Let me start by saying that this is not the idiot's guide to language learning, but it definitely helped this idiot. I was useless at languages at school, I know this because my teachers told me and when school friends hear that I can speak Spanish they are so surprised...
So, how did I do it? My simple rules.
- Total immersion
- Don't be afraid to look stupid
- Ask for help
Let's break these down a bit.
- Immerse yourself in the culture, absorb what you can and most importantly listen. I spent a year listening without attempting anything, mainly because of not following rule 2. More language contact equals faster learning. I went from speaking nothing to B1 level in a few months! I only spoke English to my parents and brother for months. Yes I get this isn't realistic, so set yourself goals. No English (or native language) on a Wednesday, for example.
- Making mistakes is all part of the process, the most important part. No, you won't be fluent in three weeks of Duolingo classes. You HAVE TO just try, even just simple words and phrases, and slowly build it up. I never studied anything, it was just from hearing and repeating.
- Practice makes perfect. Cliché for a reason, why, because it bloody works. At the start it's difficult, I know. Practice with a native or someone with a very high level, so you don't pick up bad habits or pronunciation.
- People see you making an effort, and they are more than likely to help you with the learning process. Just be wary of saying a few words and not expecting War and Peace as a reply because they think you understand everything. Learn small phrases to ask for help!
Not exhaustive but if this helps one person learn anything, one word, on phrase, secure a date or all three then it was worth the write. Any questions, feel free to ask me or any other english teacher!