Tips for learning a language! // GUEST POST

Hello everyone!

Today you've got a guest post from Liam of The Life of A Thinker so this is just a quick wee message from me to say go check out his blog & enjoy! Over to Liam!

how to tips for learning a new language british sign language bsl youtube dictionary books apps

Back in March 2014, it was fair to say that I had no knowledge of British Sign Language (BSL). I am mildly deaf and had previously been invited to join a youth board of 18 deaf young people. When I went to my first board meeting, I knew that learning BSL would be useful and help me to communicate with other members of the youth board who use it. Now, one year later, I went from knowing no BSL to being able to have full conversations with BSL users.

So whilst I wouldn’t say that I’ve learnt the language completely (I’m still learning), there’s definitely things I did throughout the year to help me pick up the language easier. Whilst BSL is a visual language, these 5 top tips of mine will definitely help if you wanted to learn a foreign language as well.

1. Practice with those who speak the language

This is obviously one of the best ways to practice a language. They can correct you on things such as pronunciation, and you can even make new friends through practising with them!

2. Buy an English to *insert language here* dictionary

When learning a language, I often have moments where I cannot remember the word I wish to say. For that reason, having an English dictionary handy can often help solve that problem. Whilst paying £30 for a BSL dictionary can be a bit too much, dictionaries often have helpful, easy-to-understand tips on how to pronounce a word too, and they are incredibly invaluable.

3. Watch TV shows/films etc. in the language

I still do this now. At weekends, when the Coronation Street omnibus is shown on Sunday, I often pay attention to the BSL interpreter in the corner signing and can sometimes learn new signs through that. As for foreign languages, DVDs and some TV shows often have subtitles with other languages available. Why not watch the programme in another language and then have English subtitles on screen in case you get stuck?

4. Take courses/lessons or buy books

With foreign languages, always try and see if a local college, university or school offers free courses or lessons. They’re often great places to meet fellow learners and more people to practice the language with! Also, there are numerous books out there which can help. Some of them may be targeted at children, but they often explain the language in a clear, easy-to-understand way so they can be useful.

5. Make use of YouTube videos or apps.

If courses are too expensive or aren’t available where you live, then YouTube is always a brilliant place to go. Videos on YouTube are free and can sometimes be easier to understand than books (especially when it comes to pronunciation). There’s also the really useful app and website, Duolingo, which sets you quizzes to help you learn a language for free!

So those are my top five tips for learning a new language. Even though I say in the title that these may help you to learn a language quick and fast, it’s also good to remember that you can language at your own pace. Take as long or quick as you like, and best of luck if you plan on learning a new language!

What languages do you know, and which ones would you like to learn? Comment below!