14 Tips for Learning Languages (+ 14 language video)

Which language should you pick? How to stay motivated? Is it bad to learn more than one language at once? How to memorize vocabulary? How to keep improving when you’re already at a high level? … I get a lot of questions about learning languages. Here are my top 14 tips in a handy list. Watch the video below in order to hear me expand on each idea. To make it more interesting, I have recorded each section in a different language, 14 languages in total.

14 Tips:

  1. Choose a language or accent you enjoy.
  2. Know your reasons and purpose, so that you can eliminate detours.
  3. For a huge boost (once you know some basics), live the language 24/7 for a week or two.
  4. Have a plan for how to use the language, otherwise you’ll forget it as fast as you learned it.
  5. Get involved in the community and you’ll never have to worry about maintaining the language.
  6. Use any excuse in order to speak the language. Don’t wait until you have to. Be proactive.
  7. Find things that are only available in your target language.
  8. If you’re still a beginner and struggling to find the discipline to study every day, set up goals and challenges. There are existing challenges you can join, like the Add1Challenge, the Tadoku challenge, the 6 Week Challenge, the italki Challenge.
  9. Stick with a language until you have a decent level. It’s much easier to forget a language if you never knew it well.
  10. Don’t learn similar languages at the same time. Wait until you reach a good level first.
  11. When you do have a good level in one language, do invest a bit of time in similar languages, at least enough to understand.
  12. Take advantage of word families when studying vocabulary, especially if you’re studying a non-European language.
  13. To keep improving when you’re at a high level, find challenging activities that take you out of your comfort zone.
  14. Stay up-to-date on new methods and tools.

Longer explanation of each tip in this video:

Time stamps for languages:
0:21 German
1:10 Latin
1:33 French
3:02 Swahili
3:39 Esperanto
5:05 Italian
6:07 Modern Greek
7:13 Modern Hebrew
8:15 Arabic
9:02 Spanish
9:49 Dutch
10:58 Indonesian
11:58 Mandarin Chinese
13:12 English