What To Learn In A New Language: Complete Guide For Beginners
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that Voices of Travel is all about learning languages for travel in a simple and fun way. And of course, giving you guys travel itineraries to travel abroad and practice your foreign languages. Many people ask me where they should start when learning a new language. What to learn in a new language. And I completely understand it might be quite overwhelming to start learning a new language if you don’t know how and what to start with.
That’s why I want to answer all your questions and doubts about what to learn in a new language. So many people fail in learning a new language simply because they get lost in the process. They don’t know where to start and see a clear path of where they’re getting in the language learning process.
This article will give you exact steps and areas in the language you have to start with when learning a new language. When you follow all these steps and instructions for each week, you’ll get to the intermediate level of the language. So, let’s get round to it.
List Of Things For What To Learn In A New Language:
Here is a list of things to learn in a new language as a beginner (A1 & A2 level):
- Phrases To Present Yourself
- Countries & Nationalities
- Jobs & Professions
- Hobbies & Interests
- Daily routine With Activities
- Days of The Week
- Weather Expressions
- Giving & Getting Directions
- Pronouns (personal, object, demonstrative)
- Negative Sentences
- Basic Verbs & Conjugation
- Reflexive Verbs
- Simple Adjectives
- Modal Verbs
- Ordinal Numbers
- Imperative Tense
- Future Tense
- Past Tense
This is a clear pathway for you to start learning a new language. If you go through all these things, you’ll achieve level B1 in your foreign language. That means you’ll become intermediate.
What Will You Know As An Intermediate Language Speaker
At the intermediate level of language learning, you know all the language basics (as described above). You can communicate in everyday situations such as shopping, meetings friends, ordering food in a restaurant, booking a hotel, going on a vacation, etc. You can lead basic conversations and feel confident in speaking within these situations. At the intermediate level, you also know the basics of grammar (present and past tense).
If you follow these steps in a new language as an absolute beginner, you’ll get to the intermediate level. It will be satisfying and rewarding.
So now, let’s break each category down. I’ll explain you what it is to learn in a new language and how you should approach it every single week.
If you’re hesitant about which language you want to learn, check out what the easiest European languages to learn are.
Get A Free Language Notebook
BEfore you get to the acutal learning process, get my free language travel notebook. You can write all new vocabulary down inside the notebook. It will guide you throughout the entire language learning process and help you to learn vocabulary.
Vocabulary & Grammar Basics
1. Week Of Learning A New Language
Which Vocabulary To Learn In your 1. Week
The first thing I suggest you learn is ‘Greetings.’ You’ll learn how to say hello to somebody and basic words such as: good morning, afternoon, evening, goodbye, how are you.
Right after, you can start by introducing yourself. Learn basic phrases such as My name is, I come from, where are you from, etc. Imagine you’re meeting a new Mexican friend (or German, whatever language you’re learning), and try to introduce yourself to him. So think about all phrases you would use and learn them in the foreign language.
The first week is kind of like an introduction to getting to the new language. Get familiar with it and learn these basic phrases and words.
What Grammar To Learn In your 1. Week
As for grammar, learn personal pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they). Also, you can incorporate questions. Learn how to form questions in a foreign language. You’ll learn how to present yourself and will need to ask somebody to introduce himself to you. So learn the interrogative pronouns (what, why, where, when, how). Also, study how questions are formed in the language.
2. Week Of Learning A New Language
Which Vocabulary To Learn In your 2. Week
In the second week of your language learning, incorporate more vocabulary. You can start with countries and nationalities since you’ll need these words when introducing yourself. Or you’ll need to understand somebody telling you where they are from. Here you can also learn languages. How would you express what languages you speak?
In the second half of the week, start learning words for jobs and professions. Just learn basic jobs such as a lawyer, shop assistant, businessman, doctor, nurse, truck driver, etc. Think about all professions your friends and family members have and learn them in the foreign language.
What Grammar To Learn In your 2. Week
In your second week, keep it simple with grammar. Only learn how to create negative sentences. For now, you don’t know many verbs, so don’t stress out. Just notice how to form negative sentences in a foreign language. That’s it.
3. Week of Learning A New Language
Which Vocabulary To Learn In your 3. Week
We are entering an exciting week. Now, you have a couple of vocabulary in your head already. You are starting to grasp the basics of the language. That’s amazing. Keep going. This week, we’ll learn everything about our hobbies and interests. This will come naturally to us, right?
So, think about all hobbies and interests you have and learn them in the foreign language.
After, you can learn the very basics such as numbers and colours as well. Remember that you’re trying to get familiar with all these words in your new foreign language. Don’t try to stuff them into your head, and don’t feel disappointed when you don’t remember a few of them. Take it easy. The important thing here is to be in contact with the language and this vocabulary.
