Obviously, what we achieve when learning a new language mainly depends on us, however, there are many factors that can influence how much and how well we may pick up the new language we are interested in learning. Also, how can we prevent getting bored and frustrated with the language? Because this is something that happens very often due to us not getting the feeling we are truly achieving something. The solution to these questions is fairly simple. We need to be interested in the material we are trying to learn. With this I don’t just mean being interested in the language and culture, even though clearly this is a very important factor, but mostly i am referring to what exactly we use to learn this language.
So most importantly, it is fundamental that we like the content and are interested in the content that we use to learn the language. This can vary from books, to magazines, TV, series, movies, audiobooks, and so much more. The possibilities are endless. Of course not everyone enjoys the same books, or the same movies, therefore it is up to the learner to pick the material he or she feels most comfortable using. This may take a while until we have discovered what is right for us to use.
Personally I love to read, so books are usually my first choice. Even so, I also try to mix different kinds of material, to put together a mixture of reading, listening, and speaking. I use the books to read, movies and series to listen, and internet, loud reading and in my case my Fiancee for pronunciation, as he speaks the language i’m trying to learn. For example, I have watched all the Harry Potter movies in Swedish, and I have recently started reading the first Harry Potter book in Swedish too. The reason I chose Harry Potter is because I know the story line, I have read the books in English and I have seen all the movies several times. Because of this, I know what is going on without having to understand everything that is being said. This is great because this way I can concentrate more on the language itself, picking out words I know, gathering new vocabulary and assembling that with the rest of the context. By knowing a few words in a sentence, and knowing what is being talked about more or less, we can usually figure out the rest of the words in the sentence by ourselves. Nevertheless, I always use the internet, or dictionaries when exploring a language and learning new vocabulary, to be sure about the meaning of all the words. I also like to write them down, to be able to study the new vocabulary later on, and of course to not forget the new things I have learned. Besides this, many languages can be similar, like for example Spanish and English, Portuguese and Spanish, or German and Swedish. If you know a similar language, it is a lot easier to compare and remember new words. The more languages you speak, the easier learning new languages becomes.
Many people who have studied foreign languages agree that this is one of the most comfortable and efficient way to learn a new language. There are countless of reasons why.
Why this is considered a more effective way to learn
First of all, it is a lot easier to simply read and listen. Much easier than trying to remember lists of vocabulary, grammar rules, and strange sounding words that we are not really sure of what exactly they mean. We can start reading and listening in a different language whenever we want, and are not forced to stick to a schedule. We can do it in our own speed and we can read and listen to the things we choose. This is important, again, because we have to be interested in it.
When I studied French in school, our teacher agreed that watching a movie is a great way to learn a new language, especially for kids are are most certainly not going to remember the different millions of grammar rules. However, the mistake my teacher made is putting on the most boring movies ever. Of course I understand, as it was school it had to be educational, and I very much agree, but for 14 year old teenagers, it is not ideal. Teenagers are not interested in watching a documentary about something boring that happened I don’t know how many years ago. Sure, its educational, but that won’t matter because no one is paying attention anyway. In this case, as the target-group are 14 year olds, I would’ve chosen something such as a sitcom, a good movie, or interesting series. Something that would call for their attention, and that they would be interested in knowing what is being said.
Second of all, another thing that makes this way of language learning more effective, is that we are able to concentrate more on what we are learning. We are not constantly interrupted by a teacher, or other things that could distract as in a classroom, private lessons, tutoring, and so on.
Also worth mentioning, is that this way of learning is very very cheap, if not free. We don’t have to pay teachers, classes, exams or certificates. We can buy one book in the language, and this will keep us busy for weeks. The internet contains endless of useful articles in almost any language. Just search for the translation of the topic you are interested in, and enter this in a search engine. Several articles about that topic in that language should appear, for hours of reading and language development. If you don’t have access to internet, do not worry. You can lend books from a library, listen to music , and even watch TV to be in touch with the foreign language.
There are endless reasons, we can take it with us on the move, we can learn at our own pace, it’s most certainly less stressful, and one of my favorites is that we ourselves choose when we start speaking. It is entirely up to us to decide when we feel ready to talk, and in most cases, when we do start talking, we do much better than someone who has been sitting through lessons for weeks and weeks straight.