn a new language, either as part of a class or to attend classes as a non-native speaker should know which accommodations they are entitled to.

 

Sadly, many students forego their accommodations, often for the following reasons:  

  • They aren’t aware they are entitled to them at the college level
  • They are unsure who to speak with about accommodations
  • They feel embarrassed to ask for the accommodations they are entitled to have.
  • They are new to the country and don’t understand their rights.

It’s important that students with foreign language difficulties have people to both educate and advocate for them.

 

3. Help Students Identify and Access the Help They Need

The good news is that there are many sources of help for students who struggle to learn a foreign language. First, the student must identify exactly what they are trying to accomplish, and what their specific struggles are. For example, one student may be struggling with a composition class because they aren’t used to writing in English. Another student may be graduation soon, but is having difficulty writing an entry level resume. A third student may be struggling to write up his personal statement for graduate school admission.

 

Once a student knows where they need help, it becomes easier to suggest resources for them. Sylvia Giltner from ResumesCentre says, “It’s common for students and others who aren’t native speakers to struggle with practical writing tasks. Fortunately, there is help for students to learn languages, and to cover any gaps in the meantime.”

 

Time Management

4. Tackle Other Roadblocks to Success Such as Time Management and Organization

When a student struggles with something academically, it is important to ensure that they stay on top of everything else. After all, adding on another difficulty or struggle just makes things worse. This is why it’s imperative that students work hard to drop any academic bad habits, and simply learn to stay on top of things.

 

The last thing a struggling student needs is to make things worse for themselves by falling behind. This is why it’s so important for students to identify other things that could stop them from being successful. These might include:  

  • Procrastination
  • Assignment Avoidance
  • Skipping Class
  • Disorganization
  • Pulling Too Many All-Nighters

Bad habits can distract from what the student really needs to work on, foreign language mastery. The good news is that there is a lot of help available for students who need to get focused. There are note taking apps that help students keep their work organized. There are also time management tools such as the Pomodoro system. There are even tools that can block certain websites so that students don’t get phased by distractions. Students can apply a few of these ‘fixes’ so that they can focus on their real goals.

 

Christopher Mercer, a founder of Citatior, notes: “I believe Pomodoro technique is the best way to stay focused and productive during language learning. It helped me not only learn Spanish and Chinese effectively but also coding languages.”

5. Explore All Language Learning Options

There is no single, best way to learn to speak a foreign language. This is a good thing, because in many instances, it isn’t that the student cannot learn a new language. Instead, the problem is that a particular teaching method just doesn’t work for them. To succeed, students should be encouraged to explore all of the options available to them.

 

For example, student who struggles to keep up in a large, lecture class may do well in a small classroom where students engage in conversation using the new language they are learning. Still another student may do best with an immersive experience. They might benefit from visiting neighborhoods, restaurants, and cultural centers or viewing TV shows and movies in a foreign language.

 

Many language apps and online language courses also offer multi-sensory learning experiences. Instead of simply listening to lectures, students also spend time viewing videos, listening to the language, and providing both typed and spoken feedback.

6. Wrapping Things Up

Student’s struggle with foreign languages for a variety of reasons. Some may have an organic learning disability. This may be directly related to learning a foreign language or not. These are students who need assistance ranging from getting an assessment to ensuring they have access to the accommodations they are qualified to receive. In addition, there are also students who simply need to find different pathways to language mastery. Fortunately, there is no shortage of tools and apps available to them.

 

Learning a new language is something that everyone can accomplish. For some students, getting this done is just a bit more challenging. These are the students who just need a little help.


How to Learn a Language in Record Time: 13 Effective Ways

Monday, January 29th, 2018

How to Learn a Language in Record Time: 13 Effective Ways

Have you heard of the savant who learned to speak Icelandic in only one week?

Crazy, isn’t it?

Well, most polyglots—people who speak several languages—start speaking new languages quickly thanks to their previous experiences. In fact, the aforementioned polyglot and translator Daniel Tammet claims that he already spoke nine languages before learning Icelandic.

You should not expect to master a foreign language in just a few days or weeks if you don’t have previous experience learning other languages. This is especially true if you can’t devote ample time to learning a new language.

You might stumble upon many “how to learn a language in 7 days” guides on the internet, but the time you’ll spend learning to speak a language can still be relative and dependant on a lot of factors.

In this detailed blog post, I approach learning a new language fast by demonstrating proven, realistic steps that any beginner can follow.

I also made certain that all the resources I listed are both easily accessible and affordable, so you won’t need to invest too much money into your learning.