Check out my article about how to learn vocabulary fast. It will give you ideas for learning vocabulary in fun and exciting ways. You’ll create flashcards, play games, do vocabulary walls, and more.
What Grammar To Learn In your 3. Week
Since we are learning about our hobbies and interests, it is important to learn basic verbs in the language this week. So the first thing you need to do is learn how to conjugate basic verbs in the language.
I suggest you get the Barron’s Verb Series Book. This book is amazing as it has all the verb conjugations you’ll need to learn. So just look up a verb you need, and see how to conjugate it in each sentence.
The verb conjugation is not a big deal in English. However, it starts to be more difficult when you learn German, Spanish, French, or Italian. This is because, with these languages, verbs are conjugated differently with each personal pronoun.
For example, the Spanish verb ‘PONER’ means ‘to put something somewhere’. Its conjugation in each person looks as follows:
You PONGO (I put)
Tú PONES (you put)
Él PONE (he puts)
Nosotros PONEMOS (we put)
Vosotros PONÉIS (you put)
ELLOS PONEN (they put)
You see, each person is different. And these are regular (easier) and irregular verbs. With Barron’s book, you’ll easily have all verb conjugations available and will be able to learn them along the way.
So just learn basic verbs. For instance, a hobby of yours: running. Look up ho to say the verb running in your foreign language. Once you know it, look the verb up in Barron’s book and learn how to conjugate it in a person you need.
Don’t Stress Out: You Don’t Have To Learn Every Verb
I am not telling you to learn all the verbs. Not at all. In week 3, only start familiarizing yourself with the verbs and the way they are conjugated. Conjugate a few verbs on your own, those you’ll need to use. That’s it. From now on, you’ll learn verbs each week, and you can always use Barron’s book as a reference.
4. Week of Learning A New Language
Which Vocabulary To Learn In your 4. Week
This week is also going to be one of the exciting ones. We are learning how to express activities and things we do in our daily routine. So go through your day and think about all phrases you need to express what you do during your day.
Along with daily activities, you’ll also learn the time when you do them. Learn how to say what’s the time in your foreign language. Also, add days of the week to say on which day you do particular activities.
What Grammar To Learn In your 4. Week
For this week, keep up with learning verbs. When learning how to express your daily activities, new verbs will add up. Especially reflexive verbs. So you can now learn how to conjugate reflexive verbs. And just keep looking all verbs up in Barron’s verb book.
5. Week of Learning A New Language
This week, we’ll learn everything that’s left on our list. These are family members, weather, and giving directions in a city or on the street.
When learning family members, just learn the basic words such as mother, father, sister, brother, grandma, and that’s it. Don’t spend too much time on it. You can learn other family members on the way later on. The same applies to weather. Learn how to say, it’s cold, it’s hot, it’s snowing, cloudy, it’s sunny, and that’s it. This will help you to get a general understanding of the language.
What Grammar To Learn In your 5. Week
When learning family members, you can start learning simple adjectives as well. Learn how to say your mum is beautiful or your dad is clever. Again, think about adjectives you would associate with your friends and family members and learn those simple adjectives.
Congratulations. You’ve now learned all the basic vocabulary you need as a beginner language learner. You’ve gone so far. Look back at everything you’ve achieved so far.
In the next three weeks, I recommend you keep refreshing every topic you’ve learned. Either start from the beginning again (greetings and introduce yourself) and try to speak the phrases aloud. Just practice and keep learning the vocabulary you started in the past weeks.
6. Week of Learning A New Language
As a revision, repeat everything you’ve learned. This week, you can go through greetings, introducing yourself, countries and nationalities, jobs and professions, and your hobbies and interests. Imagine you’re talking to somebody in a foreign language and telling them everything about yourself, your profession, hobbies, and interests.
7. Week of Learning A New Language
This week, revise everything you do in your daily life. Make a speech in front of a mirror and tell yourself what you do each day of the week and at what time you do it.
If you want, you can have a look at the modal verbs this week. Just learn how to express modal verbs in your foreign language. Modal verbs are: can, may, must, shall, will. You don’t need to necessarily learn the past version of them (could, might, should, would). Keep it simple, and don’t overload yourself with verbs. The time will come when we start learning past tense.
8. Week of Learning A New Language
As part of the last week, repeat vocabulary such as family member, weather, and giving directions.
When revising family members, you can start learning comparisons. But, again, just stick to the basics and learn how to say: my dad is taller than my mum. My brother is funnier than my sister, etc.
