Top 5 Techniques for Learning a Language
Hello Udon warriors, welcome back to another epic blog written to help you become the language master you always dreamed of being. In this article, we explore the five most effective techniques needed to learn a language. Whether you’re a beginner not quite sure where to start or you’re a seasoned pro looking for some new techniques, you’re in the right noodle joint. Are you ready to learn? YES?! Then let’s begin!
1. Incorporate the language into your everyday life.
This technique is very simple but VERY effective. It involves incorporating aspects of your chosen language into your everyday world. This could be labelling the food in your kitchen cupboards to help you learn specific words or, depending on your level of ability you may even wish to change your phone settings to show everything in your chosen language so that you get a taste every time you unlock your mobile. If you’re not 100% confident in switching out your mobile phone settings just yet, don’t worry! By investing in some post-it notes, you can label items and objects featured around your home or even your office (if your boss approves, of course). This way, you’re incorporating the language into your everyday life.
2. Get talking.
Whether it’s to yourself (yes, we understand this may feel strange at first but stick with it) or with a study partner, talking is one of the most effective ways to learn any language. Conversations are a really great way to practice what you already know, plus if you’re paired with someone who is more advanced, you have an opportunity to learn from them too. There are plenty of fantastic websites and apps out there ready and waiting for you to make new friends and start conversations – whether that’s online, using voice notes or in person. Or if you’re practicing Japanese, why not chat to the Udon master himself? Ben is always ready and willing to chat with his students!
3. Flashcards are your friends.
The very thought of flashcards may send shivers down your spine thinking back to those painful hours spent studying for your high school exams. But now that you’re studying a language you LOVE it’s time to make friends with flashcards. A great way to memorise words, phrases and grammar, flashcards are an awesome way to get information to stick in your mind. The important thing to remember is that flashcards are most effective when used frequently which is why we recommend looking at your flashcards for 20 minutes every day.
4. Focus on quality over quantity.
One of the key things to remember when learning a language is that quality time spent studying is much more useful than less focussed study sessions that may be longer in duration. For example, if you’re spending one hour a day studying but not really remembering much of what you learned, it’s time to take a fresh approach. Try focussing on one topic at a time, keeping complete focus for 20-30 minutes with absolutely zero distractions. This will be much more effective than a longer study session where nothing is absorbed.
Learning a language isn’t like studying for an exam, you don’t have to cram for hours only to forget everything a few hours later. The fact is you WANT to retain the information you learn, so if that means spending less time focussing on something more meaningful then just go for it!
5. Concentrate on all four language pillars.
You may be thinking ‘What in the world are the four pillars this crazy Udon head is talking about?’ Well, the four pillars in short are the four key ingredients that make up a delicious language recipe. The pillars include reading, writing, listening and oral skills. Of course we understand that everyone has different strengths, for example you might find that you are stronger at reading text in your chosen language than you are at speaking. What this doesn’t mean is that you should totally ignore reading to concentrate only on your speaking. In order to learn a language effectively, you must create a balance when it comes to studying and make sure you dedicate time to each of the four pillars so that you don’t fall behind. Our advice? Dedicate a set amount of time to studying each of the four pillars every single week, and if you do find that you are stronger in one aspect than another, lend additional time to that portion of your studies.
In order to effectively learn a language, you must not only use techniques that are proven to be effective but you must use techniques that work for you. If flashcards aren’t really your thing, try labelling items and objects around your home so that your learning never ends. The most crucial thing you need is motivation – if you’re motivated to learn then you should have no problem finding one or even ten different learning techniques that work for you.
Thank you for reading noodle heads!