These days, there are a number of ways to learn another language, but one resource that millions have found useful in recent years is, of course, the Internet. From apps to tutors, there’s a myriad of ways to master foreign tongues online. However, to unlock the internet’s power, you need to know how to use the tools at your disposal. So, to help you improve your language skills, here are some top tips.
1. Play Games and Your Brain Will be Ready to Learn
Research shows that playing games can speed up the learning process. A 2011 paper by Curtiss Murphy outlined six laws of learning that gamers become masters at without realizing it. Mechanisms such as practice, feedback, and intensity are all part of a gamer’s skillset. For example, feedback is an essential part of games as the player is constantly receiving information that they have to react to. This trains the brain to not only take in new information but constantly monitor previous data.
When you’re learning a language online, this helps with regards to reading and re-reading sentences. Once you’re comfortable, you can then speak the sentences out loud and get feedback from other people. You can combine this with the mastery of intense focus that comes from playing games, as well as the value of practice, to achieve some excellent results. Indeed, by playing language games, you develop complementary skills in both areas which, in turn, can help you become a better polyglot.
2. It’s Good to Talk to Experts and Native Speakers
Talking is possibly the best way to learn another language because it allows you to hear the correct pronunciation and receive instant feedback. When you converse with a Spanish tutor via an online language site, they’ll provide regular lessons but also act as a sounding board. In other words, they’ll listen to you speak, they’ll show you how to move your mouth to make the right sounds, and they’ll talk to you in a colloquial way. Basically, they’ll do what a book can’t do, and they’ll do it in an interactive way.
What’s also great about finding a language tutor online is that you can read their bios, get a feel for the type of person they are, and read reviews. That’s important. If you’re going to learn effectively, you need to have a rapport with someone. In fact, it should feel more like a conversation with a friend rather than a lesson. Online databases are the perfect way to find the right tutor.
3. Immerse Yourself in Something You Love
Learning another language shouldn’t be a chore. If you’re not enjoying it, you’re not going to learn effectively. Fortunately, the internet is packed with content in a variety of languages. If you want to learn Spanish and you love music, listen to some Spanish songs on YouTube and Spotify. If you want to become fluent in French and enjoy art, go to translate.google.com, copy the URL of the site you want to visit, and paste it into Google Translate.
Select “French” from the dropdown menu and the software will do the rest. Basically, whatever you’re passionate about, you can view it in a different language. Using this technique not only keeps you interested but also provides reference points. There may be words or phrases that are similar to English, so you can use these as a foundation from which to build up an understanding of something, even if you don’t know all the foreign words you read.
4. Put Yourself Out There and Ask the Internet for Comments
One of the internet’s greatest strengths is that it gives everyone a platform. For better or for worse, anyone can stand in the spotlight and do whatever they want and get feedback from people. As someone trying to learn a new language, you can embrace this dynamic. You can post a few tweets in a different language and ask people for feedback on how well it reads. You can even go a step further and record a video and post it to YouTube. Maybe you can have an imaginary conversation or perform a skit.
Whatever it is, people will be more than willing to critique your performance. Yes, some of the comments may be negative but you should ignore what isn’t constructive. For all the pointless opinions, there will be nuggets of gold. Take constructive comments and use them to improve. This is feedback on a massive scale. Getting feedback from your tutor is important, but you can never have too many perspectives when it comes to conversations. The internet is perfectly built for this, which is why you should take full advantage of it when you’re trying to learn a new language.