How to learn a new language as a beginner?
Just like any other skill, learning a new language is going to require great motivation and will sometimes even force you outside your comfort zone. There are no guaranteed shortcuts or “hacks” to make you a master of a new language within a couple of weeks.
It’s going to take some serious blood, sweat and tears before you can converse fluently, accurately. However, it is undoubtedly one of the most satisfying and rewarding skills to have. So here are some genuine and honest tips I’ve learned throughout years of studying and stumbling through countless conversations:
When I went for my first holiday to Bali in late 2017, I nodded politely to the locals when they greeted me in their native language, not understanding a single word they said. Just last week, I gave a presentation to over 500 people in an auditorium about the various tourist spots in Australia – in native Indonesian.
Firstly, find out the most common words and sentences in that language. You can use the various study materials out there, even the ones that technology has gifted us such as apps and online courses, to give you the basics of the knowledge.
Once you’ve done that, repeat these over and over again, exposing them to different daily scenarios e.g. the weather forecast for the next day or what you’re having for dinner tonight. Keep a pocket dictionary close or download a language dictionary app and use it to fill in any missing words that you may need.
When you’re more comfortable, start challenging yourself to think in the new language. Create fake conversations that may be of interest to you, or ones that may potentially happen. Who knows, one day you might actually be having a conversation that you’ve gone through in your head months ago!
Language also requires steady commitment, lots of repetition accompanied by reference experiences – in other words, a huge time investment. Set aside an allocated time per day to give 100% to it, and try your best to maintain this streak. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only studied for an hour today compared to the 2 hours yesterday – just don’t let yourself slip away for too long.
There is also no shame in asking someone native to the language for help! Having guidance and support from someone who is genuinely willing to help and motivate you – be it a friend, a teacher, or just someone online – will accelerate your learning to new heights. You don’t have to talk to them everyday; mix your self-learning sessions with conversations with them and watch yourself get motivated to flaunt your ever-growing vocabulary in no time!
Of course learning a new skill comes with its own setbacks, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because you will. Embrace this, because it is through these mistakes that you’ll learn what, when and how to say what you really mean.
Good luck! Or should I say, semoga beruntung!