How to Learn New Languages

The Best Way to Learn a Language: 30 Incredibly Effective Tips and Tricks

How to Learn New Languages

More often than not, the main question on a new language learner’s mind is, “What’s the best way to learn a language?”

Between language lessons, grammar books, conversation practice, and exercises, learning a new language can be a long and challenging process. On the other hand, few things are more rewarding than carrying out a conversation in a foreign tongue.

To help you in your language-learning journey, we sought out the advice of language experts around the globe to compile the ultimate list of language-learning hacks.

If you’re looking for the fastest way to learn a language, here are 30 incredibly effective tips and tricks to help you along the way!

 1. Choose a Word of the Day

Word of the Day

Each morning, pick a new word or two to integrate into your daily life. This is much less overwhelming than trying to memorize several different words all at once.

Incorporating new vocabulary into your day-to-day routine will help you commit these words to memory and learn to use them in real-life situations.

For more on this, check out 6 Ways to Simplify Your Foreign Language Learning by Lifehack expert Allison Lounes.

 2. Connect With Friends and Language Partners

Connect With Friends

Textbooks and grammar workbooks are only one small element of learning a language. You’re not actually fluent and/or functional until you can use your new language in conversation.

The best way to do this is to practice with native speakers.

Not sure where to find people who speak your language of choice? Search for language partners online, or explore language events and Meetup groups in your area.

For more on this tip, check out the Zen Habits post How to Learn A Language in 90 Days (guest post by Maneesh Sethi of Hack the System)

3. Always Carry a Notebook

buy a notebook

This tip is especially important if you plan to travel abroad, but it’s a great idea even if you’re staying local for your studies.

Keep a notebook handy and write down anything you don’t understand while you’re studying – watching TV in your foreign language, doing exercises on an app, or listening to foreign music.

Plus, as Go Overseas blogger Jenny Marshall points out, “something as simple as a Moleskin pocket notebook fits easily almost anywhere, and looks downright important when you pull it out to take notes.”

For more, see 5 Easy Hacks for Learning a New Language Abroad

4. Sink or Swim/All or Nothing

sink or swim

This doesn’t mean you need to put your life in danger, it simply means it’s time to raise the stakes!

Put yourself in a situation where you have to learn your new language, or face failure. It may sound extreme, but it’s one of the best ways to learn a new language.

Travel to Germany, and don’t allow yourself to speak English. Sign up for a language immersion program and jump in without looking back.

Whatever you can do to increase your sense of urgency will help you learn your language in a more useful, efficient way.

Want to make sure you hold yourself accountable? Let your friends in on your plans so they can help you stay on track!

 5. Learn Cognates in Your New Language

Learn Cogantes

There are cognates in every language, so no matter if you’re learning Korean, Japanese, Spanish, or German, you can use this language-learning hack to your benefit.

Not sure what a cognate is? Cognates are words that are related to words you already know in your native language.

Believe it or not, you may already know several useful words in your new language!

12 Rules for Learning Foreign Languages in Record Time-The Only Post You’ll Ever Need – The Tim Ferris Experiment.

 6. Use an App

Download an app

Want to learn a new language? There’s an app for that!

Smartphone and tablet apps are super convenient because you can take them anywhere and practice on the go.

There are apps available for just about any language, and they generally include grammar lessons, vocabulary, and pronunciation guides. Apps are also a great way to mix things up; they’re interactive and can break up the monotony of reading a textbook or listening to lectures.

Pro Tip: Try TakeLessons Live for access to free language classes led by live instructors!

– 5 cool apps that will help you learn a new language by Jessica Hullinger.

 7. Focus on What’s Relevant

focus on what's relevant

Learning a new language can be an overwhelming endeavor. It’s hard to determine where to start and which approach to take. To simplify this process, focus on the things that are most important or interesting on a personal level.

If you’re learning French for an upcoming trip, learn the essential phrases that will help you communicate and navigate while traveling.