Also, you can have a look at ordinal numbers and get familiar with them. Again, don’t worry if you cannot remember all of them. Only have a look at the first 10 ordinal numbers. You’ll use it at some point when speaking. So then you can come back to it and use it in a conversation. It is only important to gather the material and know these ordinal numbers exist.
Congratulations, you have now learned the basics of your foreign language. You have a perfect picture and outline of all the vocabulary you need as a beginner.
The important thing here is knowing where you are in your language learning process and where you’re heading. You’ve assembled all the necessary vocabulary you’ll use from now on. Keep it with you. Sooner, you’ll start speaking. So whenever you cannot think of a word, you can always look it up in your notebook under the respective category (topic).
What If You Don’t Have Time To Learn Vocabulary?
If you cannot follow the exact schedule as I outlined, don’t worry. Just make it easy for yourself. Learn rather less in a week, but learn it properly. If it seems like a lot of vocabulary to you, feel free to extend the time to 4 months. Just learn at your own pace. The most important thing is to learn the basics of the language.
How To Approach Learning A New Language?
The way you should approach learning a new language is to stick to the step-by-step guide I’ve just outlined in the first part of this article. Follow my instructions on which basic vocabulary and grammar you should learn each week throughout the two months.
Start Using A Langiuage App
What I also recommend is to start using a language app. Language apps are great resources at the beginning of our language learning journey. They give us a general understanding of a language, help us with pronunciation, and give us precise sentences to learn.
I always recommend LanguagePod101 app to my audience. It is one of the best language apps simply because it teaches you vocabulary in context. You’ll listen to dialogues and real-life conversations, which will help you to understand vocabulary in context. It also gives you flashcards for the words so that you can easily remember them.
Check out my article about LanguagePod101, learn more about it, and sign up today for free to learn your foreign language.
Choose Common Languages To Learn With LanguagePod101:
Learn Basic Vocabulary & Add Language App To The Process
So, just keep following my guidelines above and go through the list of all basic vocabulary and grammar as I explained you in each week. Additionally, incorporate LanguagePod101 app to the process. Each day, you can listen to a short dialogue from the app. Just listen to it and after, repeat the sentences. It will help you to get familiar with the language and hear how words are pronounced.
How To Go From Beginner To Intermediate Language Learner
Once you finish your 8-week learning plan, you can go to the next level. Just make sure you feel comfortable with all the topics, grammar, and vocabulary.
After, start learning topic specific vocabulary. It means that you’ll pick several topics within which you want to speak the language. So if you learn a language for travel, think about all the situations in which you will need to speak the foreign language. It can be anything from airport to restaurant, hotel, or bakery.
Then, you’ll think about all words you need to communicate within each topic. Write these words down into your language notebook. After, translate these words into your target foreign language.
Learning topic specific vocabulary is very beneficial. It will keep you motivated, and you’ll learn the language for a specific purpose. Learn more about this process in my separate article about how to learn a language by yourself.
More Topics To Learn Vocabulary
Once you’ve learned all these basic topics from the list, check out my list of 8 topics to learn when learning a language. These are specific topics based on your interest. You can choose one or two of these topics once you’re done with the basic vocabulary.
You can learn a language for business purposes, or perhaps you’re moving abroad and need some vocabulary. Or you’re interested in music, so you can learn the lyrics of your favourite song. It includes many ideas. So check it out to further proceed with your language learning.
Incorporate More Resources
After another month, think about incorporating more language resources into your language learning process. You’ve been practicing listening with LanguagePod101 for now. So as a next step, you can start reading.
First, choose some of the best foreign language books. I recommend the 101 Conversations in Simple ‘Language.’ This book is amazing to start with as it uses simple vocabulary that you’ll use in your everyday life.
Also, check out some language magazines that will make your learning a lot of fun. Learn how you can work with language magazines and learn languages with them.
If you like listening to podcasts, choose one the best language learning podcast and listen to it when commuting to work or school. The point here is to surround yourself with the foreign language as much as you can. Podcasts are a great way to do so.
Watch TV or your favorite show in your foreign language and check out the best way to learn a language online for free.
Check out the best app to watch TV shows in different languages. It’ll help you to learn new vocabulary in context, which is the best way to learn any languge.
Once you feel it, you can also start learning the past tense. Then, again, use your Barron’s Verb Book to see how to conjugate verbs correctly.
This is what you should learn in a new language. It will be much easier with my step-by-step guide for each week. Just follow it, and it will keep you motivated and on track.
Let me know if you have any questions in the commend below. Or just type which language you are about to learn.
Get the List of 100 Words to Learn In Your Foreign Language
I’ve you’re just starting learning your foreign language, this list might help you. Get the list of easy 100 words to kick-start your language learning journey. It will help you to learn the most common 100 words in your target language. Get it now below: