Last updated: Thursday, May 31, 2007 

20 Language Study Tips

Do these things “all the time” and accelerate your language learning:

  1. go to wherever the language is spoken by everyone every day
  2. carry and use a small notebook & pen; collect vocabulary words and new phrases
  3. use a digital recorder; record and listen to yourself regularly
  4. pick a language “birthplace”; focus your language study on one dialect, one accent
  5. memorize a song or poem; a famous one is best; kid’s songs are good too
  6. play games with others; chess, tennis, poker, badminton, ping pong – all require language and a partner or two
  7. learn a phonetic writing system; help yourself by taking language notes correctly
  8. eavesdrop on native speakers in public locations; practice repeating to yourself, take notes quietly
  9. interview native speakers:  how do I say X? Ask several people the same question and take notes
  10. repeat out loud what you hear in public places; people will smile and notice only if you pronounce correctly
  11. buy a dictionary or two; read them - buy some books on tape; listen to them as much as possible (sometimes sermons and speeches are given away on tape and CD - these may be great for language study)
  12. study your vocabulary several times every day; learn a phrase or two, then make an opportunity to use it
  13. learn the basic language forms: greetings, warnings, shopping, counting, dates…
  14. ride the public bus and see the sights – learn how to do things…and take language notes
  15. determine your 2 year “reason for study”; make more money, linguistic research, a girlfriend…whatever…then focus in that direction
  16. read poems, stories, newspapers, books, magazines, all of it; listen to recordings, radio, TV and take notes
  17. eat the food, watch the movies, listen to the music – learn the culture and history
  18. make some friends…that’s the point after all
  19. go to restaurants; language and food go together
  20. visit the zoos, parks, gardens, shops, museums, temples and markets – record new words you discover
  21. look for people who want to learn your language – they will be very friendly and supportive; high-school & college students and teachers, travel related staff (hotels, restaurants, shops, transportation, museums)
  22. notice who may be an especially clear, articulate speaker and then listen to that person a lot - a news broadcaster, a teacher, a priest
  23. get a haircut, go shopping, ride a taxi or bus, get a coffee and start a conversation or two - have something interesting to say and see what happens
  24. volunteer to help and practice your language talents


Teachers in a class room environment is the worst way to study a new language – instead visit the country and follow these tips to learn a new language fast and correctly. Own your efforts to learn a new language and think of everything you can do to learn more and learn effectively.

 You are in charge of your language success – enjoy yourself.