Without further ado, let’s dig in.

13 Ways to Learn a Language in Record Time:

1. Connect with language partners online.

One of the most common (and cheapest) language-learning life hacks is simply building a learning relationship with native speakers of your target language, perhaps one who is also interested in learning your mother tongue.

This method can make learning a new language more enjoyable, as it breathes life into your chosen language and shows you the practical side of it—unlike in textbooks and at language schools.

Personally, I have met language partners from over 30 nations and have had the chance to discover their countries, cultures, day-to-day lives and many other things that helped me dive deeper into the languages I’m learning.

To get you started, I recommend using apps such as HelloTalk, Speaky and HelloPal to have free access to thousands of language partners from all over the world.

 

2. Travel to a country where your target language is spoken.

In his best-selling book, Fluent in 3 Months: Tips and Techniques to Help You Learn Any Language, Benny Lewis shares a simple language learning system that is mainly focused on traveling abroad.

He advises interacting with locals in only their native language to force your brain to learn new vocabulary and get familiarized with the language you’re learning.

If you use this learning method, Lewis promises you a vast improvement in your language speaking and listening skills.

 

3. Work on your pronunciation.

A few years ago, I had an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher who knew English very well, but his ability was masked by his lack of clarity.

He never taught a single class without getting bullied for his ridiculous English pronunciation, and all his students learned little to no English during the entire school year.

Well, if you don’t pay attention to how you pronounce words in the language you are learning, you will probably fall into the same trap.

You will not be able to communicate properly and you will eventually lose motivation if you take the wrong direction from the beginning.

A great way to correctly pronounce words in your chosen language is to use a voice dictionary. This will allow you to listen to automatic audio pronunciations of all the new expressions you learn.

For this, you can use apps or websites like Google Translate or dict.cc.

You can also ask locals in the area you are travelling in to teach you the right pronunciation, or you can get your online language partner to record a voice memo.

Plus, you will want to learn how to read and listen to more foreign language content…

 

4. Carry a dictionary on the go.

Wanting to save some time and get help with language barriers more easily?

Use a dictionary… app, since it would be difficult to carry around a 1,000-page book and browse through it every time you have a conversation with a native speaker.

Not only will a dictionary help you become successful in your chosen language, but it will also lift the vocabulary weight right off your shoulders. You will start to contextualize every word you use and train your brain to use it in real-life situations.

To download a dictionary, simply open the App Store on your iOS or Google Play on your Android, and search both your native and target languages to find the dictionaries that will best fit you.

To get the most out of your language-learning dictionary searches, I highly recommend using a spaced repetition algorithm program.

 

5. Use the Spaced Repetition Algorithm 

The Spaced Repetition Algorithm is scientifically proven to be more effective than traditional memorization methods. According to research published in Psychology Today, using spaced repetition to learn new vocabulary words increases your ability to remember information in the long-term.

Most learners who use spaced repetition prefer Anki, a free, multi-featured software that allows you to create more advanced flashcards including images, texts, audio clips, and videos.

To get started with spaced repetition, start by adding words you’ve searched for in your dictionary, then upload audio clips of their pronunciations and attach photos to ease memorizing new expressions for your brain.

 

6. Listen to audio clips in your chosen language.

Listening is scientifically proven to be the best way to learn a language regardless of your preferred method or tool.

In fact, studies have shown that being aurally exposed to any language, even if you don’t understand what’s being said, can “make a huge difference” as it helps your brain adapt to new pronunciations and grammar structures.

Also, a huge advantage of listening is that you can learn in your sleep—without making any conscious effort. A research conducted by the Swiss National Science Foundation states that listening to newly-learned second language vocabulary while sleeping helps solidify and reactivate your memory

Now you might be wondering, “What are some resources I can use to practice listening?”

Good news! Take the leap and create a free account to access a wealth of over 750 million lessons in more than 34 languages with Innovative Language.

Innovative Language is THE place for language audio and video lessons. There you’ll find clips recorded by native-speaking language teachers, along with flashcards, grammar explanations, cultural insights and much more.

With Innovative Language, you will never have to spend hours searching through foreign language audiobooks on the internet. Sign up now, you’ll be glad you did!

 

7. Learn the alphabet of the language you are learning.

If you aim to learn a non-Latin alphabet language, learning the alphabet is crucial.

In fact, in Asian languages such as Arabic, Chinese and Persian, mastering the alphabet or characters is necessary to read and pronounce words correctly.

