Ah, yes, so you decided to take a foreign language. Personally, I think learning a new language is fun. Currently, I’m learning Latin, which is a blast. (No, that wasn’t sarcasm. It really is fun.) I do want to learn a few more languages though. I might take some classes next summer or during college.
But, anyways, here are my tips on how to study a foreign language. Keep in mind, this is what works for me and you may modify it however you like. There’s tons of ways to learn!
I found what really helped me for learning vocabulary was flashcards. I would put the definition of the Latin word on the front and the Latin word on the back. I would shuffle them every time I went back to the beginning. Also, if I found this too easy and monotone, I would flip flop them. So, the Latin word, then the definition.
For memorizing verb declensions, I would take a word from each conjugation and decline it without using my notes. I would do this until I got it memorized. Then, I’d move on to translating sentences and forming them with these declensions.
For me, it’s about repetition, thinking through what you’re going to write/translate, and actually understanding the language.
Let’s see, what am I missing?
Okay, let’s continue with verb declensions. My first year in Latin, we learned all the verb tenses, declensions, conjugations, etc. So, to keep all this info straight, I would get a verb from the first conjugation and decline it in all tenses. Same for second, third, third-io, and fourth.
For ones that were blatantly obvious (aka the ones I learned way back in August-December), I’d have those down pat. I mainly just focused on the ones giving me trouble and that were hard to keep up with. Beside my Latin translation, I’d also put the English translation.
Ex) Amabunt = They will love.
Let’s move on to notes.
-Write your notes in the way that works for you.
-Keep your notes organized.
-If it’s important, highlight or point arrows to it. Make it stand out!
-Even if it’s little things, write it down. I’d always do this since if I wrote it down, I was basically guaranteed to remember it by the time I was doing a translation or taking a test.
-Keep all your notes! That’s right. Keep them ALL!
This one might be obvious, but if you ever do story translations while learning a foreign language (you are guaranteed to), if your teacher reads aloud the correct translation, write the correct version where you made a mistake!
When I’d do this, I would find stupid mistakes like putting it into the wrong tense or even the wrong number of persons! It really makes you slow down to think when you do your next translation.
Relate it back to the English language.
Learning Latin, this was easy to do. I found it always helped because an easy noun like nauta, nautae, m means sailor. That’s where the word nautical comes from. Always try to do this because it really does help.
Oh! I just remembered one. DO NOT USE GOOGLE TRANSLATION. IT IS LITERALLY ALWAYS WRONG. At least for Latin it is! I tried this once when I was utterly tired and confused and it was so wrong. I never used it again. It also doesn’t help you with anything, so I don’t recommend!
That’s all my tips for today! Maybe I’ll remember some more things I did to help me with Latin and if I do, I’ll just add to this post!
P.S. What language are you learning? I want to take some classes over the summer (2016), or in college, to learn more languages!
¨Don’t let what he wants, eclipse what you need. He is very dreamy, but he is not the sun. You are.” — Christina Yang
7/4/15: The Fourth of July was full of fun with my neighbors!