“You’re more likely to learn vocabulary that’s related to your interests, than you are to learn the names of kitchen utensils (unless you happen to love kitchen utensils) and other stuff that you don’t care about.”

– 21 Tips and Hacks for Learning a Foreign Language by Marelisa, creator of Daring to Live Fully.

 8. Set up a Routine

Set up a Routine

Learning anything new is easier when you make it a recurring part of your life. Make practicing your new language a non-negotiable part of your day.

Remember, learning a language is not a one-size-fits-all experience. You’re more likely to stick to your routine if it’s realistic and feasible. Try to set aside some time every day for you to focus on your language studies.

– The Secret to Learning a Foreign Language as an Adult by David Bailey.

 9. Find and Attend Local Events

attend events

Some of the most rewarding language-learning experiences happen outside of the classroom.

“Local events are a unique opportunity to practice, learn, and at the same time, pursue your other interests,” says travel writer Isabel Eva Bohrer. “There is a myriad of opportunities, it’s just a matter of finding one that is useful, fun, and interesting for you.”

– 6 Ways to Learn a Foreign Language Fast

 10. Remember Your Purpose

why you started

No matter how far along you are in your language-learning journey, it’s important to be mindful of why you started this process. Understanding your purpose will help you stay motivated and keep you on track.

“…if you don’t have a good reason to learn a language, you are less likely to stay motivated over the long-run,” says Babbel author John-Erik Jordan. “No matter your reason, once you’ve decided on a language, it’s crucial to commit.”

10 Tips and Tricks to Pick Up Any Language

11. Track Your Progress

Track Your Progress

Keeping track of your progress will help you celebrate the small victories along the way. This is crucial to help you stay motivated.

Plus, learning a new language generally involves traveling, events, and new experiences. Whether you use a written journal or a digital photo app, keep track of these life-long memories.

“Document your adventures with photographs and add captions in your new language,” says Huffington Post writer Stephanie Oswald. “The more you learn, the more fun your story will become to write.”

– Want to Learn a Foreign Language?

12. Learn the Phrase “How do you say X?”

How do you say x

This is one of the most important phrases you can learn in your new language. If you need to ask for directions, introduce yourself, or ask for help, this phrase is critical.

Not only can this phrase help you build up your vocabulary, but you can also use it to break the ice when you’re not sure how to communicate with someone.

– 22 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language by Mark Manson

 13. Learn What You Need

learn what you need

You know the phrase “take what you like and leave the rest”? Well, it applies to learning a language, too.

Learning every component of grammar in your new language may help you pass a test in school, but this won’t necessarily make you fluent and functional.

Determine the most important things that you need to know, and learn these things first.

“So, put aside the grammar book and get yourself a travel phrasebook instead (they are small and only cost a couple of dollars),” says Benny Lewis from Fluent in 3 Months. “Learn the essentials in a few hours that would be pretty universally needed as the core of basic conversation, and then learn what you want to say.”

– Becoming a Man of the World: How to Learn Another Language

 14. Pace Yourself: One Step at a Time

one step at a time

When you’re studying a new language, you usually want to know the quickest way to learn. One of the fastest ways to learn a language, however, is to pace yourself and learn little bits at a time.

“Learn faster by exposing yourself to listening and reading in short bursts, several times a day,” says Get-It-Done Guy Stever Robbins. “Five minutes here and ten minutes there makes the language sink in much better than marathon language study sessions.”

– How to Learn a Language Quickly

 15. Intensity of Study Trumps Length of Study

intensity of study

Study smarter, not harder. How you study is much more important than how much you study.

“What I mean by this is that studying a language four hours a day for two weeks will be more beneficial for you than studying one hour a day for two months.”

22 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language by Mark Manson

 16. Make Mistakes and Learn from Them

Make Mistakes

When you first start using your new language, you’re going to stumble and make mistakes, and that’s OK!

It’s important that you don’t get discouraged; embrace these mistakes as natural steps in the learning process.

