Some Language Learning Tips

Hello everyone! I apologize for my hiatus as I was taking two summer courses. Future TAB students, you will have to take an Ethics and Law class as well as your specialization course in the summer. I really enjoyed both of them! This past week I’ve been coding my data using the method outlined here. I will compare it with my second-coders coding and then input it into NVivo. As my TAB journey is approaching, I’ve also been focused on trying to learn as much basic Germany as I can. In my interviews, I’ve also focused on language learning asking participants if and how they learned their TAB countries language. Some didn’t focus too much on language learning, but others became fluent in a new language within 2-3 months! As teachers, there’s benefits in learning what it’s like to start at square one again with learning. I’m by no means an expert in language learning, but here are some tips that I find useful.


Be okay in making mistakes

I was also very nervous (and still am) to try and speak other languages due to my fear of mistakes and incorrect pronunciation. However, I’ve learned that the only way you can get better is by practicing and by making mistakes. Most people are very kind as well, and even those who aren’t – you probably won’t see them ever again so it doesn’t even matter!

Watch movies and shows in your target language

This tip was also discussed by a teacher I interviewed. It’s an entertaining way to get use to the sounds of the target language and pick up words.

Active immersion

The teachers that did pick up new languages while abroad were extremely motivated to learn. They immersed themselves as much as they could with native speakers. Some purposely chose to stay with host families so that they’d be able to speak and listen to the native language as much as possible.  

Use technology and apps!

Many teachers I talked to used apps like DuoLingo and HelloTalk. I personally have used both, and although they are free and are useful, I still personally learn better in a formal setting. I also find using Quizlet to memorize and learn vocabulary useful. As adults, only so much language can be learned passively. One also must be willing to learn the grammar aspects of language at that takes work!

Learn phrases and words that are useful to you!

I remember in my french classes in Montreal, we’d try and focus on useful phrases we could use in the city. I think it’s important to start with things you’re going to use – such as how to order food, introduce yourself, etc -rather than focusing on tiny grammar nuisances in the beginning.

Have fun with it!

You’re going to make lots of mistakes and it’s going to take a long time to become completely fluent in a language. Therefore I think it’s important to just enjoy the experience and be proud of little accomplishments. I remember in Korea I’d be so happy after I read a Korean word and realized it was an English word. For example, 카푸치노 is literally just cappuccino in hangul!

Best of luck to all those learning a new language. There’s tons of more useful tips online (such as here and here) from people who know a lot more than me.

Hopefully I’ll be able to share some results from my study next week. I’ll keep you updated!


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