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Five Tips for Learning a new Language

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Learning a new language from scratch can be daunting, exhausting, and fascinating. As a linguistics-enthusiast, learning a foreign language has always been an appealing endeavour. While I have often found my passion for languages waning in the wake of studies and other hobbies, my study abroad has sparked a keen interest in developing foreign language skills. I have picked up some useful tips and tricks for people wanting to broaden their language arsenal (perfect for beginners 😉).

Tip 1 – Consume foreign language media (especially TikTok’s and Instagram reels)

→ Rapid content is useful for something! Even though I firmly believe that rapid social media is gradually deteriorating our attention spans, I cannot deny that it has been a useful language tool in the past. Watching bloggers/content creators speaking in your chosen language can really boost both your vocab (and morale).

Tip 2 – Apps

→ Okay, so Duolingo may be notorious for the creepy owl which bombards you with reminder messages. But I have to admit that I have found Duolingo useful for introductory sentences and conjugations. I highly recommend Babbel, Chatter bug, and YT tutorials as well.

Tip 3 – Flashcards

→ So maybe I am just a dinosaur (22 in University years translates very differently to the real world), but physical flashcards are always useful when implanting something into your long-term memory! Write down key words/phrases/idioms and keep going through your flashcards. If you are more of a technical person, using platforms such as Quizlet will do the job as well. You will thank me later.

Tip 4 – PRESSURE

→ While independent study works for some people, others need a bit more motivation. Attending workshops, classes, or online sessions is an excellent way to establish commitment to your chosen language! The foreign language department at Exeter offers both credit-baring language classes and extra-curricular evening classes to help boost your language skills.

Tip 5 – Music, movies, and shows…

→ Watching movies and television shows in your chosen language is a great way to become more familiar with key words. It will also give you a colloquial edge, enabling you to adopt common phrases and expressions. Listening to music is a great way to learn as well – expose yourself to your chosen language as much as possible.

I hope that my tips prove useful – and to round off my weekly article, a profound quote from one of my favourite philosophers:

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Andi Waters

Exeter '24

A huge nerd with a passion for niche tv shows, marvel movies and playing my guitar. You’ll usually find me waiting in the campus pret queue or stressing in the library!