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How to learn other languages efficiently

Learning new languages is so hard. I’ve already learned English almost 20 years (OMG!) and am coming to America, but I still have many words which I don’t know, can’t understand what native speakers are talking about sometimes, and can’t write essay with perfect grammar. Of course, I am struggling to speak English often too!

However, learning a new language is wonderful because we can communicate with people and understand culture/history or pretty much everything by knowing the language. Now I really want to learn Spanish because many people speak Spanish in California.

Through my English learning and Japanese tutor experience, I am thinking about how we can learn new languages efficiently. Because it takes a long time, like decades, but we do not want to keep learning without improving such long time.


1. Memorize words as much as you can

It might be a hard and boring process but I can tell you with confidence, words are very important because every sentence are made by words. If you can understand meanings of words, you can understand meanings of sentences almost. I studied for a long time for English exams, finally I found I could understand more when I memorized words a lot.


2. Practice pronunciations

After I came here, I realized that I am not good at pronunciations and I should have practiced more. Because it often happens that people can’t understand what I’m talking about because of my pronunciations. The hilarious one was “Hollywood.” I asked some people “Have you been to Hollywood?”, but they never understood and like “Where is that?”, because my “L” sounded like “R.” (Sorry, Japanese has only one sound which is instead of L and R). Anyway, you should practice it if you want to have conversation smoothly. Also, you can listen the words if you can pronounce them correctly.


3. Watch movies and dramas on Netflix

This is a fun way! Let’s watch movies and dramas which you are interested in. Let’s try to memorize some sentences which you can use in general conversations J  It is the one of best way to keep learning because you never be bored and can learn practical English. I have been watched “Gossip Girl” and “New Girl” on Netflix, and memorized sentences from shows!!


4. Make native speaker friends

If you want to practice speaking or have conversations, you should make native speaker friends. We can learn a lot from them such as pronunciation, phrase, and slang. If you will be able to use those techniques, you will be like native speaker!! I think the most helpful things in studying abroad is that I can listen native’s real conversation every day. I could not do that in my country. You are not allowed time and cost to study abroad? But you can make friends on online and SNS!!

A little girl from Japan, living in Southern California.
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