5 proven methods for effective foreign language learning

Methods to learn foreign language

When learning a new language, it’s always good to get tips from people who have already mastered it! We asked teacher Dorota what advice she has for people who want to learn Dutch from scratch, or who want to level up their knowledge of the Dutch language.

When we start learning a language, when everything is new to us, we are usually enthusiastic about learning. However, after a few weeks of study problems start creeping in. You realise that in order to reach the next level, you actually need to spend more time studying. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean you have to spend hours of reading or completing assignments at the expense of your beauty sleep. Our teacher Dorota shares some proven methods that will help you learn a language.

1. Relate learning to your interests

First, connect your learning to topics that interest you. The process of acquiring knowledge will significantly speed up if the topic is close to your heart. Do you like music? Listen to songs in this language. Find the lyrics and follow the written lyrics as you listen, follow up by translating sentence by sentence. Do you like football? Try to watch a match with commentary in the language you are learning.

2. Practice makes perfect

Passive language learning is actually half the battle. The other half is the application of theoretical knowledge into practice. After learning vocabulary and reading texts in a foreign language, there comes a moment when you have to overcome yourself and start speaking. If you have native speakers around you, break through and start talking to them. Obviously you’ll make mistakes, but this way you’ll learn and make fewer mistakes in the future, right?

3. Follow news in the language you want to learn

Find a news source, such as TV news programmes or a news app, and start following the latest news. Whilst you are reading or listening to the news, note down new words and those you are interested in, find out that they mean and jot down the meaning next to each word. After a while, you will see that you know more and more words, and by following the news regularly you will learn even more vocabulary. If you are interested in Dutch news, start with the most popular websites and their related apps: NOS.nl and NU.nl.

4. Say words and sentences aloud

To learn to speak a language faster, say the given words and sentences aloud! In our courses we use the Quizlet app to learn vocabulary. In this application you will find recordings of the correct pronunciation of each of the words. Repeating and saying the words aloud will help you learn the correct pronunciation right from the start of your learning journey.

Dutch language Student

5. Learn related words and sentences

When you are learning new words, in addition to translating the meaning of a given word, also write down an example sentence using the word. This way, you give the word context and it is easier to remember the meaning of the word. If you are learning vocabulary, you can also add a list of similar words, opposites, or synonyms to them. Thanks to this, you will expand your vocabulary in an effective way.

If you are interested in a language course at our school, check our group courses or individual courses.