How To Improve Your Language Skills + Resources
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Learning a vocabulary is the essential step to start learning a new language. But we all know that it’s the practice that makes one perfect. From my own experience, it is great to start learning vocabulary on your own. It helps you to get familiar with the language, learn how to pronounce the words, and get a general feeling of the language structure.
However, we usually come to the point afterward, when we know all those words, but we cannot really use them in real life, in a conversation. So now, it’s time know how to improve your language skills.
Below, I am giving you 7 useful tips on how to improve your language skills and practice the vocabulary you are learning. It will generally reinforce your ability to understand the language when people are talking to you.
How To Improve Your Language Skills: 7 Useful Tips In A Nutshell
- Listen to podcasts
- Record yourself reading a text & listen to it
- Talk to yourself
- Read books & language magazines
- Listen to audiobooks
- Do your favorite activity in the language
- Use online platforms to practice speaking
1.Listen To Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to practice a foreign language. The best part is that you do not have to leave everything behind and only focus on listening to the podcast. You can easily clean your flat, cook, or run and listen to the podcast in your foreign language. It happens rather unconsciously, but believe me that you are learning something from the language.
I have selected best language learning podcasts for you to learn foreign languages. Sign up today to start learning a language you want.
2.Record Yourself Reading A Text & Listen To It
This is one of my favorite strategies. Especially because you can kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, you have to find a text in which you are interested. It can even be your sentences in the language travel notebook you created and want to learn. Read them out loud and record yourself.
This way, you not only practice reading skills and pronunciation but also listening and understanding. Moreover, it helps you to learn and remember vocabulary.
Even better would be to write your own text and then record yourself reading it out loud. This will help you remember the vocabulary even better, and you will improve many language skills at the same time. After, listen to the recording once you are going to work, school, or while doing any other activity.
Language App With Voice Recognition
I use LanguagPod101 app when I learn a language as a beginner, which also work with voice recognition. It enables you to record yourself when pronouncing words or sentences. Also, it says how well you pronounced the words. You can read more about this app with voice recognition in my article about the best language learning app.
3.Talk To Yourself
Although it might seem a little ridiculous, it is fun and really helps.
You know, when I am on a bus going to work or on a train travelling somewhere, I usually do some thinking. At the same time I practice a language in my head with a unique method – talking to myself. And it really helps me to improve my language skills.
So what do I mean by that? Whenever I am in a quiet place, don’t have so much to do, or I travel on a bus, train… basically any activity that doesn’t require concentration, I start talking to myself practicing the language.
Example: How To Talk To Yourself
Let’s say I have been recently learning vocabulary for the situation when I am in a restaurant and want to order something. I rekindle all the vocabulary I have learned and imagine myself being in a restaurant ordering food, having a little conversation with a waiter.
I talk to myself in my head and imagine the waiter is in front of me. Then I also imagine what the waiter would reply. This way, I am creating a conversation between the waiter and me in my head. I am practicing all the vocabulary I have already learned and trying to use it in whole sentences. This is a fantastic way to practice your language skills. Not only are you refreshing the words you wrote to your language travel notebook, but you are getting more confident in the language.
How Can Talking To Yourself Improve Language Skills
You’ll realize that maybe you don’t remember a few words, and it might disappoint you. But that’s all right. Once you come back home, take your language travel notebook with the vocabulary and find the words you couldn’t remember while talking to yourself.
Highlight these words in some color so that you know which words you still have to repeat and learn.
This way, you’ll memorize the words. The next time, you’ll remember them, be able to use them in a real conversation and won’t get stuck.
You can even write these words, which you still can’
t remember, to your Week Sheets.
You Will Also Think Of New Words
Talking to yourself also helps to learn new words (that you didn’t write into your language travel notebook). On the way, when you try to communicate to yourself and produce some sentences, you might come across words in your head that you would like to say, but you don’t know how to express them.
It’ll also motivate you. Once you have the chance, look these words up in a dictionary or online, translate them, and add them to your vocabulary list into the language travel notebook.
Find out more about how to use your language travel notebook in my separate article.
4.Read Books & Language Magazines
Reading books and magazines is a perfect way for improving your language skills. Not only are you practicing the language, but also learning new words in a context. And the best part of it all? You are learning it all unconsciously.
When you read, you practice different language skills. First of all, you are learning new vocabulary without even noticing it. After you speak with a person using some words, you will be surprised where you even know these words from.
