How to Enjoy Learning a New Language

One of the main problems people experience while studying a new language is that studying the material is often about as quick and enjoyable as wading through a swamp of tar and treacle.

Result: they eventually give up frustrated and exhausted. Reaching for the bilingual dictionary every third word can wear down the spirit of even the most persistent of wannabe linguists. What is the answer then?

Read Harry Potter

That’s right. Read your favorite books or watch your favorite films in your target language. The interest and enthusiasm you experience from reading your favorite books will be enough to push you through any feelings of frustration that will inevitably come from reading or listening in an unfamiliar language.

I’m willing to bet that you’ve read your favorite books and seen your favorite movies at least more than once. Knowing the story and some of the dialogue implicitly, you are free to focus on the new language that you are studying. Free from any worries about the plot or what on earth just happened in the last scene. Even better, if you know some of the dialogue by rote you will experience many ‘ah-ha’ moments where your present knowledge of your first language and your target language will click.

Think of your material in your target language as foods. Are you consuming materials/foods that you like? What are the odds of you sticking with the book/film until the end? Do not read a book that you would not read in your native language, you will give up before you reach halfway.

Learn about an area of interest through your target language. If the life of Van Gogh fascinates you and you are learning French then you might want to read about his life in the target language.

Now obviously, if you are learning Zapotec or Welsh (my first language) then you might have difficulty finding your favorite underground novel but it may not be impossible. If your target language is a major one then you should have no trouble and the vast majority of publishing smash hits are translated into several languages.

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