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A STARTER PACK TO LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE THIS SUMMER

3 mins read

How to get fluent, fast.It seems obvious, but signing up for classes is a sure-fire way to accelerate your learning of a language from home. If you’re struggling to motivate yourself, paying for lessons holds you accountable. Find an online tutor via platforms like ClassGap, Italki or Verbling. If possible, group in-person classes can be fun (try Cactus or CityLit). It’s a good way to learn from others’ mistakes and practice conversation without the embarrassment that comes with messing up when chatting to native speakers in the real world. Apps allow you to get extra learning in, anywhere and anytime, and often for free. Duolingo (available in 19 languages) works well for learning vocab and familiarising yourself with sentence structure but is less helpful with practical phrases. Babbel is customised to the specifics of each language as opposed to being cookie cutter across the board and culture while Mondly is good for conversation and pronunciation.Getting your ‘ear in’ is key and listening to podcasts, radio or audiobooks while you walk/cook/bathe is a good way to up your passive learning hours. Try Coffee Break Languages (bite-sized lessons and conversations across all levels) or News in Slow (current affairs discussed at an understandable pace). Or, as you progress, use TuneIn to access live-streamed radio from your country of choice or Audible to download familiar books in your new language.There’s more crossover with some languages than you might think thanks to cognates (essentially words that stem from the same origin). If you’re learning a Romance language (like Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian), there are some handy hacks for learning thousands of words quickly. For example, words ending in ‘tion’ in English (like action or communication) are the same in French, and with slightly different endings in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese (ción, zione and ção respectively).Watching films in your chosen language with English subtitles is a great way to hear its rhythm and pick up phrases or words. On Netflix, you can filter by language while BFI Player and Curzon online also have a great selection of foreign language films across all genres.