Learn a New Language by Studying 30 Minutes a Day
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So you want to learn a new language but don’t know how? No worries – I am going to explain how you can learn a new language by just studying 30 minutes a day.
I will use our 3 step-method fluency method for this. If you haven’t already, please sign up for free so you can better understand the method, as well as get access to the French A0/A1 Course and Spanish A0/A1 Course. Now you can enroll and enjoy those two courses and the flashcards for free!
Step 1: Understand
Do 1 Lesson and Quiz Every Day
Every course contains lessons and quizzes.
The lessons have examples, explanations, and audio files.
After every sentence you will find a play icon.
If you click on this icon, you will hear the pronunciation of that sentence.
After you have finished a lesson you can do the quiz of that lesson.
Do 1 lesson every day, this takes about 10 minutes.
After you have finished a lesson you can do the quiz of that lesson.
The quizzes tend to have type in the blank exercises, but there are also a few multiple choice questions.
Once you have finished a quiz you can see your results.
This should about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Practice and Memorize
Use Flashcards Every Day
Every Course has its own corresponding deck of Flashcards. After you finish a chapter in a Course you should start with that chapter of the Flashcards.
So, when you finish Chapter 1 Pronouns of the French A0/A1 course, you should get started with Chapter 1 Pronouns of the French A0/A1 Flashcards.
This should take 15 minutes.
You can also immediately start with all of the Flashcards of a Course, but then you may not understand what you face.
Why Use Flashcards to Learn A New Language?
Long Term Memorization
Flashcards use something called active recall.
Active recall means that you are asked a question and you have to remember the answer.
This is more powerful than passive learning and improves to memory. When you retrieve information from your brain you strengthen your ability to retain information and create connections in your brain between different concepts.
This is very important when you learn a new language.
Flashcards also use something called spaced repitition.
Spaced repetition introduces new concepts in batches to you.
A flashcard appears and if you know the answer the flashcard moves to the next batch.
This batch will be shown to you on a later time. The more often you answer correctly the later the intervals become.
However, should you answer wrongly, the flashcard moves to the first batch again, and you will see it more often.
This way you progress based on your own results!
Learn Pronunciation: All Flashcards Have Audio
All the Flaschards have text, images, and audio!
The audio files have a very high quality, so you can hear the correct pronunciation, and pronounce it yourself.
Actually hearing how something is pronounced, is crucial when you want to learn a new language.
Step 3: Speak & Create Flashcards
Speak With A Native Speaker once a Week and Create Flashcards after the Conversation
Use Preply to Start Speaking
If you want to learn a new language then you have to actually speak it!
A great platform to find people with whom you can speak is Preply.
You should speak with a native speaker once a week for 30 minutes and create Flashcards after the conversation.
But how do you find someone with whom you can speak?
How to choose a Tutor
There are 3 criteria to keep in mind.
1. Cost – How affordable is this person?
Your first tutor should charge around 5-15 euros/dollars per hour. This is fair and reasonable for your first time.
2. Availability – How do your schedules align?
The tutors live all over the world and have their own schedules. See if their schedule matches yours. Having a conversation should fit within your normal daily schedule.
3. Linguistically similar – Do you have any common languages?
When you begin learning a language you will know very few words. If your tutor has a common language other than your new language, then it can be easier for you to communicate.
Choose someone keeping these criteria in mind.
What to Talk About
I bet you are scared to talk to someone in a new language.
Don’t worry, it is completely fine. Everyone feels this way. Accept the fear and just do it, after all what do you have to lose?
Here are some things that you can talk about.
1. Why do you want to learn a new language?
Generally this is something that you talk about during the first conversation.
2. What are your hobbies/passions?
Talking about things that you like is easy and fun.
3. Discuss an article that you read.
Read an article and discuss it. What do you think? Do you agree with the author? Why, or why not?
Don’t forget to ask your tutor some questions too, after all – it is a conversation!
What to do when you make a mistake
During the conversation there will be sentences that are difficult/impossible to make.
Imagine that you want say:
He has a car.
However you don’t know how, or you say something that is incorrect. Your tutor finally helps you and gives you that answer.
Él tiene un coche.
When this happens tell him/her to write that sentence down in the chat.
After the conversation is done you should have at least 5 sentences.
How to Make Flashcards After the Conversation
Take the sentences that you didn’t know and turn them into Flashcards.
Each field has a header that explains exactly what you need to fill in there. However, here’s a practical example to make things extra clear!
This is a Spanish sentence so go to the Spanish Deck and click to add card to begin!
- Enter “Él tiene un coche.”
- In the first line where you see “Él tiene un coche“, please replace the word you want to practice with a blank area. In this case we replace “tiene” with “___”. These are underscores.
- The second field is for verbs. So fill in the full verb “tener“.
- The third field is for the translation. So fill in the translation “He has a car“.
- The fourth field is for a picture. So enter a picture that represent the sentence.
- The fifth field is for the answer sentence. So enter “Él tiene un coche“.
- The sixth field is for the answer of the blank area. So fill in “tiene“.
- The seventh field is for the translation. So fill in “He has a car.”
- The eight field is for explanation. Here you can fill in what you want. I choose to have a conjugation chart to understand how “tener” is conjugated.
- The ninth field is for audio. You can enter your sentence here and download an audio file. Insert this audio file in the field.
How to Practice Writing Skills
The best way to improve your writing skills is to write and have your work be corrected by a community tutor or a teacher.
Ordered from easy to most difficult here are 3 forms of writing exercises that you can do.
1. Write an (imaginary) letter to a friend.
2. Summarize an article that you have read on a topic.
3.Write an essay on a topic of your choosing.
After you have done any of these exercises, you can send it to your tutor and have it checked.
When you talk with your tutor you can receive the correction and discuss what can be improved and the actual content itself.
This will help improve your writing skills, and also your speaking and listening skills once you discuss your actual writing.
Important Resources for How to Learn A New Language
Anki is the most well known Flashcard cards software out there.
What is ever better is that it is free and has a big community behind it.
It is often used by medical students and people that want to learn a new language.
The Flashcard system on this website is inspired by Anki.
If you don’t want to do the Courses, but just want to do Flashcards via Anki, then you can actually buy Anki Decks at our Shop.
Everything that has been written earlier, on how to use Flashcards, and how to make them is exactly the same.
Lingua has articles for A1-B1. There are questions that you can answer once you are done reading the articles. This is a good resource for beginners
Bounjour de France has articles ranging from A1 to C1. I personally think that you should use this resource if you are a beginner
Le Parisien is a good publication if you have a B1/B2 level. The articles are aimed at the general public with a focus on stories that are more popular among the people
Le Monde is a leading publication with a variety of stories. It is seen as one of the best publications of France and the World. This should be used if you have a B2+ level.
Your Own Personal Question File
When you learn a new language, you will find things that you cannot understand.
It could be a sentence/concept or just a part of a sentence/concept.
Every time this happens, copy this sentence/concept and put it into a word file.
The next time you speak with your tutor/teacher you can ask this question and get an explanation.
Afterwards you can make Flashcards based on this.
You have to do this to successfully learn a new language.