Easiest Ways to Learn a New Language

October 8, 2013

Learning a new language is on everyone’s new years list. Seriously, it’s been on mine for the last decade. Having had a few free hours the last couple days gave me time to look through my lists. There is one thing that reminds me of my secret ambitions more than anything else:  House Hunters. Yes, I know it’s staged, but seeing people travel to different countries, settle in and absorb the country is inspiring.

Packing up everything and moving to a different country is one way to immerse yourself in a culture and learn a new language. In fact, it’s something I wanted to do last year when I started to plan for a six-month move to Argentina, but life (and clients) kept me here. Moving away, however, is not always an option for everyone.  My travel motto has always been, “Be a foreigner in a new land, not a tourist.” That’s certainly important to me when I’m looking for cheap holiday deals.

I mean, the reason why we learn another language is to be able to go to a different place and blend in seamlessly on holiday. Regardless, if travelling isn’t in the cards for you right now, perhaps the following options might help you get your fix:

Language books/CDs:

One of the best language software systems out there, Rosetta Stone, along with the Complete Series are a great way to get started from the comfort of your own home.  Rosetta has tons of different options and is one of the easiest ways to learn a new language.  I have also tried Complete Spanish All In One and Get Started in Italian and really liked those. They were very easy to use and you can go at your own pace.

easy way to speak a new language

Taking a class:

I’m not a really a class person when it comes to languages because I find that you learn too many formal things and not enough conversational skills. However, it is a great way to get started.  Classes are ideal if you’re planning to be in a formal setting.

Watching TV:

Yep, you read that right. Watching TV shows and movies in different languages without subtitles can be frustrated at times, but as one of the top three ways to learn a new language- it does wonders. My sister is taking a few Italian classes in university but swears that she learned more watching Italian soap-operas in the summer.

Talking to people:

Seems like common sense, right? Somehow we forget it. Taking the time to actually talk to someone is the best practice you can give yourself. I used to work in a retirement home and used to spend my breaks talking to the loveliest German couple in VERY broken German.  Did I become fluent? No, but I did pick up a few words and learned the dialect!

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  • Morgaine October 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Right now I’m taking an Irish Gaelic class. Yes, most classes are quite formal when it comes to learning languages but it also gives a great opportunity to speak the language (and have it corrected, a lot of times people are too “polite” to correct you if they understand your meaning. We also do role plays and conversations among class members and since I don’t know anyone else outside this class who speaks Gaelic (ok some of my University professors) this is the only way I’ll get good practice.

    Good luck with your language studies.

    • Marissa October 9, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Thank you. Gaelic sounds sooo interesting.

  • moneystepper October 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Having only ever spoke very basic French, I moved to Marseille last year.

    Whilst maybe not entirely practical, finding a place in the foreign country where very people speak very little English is easily the best way to learn a language darn quickly!!

    • Marissa October 9, 2013 at 12:13 am

      I agree! How is your French these days?

  • CF October 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I’ve taken French and German through school. I like the structure of a class. I’ve been meaning to sign up for a language class and brush up on my skills actually.

    • Marissa October 9, 2013 at 12:14 am

      German is a lot harder than I expected it to be.

  • Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial October 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    The absolute best way to learn an new language is immersion! That’s why watching TV or movies without subtitles is actually a great way to learn over time. Immersion is how babies naturally learn a native language, so it makes sense why it is the best way to learn later in life, too. I took Spanish in high school and college and though I retained a good bit, I’ve forgotten more than I wanted to. When I went to Mexico last year though, by the end of the week I suddenly realized I remembered and understood far more of the language than I had before we got there. Moving to a Spanish-speaking country and living there for at least a few months is one of my life goals – I’d love to go to Argentina myself! 🙂

    • Marissa October 20, 2013 at 3:18 am

      I totally agree. Argentina is still on my bucket list.

  • Alexis Marlons October 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I used to google a lot in order to learn or understand a few about certain languages. It is actually part of my previous job. Now I slowly learn a few about different languages.

    • Marissa October 20, 2013 at 3:18 am

      What are you working on right now?

  • Harry @ SmartMoneyJunction October 20, 2013 at 6:26 am

    You’re absolutely right Marissa. Learning any foreign language takes time, patience and regular practise. You just gotta keep at it and slowly you’ll begin grasping most of it.