Tips to Learn a Foreign Language

Katharine B. Nielson, chief education officer at Voxy, discusses how we learn a foreign language, why it can get more difficult to learn new languages as we get older, and why the challenge of learning a language is good for our brains.

The secret to learning a foreign language:

1) practice
2) paying attention and
3) getting lots of real world input. 

 icon-exclamation The way we often teach languages is incorrect. Nielson said: “We try to teach people the system of how a language works, but that’s not how language learning actually happens.” Memorizing Italian verb charts isn’t going to do you much good when you get to Italy.

  Practice listening to conversations people are having. Nielson said: “In reality you need to listen to people speaking the language and notice words and notice things you don’t know and do it over and over again until you’re able to do it.”

  Don’t be afraid of sounding silly. Nielson said: “learning a language is learning a skill and you have to practice it in uncomfortable situations.”

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