For example, in Modern Standard Arabic, you must learn the alphabet, diacritics and dotting to be able to pronounce and read expressions correctly.

Additionally, learning the alphabet will enable you to read original texts in your chosen language, which can push you to acquire new vocabulary and improve your language skills.

 

8. Study grammar, but only when necessary.

Grammar is arguably what makes most people quit learning a language before really even starting.

Most of us have studied at least one language at school, yet we are still unable to speak them. Why?  Because academic systems are not built to teach you fluency, they are built to teach you grammar.

Taking into account the poor results schools produce from teaching grammar, it seems wiser to focus on the practical side of languages: real-life conversations. Learning the necessary grammar will then come progressively.

For example, you can keep a daily journal using the foreign vocabulary words you learned throughout the day, then ask your tutor to correct your writing and spot the grammar rules you missed.

 

9. Take private language lessons online.

Worried about losing motivation while learning a foreign language?

If you answered “yes,” booking online language lessons is a must.

Let’s be honest: private language lessons are the only way someone will be truly disappointed when you do not finish your assignment. Your private tutor is focused on you and your language education, and not juggling at least a dozen students in multiple classes.

Without that central focus, you might not learn your target language as fast as you can.

Not sure where to find online language tutors?

You can use platforms such as Innovative Language (Premium PLUS My Teacher), italki, Verbling and Tandem to sort through a gold mine of experienced language teachers from all over the world.

Unlike speaking, writing forces you to evaluate your language level and bring grammar rules and structure into focus.

 

10. Keep a foreign language journal.

Rype CEO Sean Kim recommends taking five minutes every day when you wake up to answer the questions:

  • What will make today great?
  • What things am I grateful for today?
  • Who am I? (Positive affirmations such I am happy, strong, patient, etc.)

“The best part about following the five-minute journal format is that you will not only improve your language skills, but you will feel happier, more grateful and more excited to explore your feelings about language learning and beyond. This will help keep you in the right frame of mind to keep learning.”

– Sean Kim, CEO at Rype

Personally, I write essays in my journal about random topics to use the words I translated and learned throughout the day. This helps me stick new expressions into my brain and improve my communication, writing and language skills.

If you’d like to write your journal online, I highly recommend using ColorNote, Evernote or Google Keep. Alternatively, you can use ordinary, physical notebooks and diaries.

 

11. Change your language settings on your devices.

According to a recent Nielsen Company audience report published by CNN, adults in the United States spent 10 hours and 39 minutes each day staring at screens during the first quarter of 2016.

To make the most out of the time you devote to mobiles and laptops, a great idea is to switch your language settings to the language you’re learning.

At the beginning, you might need to translate a substantial amount of words into your native language to move on with almost everything you do, but since most of us know where certain apps and settings are located, you will slowly but surely start to memorize new vocabulary words.

Note: Before you change your devices’ languages, try to learn the necessary alphabet or characters to read it first.

 

12. Expand your vocabulary with mnemonics.

Among all the techniques we have covered, mnemonics might be the most effective when it comes to memorizing new vocabulary words.

Mnemonics is basically building a system in your brain that links previously learned information in any language you speak with the new information you want to remember. Especially for learning a new language, they can be used as cheat codes for those who struggle to memorize information they’re exposed to.

You can use mnemonics to memorize sentences, vocabulary lists, idioms and other words.

Here are some examples:

  • Vocab list: Divide, multiply, subtract, compare and bring down.
  • Mnemonic: Does McDonald’s Sell CheeseBurgers?
  • Sentence: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  • Mnemonic (abbreviation):  NASA.

If you cannot come up with a mnemonic yourself, a resource I highly recommend is Memrise. There you’ll have access to a wealth of creative mnemonic photos and expressions that will boost your motivation and make learning enjoyable.

 

13. Stop worrying about making mistakes.

One of the biggest errors that can significantly slow you down is worrying about making mistakes.

“A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying… that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”

– Alexander Pope

To break this barrier, you might consider telling your language partners and teachers that you are open to any feedback or corrections on your grammar structure and pronunciation.

From my personal experience, asking my language partners to correct my mistakes has helped me learn hundreds of grammar rules, pronunciations and vocabulary words.

 

Now that you are all set to start your language journey, add some fuel to that fire and start applying these strategies to your educational process.

Take action now by listening to podcasts and audio clips to put your mind at ease about learning your foreign language.

Still not sure what language to learn? Check out our recent article [insert post title and link - best languages to learn in 2018]

 

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a content strategist, writer, polyglot and co-founder of WriteWorldwide.