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11 tips for those who learn a foreign language on their own

Learning English will never lose its relevance, and you can learn it not only from textbooks, but also with more fun methods. For instance, Instagram subscriptions help you get closer to your media level faster than a tutorial. Writes about this Lifehacker.

Photo: Shutterstock

1. Make up expression cards

Everyone knows about cards - this method is the most popular in the process of learning a language. You just cut the squares out of cardboard and write the word on one side and the translation on the other.

Lexemes begin to be remembered in the process of making cards, but to heighten the effect, of course, you also need to consciously teach them, alternating directions and stages. But not all are moving from words to phrases. Proverbs, stable expressions, speech clichés, colloquialism - write everything that seems relevant on the cards and memorize them on the same principle as words.

Repeating the card over and over again, you drive material into long-term memory using the active memory mechanism. And when it comes to live communication, you will not need to bind words into a suitable phrase, - the phrase itself will fly off the tongue.

2. Mix words

“Language is a creative process,” says New Zealand psychologist, linguist and educator Chris Lonsdale in his speech at TEDx. Start small: make phrases. Knowing 10 nouns, 10 verbs and 10 adjectives, you can come up with 1 000 combinations. You can work on the anagram principle, when you need to make as many words as possible from a set of letters.

Define a set of words, which will include different parts of speech, and write out on a piece of paper all the possible phrases that come to your mind. After this, filter out those that are not used in live speech.

On the subject: 13 pairs of common English words that confuse even native speakers

To check whether this or that combination exists in nature, you can use the dictionaries. For example, the Longman Dictionary leads to each word the Collocations column, which captures the most commonly used language combinations. This practice will help to develop a spoken language and consolidate the familiar elements in memory.

3. Use the recipe

It is no accident that we begin to learn our mother tongue in words. No, we do not urge you to scribble hooks and sticks, but to write a couple of sheets with the same word - perhaps. It is especially useful to do this if the written language of the language you are learning, for example, in a hieroglyphic or alphabet unusual for your eye.

This method works at the level of mechanical memory and helps to remember the memorized word easily, reproducing it on paper. And the visual memory is connected to the mechanical memory, and it turns out to be a cool tandem, with which it will be difficult to forget what has been written a hundred times.

4. Subscribe to native speakers on Instagram

Finding native speakers of your language in your favorite social network is easy if you use hashtags in your preferred language and geolocation. You need to choose not those who post not burdened with the meaning of selfies, but the guys who care about the text content no less than about processing photos.

By adding bloggers from the country of the studied language to your subscriptions, you can not just enjoy the content, but at the same time get acquainted with the colloquial vocabulary and get used to the new linguistic environment, just flipping through the tape.

Here are some examples of English-language accounts for every taste and color:

  • Passion passport - an account that has absorbed hundreds of inspiring pictures from all over the world, which are accompanied by equally inspiring stories of their authors.
  • Alex Zouaghi - A blogger from London who lovingly talks about his beloved city, also in two languages ​​(for those who learn French, a note).
  • Fox account Juniper, whose owner describes the characteristics of life with wild animals and their relationships with each other.
  • Sharmili - beauty blogger from New York with detailed analyzes and texts on the topic of cosmetics.
  • Humans of New York - An interesting project that tells the stories of people living in New York.

5. Use visual memory

Standard columns of words, their meanings and pronunciations help to fix information visually. Create a table of lexemes with translation and transcription on a specific subject and memorize them first in the order in which they were written. Then swap and rotate the columns:

  • remove the translation bar and restore the values ​​by spelling and pronunciation;
  • leave only the transcription and try to recall the word itself and the Russian equivalent;
  • Shuffle the lines of each column and find the corresponding translation, connecting the word with the right value with straight lines.

The easiest and most effective way is to do it by hand on paper. Such a scheme of work connects the visual perception, and the alternation of columns and lines helps to transfer material from short-term to visual long-term memory, which has greater capacity and accuracy, according to the candidate of psychological sciences, head of the laboratory of cognitive research at NRU HSE Igor Utochkin.

On the subject: 15 language social networks for communication in English

If the paper is outdated for you, you can use simple tables in Word or Excel. Although you still have to print it out, it will be easier to work with the connection of words and the memorization of columns.

6. Glue stickers

Another fairly common method that should not be neglected is adhesive notes with words. If you are just starting to learn a language, make stickers on everything that comes handy. In this case, write on them not random words, but the name of the object you are gluing. So, going to the outlet or faucet, you will see it every time.

If you are already familiar with all household items, write on the stickers more complex tokens that you need. Select the word of the day and leave a reminder about it on all the surfaces encountered. Remembering it, change it to a new one.

7. Come up with language parallels and rhymes

You do not have to try to rhyme a word with its immediate meaning - use associations. Simple rhymes for associations like “dog-leash” are easy to remember and give no chance to get confused.

If you speak some foreign language and decide to learn another one, you can take advantage of this. Find words with the same meaning in different linguospheres and draw parallels between them: in sound, in writing. This works especially well if you learn languages ​​from the same language group.

8. See pictures to improve pronunciation.

Of course, the usual pictures will not help you to talk, but detailed illustrations of the features of the articulation in the pronunciation of a sound will make learning very easy. Each language has its own nuances of sound and features of the speech apparatus. In order to get as close as possible to the pronunciation of the carriers, study such pictures and apply them in practice.

9. Change the language on the phone

A great way to meet new words is to do it “out of despair”. Disadvantages will occur only the first time, until you understand all the technical terms that may occur. And then, that and you look, and you will begin to think in a new language.

On the subject: 17 tricky English words that you just want to translate incorrectly

10. Listen to the background

In this case, you do not even have to understand what you hear. Surround yourself with foreign language speech everywhere: turn on the radio or news programs while you cook or clean. This will allow you to memorize intonation, pace of speech and features of pronunciation.

11. Learn from your mistakes

Starting to speak a new language, it is impossible to do without speech errors. There is nothing wrong with them, but you should not ignore them. If you make a reservation and notice a mistake, correct it by repeating the sentence in the correct form. According to the bachelor of French and Roman philology, the current teacher-linguist Allison Lones, this will help to avoid such shortcomings in the future and consolidate the grammar in memory.

Learn the language as you feel comfortable. But in order to make the process faster and more efficiently, dilute the training with simple actions that are available to everyone in everyday life:

  1. Memorize sturdy phrases using flash cards.
  2. Get used to the phrases with anagrams.
  3. Spell the words.
  4. Search for Instagram content foreign-language accounts.
  5. Play with strings and strings to memorize words.
  6. Glue useful stickers.
  7. Rhyme the words.
  8. Learn the features of pronunciation - the position of the lips and other organs of speech.
  9. Surround yourself with language everywhere, even on the phone.
  10. Listen to foreign speech in the background.
  11. Correct errors immediately.
Miscellaneous English study Educational program Special Projects

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13 pairs of common English words that confuse even native speakers

10 strange and funny facts about the English language

Quarantine has changed the way you learn foreign languages: how to use the situation

21 ways to improve your English without leaving your home

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17 tricky English words that you just want to translate incorrectly

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