Well, that’s because you were reading, and the new words jump into your head automatically. Since you have these words connected to the story you are reading, it makes it more efficient to remember them.
Secondly, you are making a connection between words and realize the deeper meaning of the words. We get the feeling about these words, in which context they are used. The drawback of only studying vocabulary at the beginning is that you memorize the words and after, as I said earlier, you don’t know how to use those words in a conversation. Reading books will simplify this process for you. Books will help you to understand the vocabulary and sound more natural once you speak.
I’ve put together a list of the best foreign language books for you. You can start reading even as a beginner. In fact, I highly recommend it.
I want to pay special attention to magazines as well. They are my favorite source for reading, especially because they combine my two passions – travel & languages. And your passions might be ‘passon’ & languages.
I read magazines in a foreign language a lot because they are written in a language beginners can understand. At the same time, they talk about culture and travel within the county where the language is spoken. So you are again killing two birds with one stone again.
First of all, you learn new vocabulary in the language. Secondly, you also learn something interesting about the country. It is a double excitement and a motivation itself that will improve your language skills a lot.
I have chosen the best foreign language magazines for you to learn languages in a fun way.
5.Listen To Audiobooks
I understand that not everybody is keen on reading books. For me, it is difficult in a working day as I am usually super tired, and I fall asleep after reading a page.
Luckily, we have a slightly different method for getting information from books – audiobooks. The advantage is that you don’t have to sit down and read, but you can listen to an audiobook wherever you are and whatever you are doing.
The words are going to your head automatically. You are again getting a general feeling for the language and its structure.
Get some of the best audiobooks from my lists, depending on the language you learn:
- 13 best German audiobooks for beginners
- 6 best French audiobooks for beginners
- 6 best Italian audiobooks for beginners
- 8 best Spanish audiobooks for beginners
- 6 best Russian audiobooks for beginners
6.Do Your Favorite Activity In The Language
Do your favorite activity and learn a language along with it. It can be anything. Let’s take, for example, cooking. You love cooking or baking, so why not learn the vocabulary you will need to bake a cake. Think about your favorite recipe and translate it in your own words into your target language. After, cook/bake according to that recipe and read it out loud.
Let’s say you are doing yoga. Learn how to say various movements in the language and then do yoga by saying these words. Or practice yoga according to a video in a foreign language. You know, it can be anything. Just incorporate the foreign language into that process.
If you need more inspiration for activities and games, you can play to learn languages naturally and in a fun way; read my article about the best gifts for language learners.
In case you love wathing movie, series, or soap operas, check out my article about the best way to learn a language online for free.
7. Use Online Platforms To Practice Speaking
Speaking is one of the most important parts of your language learning process. When you speak, you are creating your own language. Once you achieve fluency, it is the milestone when you can say you have learned the language.
I have a few ideas for you on how to practice your language with native speakers in a separate article. There are amazing online platforms where you can create your account and practice your speaking skills. You can choose your own schedule and book the lessons whenever it fits you. So check it out.
Finally, I understand that getting to the point and starting speaking is one of the most challenging steps in your language learning journey. Many are afraid to speak because of uncertainty and lack of confidence. Don’t worry. I get you here. If you’re struggling with it, check out my article about overcome fear of speaking foreign language.
The Best Platform To Practice Speaking
I want to save your time and tell you that iTalki is honestly the best platform to start practicing your speaking skills. You can do so even in the first week of learning a language. I’ve been using iTalki for over a year and it helped me to improve my Spanish skills significantly.
Why is it the best platform?
- it is cheap – you can get lessons with a tutor between 5$ to 10$ for 60 minutes
- they offer a trial lesson, usually for just 1$ – you get the chance to decide and choose the best tutor for you
- tutors are super nice, from all over the world, they really encourage you to speak
To all of that, I also have a small gift for you. If you register and book a lesson with one of the tutors (your choice), after the first lesson, you will get 10$ credit. Go ahead and register today to get your credit :).
This article is just a part of my language learning method. If you are interested in the whole method, in a nutshell, read my article about how you can learn a language for travel.
Also, don’t forget to download your language travel notebook that will make the entire learning process for you much easier.
If you find it difficult to stick to the learning and don’t know how to achieve your goals, read my article about how to achieve goals when learning languages.
Check out my article about the benefits of learning foreign language for travel. I’ll give you more inspiration and encouragement to get started.
I hope these methods will inspire you to start practicing your language skills. Try all of them and pick up those, which are the most effective for you. Use them in everyday life, and you will see how much your language skills will be improving step by step.