A popular Czech quote states, “Learn a new language and get a new soul.” And that has always been an interesting way to look at this process. Learning a new language is a fun and exciting journey that we believe everyone should experience. Being a multilingual speaker has tons of benefits that you should definitely take advantage of – for career and personal life. But to reach full mastery of any language, unfortunately, you will have to start as a beginner. If you are looking to learn a new language, whether Spanish, English, or Mandarin, and you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! We have compiled the best tips on language courses for beginners and where you should start.
1. Hire an Online Tutor Who is a NATIVE SPEAKER
Hiring an online native speaking language tutor who can guide and teach you is one of the best strategies to eventually reach fluency in a new language. You’ll be confident that what you’re learning is authentic speech. Also, you’ll be sure to have the correct pronunciations and accent since they are native speakers. Plus, since you’re meeting the tutor online, it will be much more convenient, saving you time and gas. With this extra time and cash, you could even take another hour of class with your tutor, which will get you even closer to fluency!
To make sure that you get the most out of your classes, we recommend that you schedule at least 2 hours a week with your online language tutor. Less than 2 hours is a ridiculously slow pace for progress when it comes to learning a new language. The beginner level alone is 150 hours, so if you did 1 hour a week, that would be 3 years just to finish the first level! (There are 3 levels to basic fluency and 6 levels for native fluency, FYI). Of course, the more hours, the better, so if you have the time, try to do more. However you want to get to 150 hours is up to you! And how long it takes is up to you too.
2. Don’t Buy Tons of Grammar Books – Focus on REAL Conversations in Authentic Situations
Many beginners make the mistake of buying many grammar books for learning a new language. What you should do instead is speak to your online tutor about what are the best books that you should purchase for your classes. Grammar is (kind of) important but grammar classes are not essential. People who don’t go to school still speak a language. And we’re all fluent by 5 years old, yet don’t start grammar classes til we’re about 12. So… you do the math. Plus, by focusing on what really makes you fluent (comprehensible input with a tutor that knows language acquisition methods), you won’t waste time and money on studying grammar for years, only to realize that grammar doesn’t make you fluent (it just teaches you grammar). So speak to your online language tutor first about the best tools for learning. You will be surprised to know that some of the best tools are actually free!
3. Find Beginner-Friendly Listening Conversations
This is one of the most crucial steps that many beginners may not understand. In fact, many of our students were skeptics at first until they saw the massive results in their language comprehension, which then led to language fluency. Many of us have been taught the more traditional way of learning a new language, which is to read and study grammar books. But this method has been proven to be ineffective for actual speaking fluency.
Take children, for example: they learn their native language just by listening for many, many years before they ever read or write. Now, naturally, you will learn how to read and write under the guidance of your online language tutor, with the use of some books. But, the hardest part of learning a new language is honing your listening and speaking skills. Therefore, it would be wiser to start there first, just like we all learned our first language!
Doing this step can be a breeze, as there are countless beginner-friendly listening conversations online. And your online language tutor can provide many of these as well. Our secret method to unlocking the best results when taking this approach is to:
- Listen to the conversation at least 20 times (yes, we said 20 times)
- Then read the conversation (if there is a transcript. If not, work with your tutor to write it out, since the tutor will understand every word)
- Lastly, look up the words and their definitions
- Ask tutor to ask you a million different questions about the listening, so that you can express yourself and explain what you heard.
- Do this at least 10+ times until you can easily answer the tutor’s questions
Now, as mentioned before, many of our students have found this to be strange. But what is actually happening is that your brain is putting everything (like the words and sounds) into categories.
What we have done with our students at TruFluency is to let them listen to a beginner-level video or conversation once a day for 30 days. Which is, of course, met with questions such as, “Why would I understand anything after 30 days? I don’t understand it now.” And every time, after those 30 days have passed, they would completely understand everything, because of the internal processes within our brains and because we go over the vocabulary in the transcript. That’s why we should trust our brains! Remember: there’s a 100% success rate when kids learn a language, so why would it be different with you? It won’t! That’s what our brains are wired to do.
4. Shadow Everything You Hear
Another simple tactic that you can add to your arsenal is to shadow everything you hear. This simply means that you will be mimicking everything the recording is saying. But the trick to it is to not stop the recording, but rather try to say it along with the conversation you are hearing. Almost like you are speaking on top of it. Do this many times over. We prefer to do it at least 20 times, until it is almost memorized. This increases your listening, your speaking, your comprehension, and your accent. Not to mention it helps you stay focused, when typically it’s pretty easy to space out when you’re watching a video in another language.
So, What’s Next?
If you are looking to start your journey to learn a new language, then we recommend that you find a native-speaking online tutor to guide you on this journey. Lucky for you, we at TruFluency offer a wide range of professional native-speaking online language tutors who are eager to help you gain true fluency in any language. If you are interested, then feel free to contact us, or sign up for a $35-trial class!