“For me, there came a point, though, when I just became totally unapologetic about it,” says Jason, blogger and founder of the Spanish Vault. “I’ve got to start somewhere, and the more mistakes I make, the faster I learn.”

Read more about learning a foreign language from this interview with Jason on Language Surfer.

 17. Start Spreading the News


Watching, reading, listening, and talking about the news in your new language is a fantastic way to learn vocabulary and usage.

Olly Richards, founder of I Will Teach You A Language, recommends this as a Japanese learning hack, but this strategy can be applied to any foreign language.

The news will help you become more comfortable with the language, and also give you up-to-date information about the country and culture.

This tip will come in handy when you plan to travel!

 18. Try the Food

Try the Food

Discovering new foods is one of the most fun aspects of learning any new language! You may discover some new favorite foods or recipes, and you will be able to practice your vocabulary and speaking skills.

It’s a delicious, win-win learning strategy!

– 5 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Learn a Foreign Language by Cher Hale

 19. Use Your Intuition

Use intuition

Learning a new language naturally requires logic and analysis, but many language learners make the mistake of neglecting their intuition.

In many cases, you intuitively know how to interpret social cues and behavior. When you begin using your language in real-life situations, your intuition will come in handy, especially if you hear unfamiliar words or phrases.

Embrace your intuition and natural instincts, they can help you.

“Basically, spend most of your time figuring out meaning from all the cues in a situation,” says Ron, a Language Surfer writer. “But every once in a while, take the time to study the language and understand the language rationally.”

How to Learn a Language Fast: 5 Things to Speed Up the Process

 20. Watch Movies


Put on a movie in your language of choice and take notes on any words or phrases you don’t understand. Pay attention the vocabulary you already know and listen to the pronunciation and intonation.

Don’t just listen watch the characters’ body language and see what you can infer from their actions. You can also watch YouTube videos with language lessons.

FluentU recommends this strategy in this article about learning French, but it’s a great learning tool for any language.

 21. Believe in Yourself


Confidence is half the battle. You have to believe you can do something in order to succeed. So, while you may struggle along the way, pick yourself back up and keep moving forward!

“My belief is that everybody has the ability to learn a foreign language,” says Lingholic writer Sam Gendreau. “After all, you learned your mother tongue, didn’t you? You just have to learn to step outside of your comfort zone and believe in yourself.”

– Learning a foreign Language – 10 Most Common Mistakes

 22. Find Ways to Relax


This doesn’t just mean giving yourself downtime between study sessions (although this is important); find ways to relax in your new language.

Watch TV shows, listen to music, learn about pop culture. Whatever you like to do to relax, find a way to do it using your new language. The point is to enjoy the learning process!

42 Insane Japanese Language Learning Hacks! by Olly Richards

 23. Enough!

tips and tricks template

This one word can be a big help when it comes to learning a new language.

Basically, develop the mindset that you have exactly what you need to learn your new language, and let go of all of the excuses and limitations that would normally hinder you from doing something.

You have enough time, you have enough resources, and you have enough brain power to accomplish what you set out to do.

“This word should be your mantra when learning a language,” says Language Mastery writer John Fortheringham. “When you find yourself procrastinating, making excuses, and putting off speaking practice out of fear, this string of six letters can help put you back on track.”

 24. Be Kind to Yourself

Be Kind

Again, you’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to struggle.

This is a natural part of the learning process. Don’t fight it; embrace it.

Rather than beating yourself up for making mistakes or not learning as quickly as you’d like to, congratulate yourself for your hard work, and acknowledge your accomplishments – even the little ones.

– The Best Ways to Learn a Language as an Adult

 25. Act it Out

Act it Out

Put your acting skills to the test and role play in your new language. Not only is this fun, it’s effective because you learn how to use the language in different situations.

Connect with native speakers or find some study partners in your area.

Not only is this one of the best ways to learn a foreign language, but you’ll be having fun and making friends at the same time.

End scene!

Pangea Learning

 26. Make Flashcards


Flashcards are useful, portable study tools to help you learn vocabulary and essential phrases.

If you prefer digital flashcards, try these downloadable flashcards from anki.

If you’re feeling crafty, make your own flashcards and bring them with you to study on the go!

7 Secrets to Learning a Language Fast

 27. Storytelling


The Heisig Method, which is essentially storytelling, was developed to help aspiring Japanese speakers learn to read kanji characters. This effective learning tool can be applied to any foreign language.

With the Heisig Method, you create funny stories based on the meaning of each kanji character. So, for your own language studies, get your creative juices flowing and come up with some fun stories using vocabulary words.

This method also helps you break up vocabulary into smaller parts, so that you can master one thing at a time.

Zooming Japan blogger Jasmine T. used this strategy to learn nearly two thousand kanji characters in only two months.

 28. Enlist a Friend

enlist a friend

Any new endeavor is easier and more fun when you do it with a friend versus going it alone. If you’ve challenged yourself to learn a new language, grab your best friend and encourage him or her to do the same.

Of course, your friend may not have the same reason for learning a new language, so you may need to step out of your comfort zone and find some new friends or study partners with similar goals.

“It’s fun doing something with someone else, and often if one person loses motivation, the other person will help keep you both on track. I also am very motivated by wanting to help the other person, and while doing something for myself is also a great goal, doing it for someone else helps a lot.”

– The Best & Less-than-Best Motivations for Learning by zen habits writer Leo Babauta.

29. Learn Synonyms


Learning synonyms in a new language can be the difference between understanding the language in a classroom setting, and being able to apply it to real-world situations. Understanding synonyms allows you to use the correct word in the right situation.

“Fluency is not just the ability to function in all contexts, it’s also the ability to function well,” says language teacher and polyglot Alex Rawlings. “If you haven’t grown up with a language, you will probably be largely unaware of certain nuances or connotations that words and phrases may have. You will remain unaware of these, unless you immerse yourself culturally.”

Rawlings suggests boosting your knowledge of synonyms by learning alternative words when you memorize new vocabulary terms. While this might be time consuming at first, it will help you understand the language on a deeper level, and help you apply your knowledge of the language when you interact with native speakers.

Synonyms: your shortcut to fluency

30. Immersion


This one may be a bit more difficult than the rest of the items on the list because it involves time, future planning, and money – but it’s without a doubt the best way to learn a new language.

Making language practice part of your day is mandatory when you’re in a country that uses that language. It’s no longer an obligation, but instead a necessity to be able to function and communicate.

“When you don’t have any choice but to speak the language you are learning, you will make faster progress.”

Slip of the Tongue

If you’re serious about becoming fluent in a new language, plan ahead or join a language immersion program.

If you don’t think this is feasible, or if you still want to get a great language-learning experience close to home, try these tips to simulate immersion.

There you have it – the 30 essential tips and tricks for language learning success! Remember that you don’t have to go it alone on your journey to fluency. By far, the best way to learn a language is with the help of a private tutor. Even if you don’t have any teachers in your neighborhood, online language lessons make it easy to connect with native speakers around the globe.

Do you have some more language-learning hacks to add to the list?

Let us know in the comments below!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for affordable private lessons today!

free language lessons

Looking for Free Language Lessons? 3 Reasons to Try TakeLessons Live

free language lessons

There are many places to find free language lessons on the internet, from YouTube videos to apps like Duolingo, but they’re not all the best way to learn a foreign language. In fact, some of these free apps and sites can hinder your progress in conversational skills and proper pronunciation.

Without face-to-face interaction with other speakers of your target language, and a knowledgeable teacher to guide you, the road to fluency will be a lot longer. Wondering if there are any free resources that combine quality instruction and speaking practice? Keep reading.   

Free Language Lessons That Actually Work

TakeLessons Live is a great place to start if you’re looking for free lessons that will be truly beneficial for your language studies. With the free membership option, you have access to a wide variety of live classes.

Classes are held online in a virtual classroom, where you can ask a teacher questions, get feedback on your accent, and practice your speaking skills in a group of other students from around the world. You also have the freedom to try out multiple different languages (as well as teachers), and learn on your own terms.

Free language lessons

There are many reasons to take advantage of the free language lessons offered at TakeLessons Live. Keep reading to find out more.

3 Reasons to Try TakeLessons Live

Flexibility to try out multiple languages

Perhaps you’re not sure where to start in your language learning journey and you’re torn between two languages. TakeLessons Live is the perfect solution for these kinds of students as it allows you to try out multiple languages, all at no cost.

For example, you could try out a French class Tuesday morning and a Korean class Wednesday afternoon. Having the flexibility to sample a few different languages will help you make a more informed decision about which one you’d like to learn.

No matter where you’re at in your language studies, there is a class for everyone at TakeLessons Live. You can learn about the basics, get conversation practice, or fine tune your grammar. There are also classes for travelers, those in the healthcare, or the business field. Classes are currently available in Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, and Sign Language.

Finding the right teacher for youfree language lessons

Everyone has a unique learning style. Another great part about TakeLessons Live is that you have the opportunity to work with many different teachers. Instead of paying for a private tutor you might not mesh well with, you can use your first month of free language lessons to interact with a variety of teachers.

Each subject has multiple teachers with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise so you can determine which is the best fit for you and if you’d like, continue taking private language lessons with him or her.  

SEE ALSO: 30 Incredibly Effective Tips & Tricks to Learn a New Language

Convenience of learning anytime, anywhere

The best feature of TakeLessons Live is that you can access your free language lessons whenever, wherever. With more than 200 weekly classes available, it’s easy to fit learning into a busy schedule. Plus, you never even have to leave your house!

Our virtual classroom allows you to take a class wherever you feel most comfortable, whether that’s in your living room or a local cafe. All you need is a webcam and internet access. This feature is most convenient for students who live in rural areas. It also benefits homeschooling parents as an educational and fun extra-curricular activity for their children.

free language lessons

While TakeLessons Live is only free for your first month of classes, the subsequent months cost much less than hiring a personal tutor. At only $19.95 a month, you get unlimited access to all of our weekly language classes.

Speaking another language opens up a world of new opportunities from jobs, to travel, to new friends. Pre-recorded videos and apps can help you get there over time, but working with a knowledgeable tutor and interacting with other speakers of your target language is the quickest way to reach your goals.

learn a foreign language

Budget Breakdown: How Much Does it Really Cost to Learn a Foreign Language?


learn a foreign language

If you’ve decided to learn a foreign language, there are a number of helpful resources available. Many people want to know the best way to learn a new language, but this can be subjective based on a number of criteria. While learning any new skill requires a time commitment, learning a new language is an investment.

Along with learning styles and geographic limitations, cost is an important factor in selecting a language program. Here is a look at the benefits and the costs of some of the most popular language-learning methods so you can make the best decision based on your budget.

learn a foreign language

There are many schools and academic programs that allow you to learn a foreign language online. There are some free classes available online, as well as language courses for college credit.

Some courses use microphones, audio, and webcams with an instructor to help you practice comprehension and conversation skills. If getting to class is an issue, online classes may be a better option.

Similar to live language lessons, online courses move at a certain pace. If you’re confused by grammar or vocabulary elements, you may struggle as the class continues to advance. Depending on the class format, you may be able to schedule extra sessions with the instructor, or start one-on-one tutoring outside of class at an additional cost.

Interested in online classes? We now offer FREE live classes with our top-rated language teachers. Check out the classes here!


Online or in-person language lessons with a private tutor offer the advantage of face-to-face instruction.  Depending on your goals and learning style, your teacher may also be able to modify the curriculum or offer a custom lesson plan.

Prices vary based on the lesson duration and the teacher’s rate; there may also be bulk lesson packages available.

While language lessons do require a certain level of commitment, you can find an instructor that fits your price range and your schedule. A language tutor can offer real-time feedback, and (in most cases) adjust the pace of the lessons to accommodate the student.

While there may not be many language teachers in your area, you can take online lessons and connect with a teacher using platforms like Skype.

learn a foreign language

Many language centers, community/cultural centers, and university extension programs offer group lessons. The price varies depending on the reputation of the school, as well as the size of the classes themselves. A community class might have cheaper options, while a well-known university extension program will be a bit pricier. Besides the difference in price, take your learning style into account. If you learn better in a smaller environment, it might be worth the extra cost. You may also be able to get a better feel for the program by speaking with a representative or reading a course syllabus prior to signing up for classes.

Group lessons offer the benefit of face-to-face accessibility with an instructor. If you have questions or are confused about a topic, you can ask your teacher for help. Keep in mind, however, that teaching styles vary, and some students respond better than others to certain teaching methods.

When it comes to group classes, remember that individuals learn at different speeds. If you fall behind, you’ll still be expected to continue on at a certain pace. On the other hand, if you learn quickly or have prior experience with a language, you may be bored with repetitive lessons.

learn a foreign language

There are several computer programs and software packages that can help you learn a foreign language. These programs include casual game-like apps for smartphones and tablets, free online courses, and fully-loaded computer programs that include dictionaries, flash cards and other traditional materials. While most programs charge a fee, many offer a free trial so you can get a feel for what to expect before you purchase the entire program.

Language-learning programs are effective if you want to learn from home at your own pace. Here’s a look at some of the most popular programs.

Rosetta Stone

  • Price: $229
  • 30+ languages offered
  • CD-Rom and downloadable versions teach you to speak, read, write, and think in your new language on the go via mobile devices or at home on your PC
  • Access to a language-learning community with live tutoring sessions where you can practice speaking with a live coach.
  • Try before you buy: Rosetta Stone offers a free demo so you can try out the entire first level of the program before purchasing.

Rosetta Stone is one of the most well-known, widely used language-learning programs. “We pioneered language learning through technology and have helped people learn to speak new languages for over 20 years,” Rosetta Stone creators say. “Unlike the rest of the market, translation is only part of our teaching method. We use a variety of approaches, including immersion, in our instruction, which helps different learners achieve their language learning goals in a personal, natural way.”

Transparent Language Online

  • Price: $199.99
  • Now available in over 100 languages including ESL for speakers of 27 different languages
  • Transparent Langauge Online lets learners dictate their own experience by learning: what they want, how they want, and when they want.
  • Variety of resources including flash cards and alphabet primers

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning a language,” says Senior Vice President Chuck McGonagle. “We continually update and evolve Transparent Language Online to provide new content and features, while also incorporating feedback we’ve received from learners.”


Unlike traditional language courses, traveling to another country to learn a foreign language involves several price variables. First, consider basic travel expenses, and transportation for the duration of your stay. The price of housing will also vary depending on if you’re traveling as an individual or with a group.

Of course, there’s the additional cost of classes, whether in a group setting or one-on-one tutoring. These fees do not cover food, travel insurance, shopping/spending money, and other incidentals.

Since intensive language lessons generally run for a few weeks to several months, these programs also require a time commitment. Despite the time and money, however, immersion forces you to practice your language skills daily in real-life situations, which makes it one of the best ways to learn a foreign language as you will be forced to use the language daily in real-life situations.

“Naturally, the cost of traveling to another country to study a language varies widely,” says Jessica Korteman from Notes of Nomads. “If I was to give an estimate of a month-long stay in Tokyo, I’d give the ballpark figure of 300,000 yen, or very roughly, $3,000 plus airfare to/from your home country. This figure includes enrollment at a reputable institution (around 100,000 yen or $1000), accommodations (around 50,000 yen or $500 for a room in a share house), visa/insurance (15,000 yen or $150), food/living expenses (around 70,000 yen or $700), sightseeing/leisure (around 50,000 yen or $500) and miscellaneous costs, such as SIM/data (around 15,000 yen or $150).”

Traveling to another country is an unforgettable opportunity, and immersion is one of the most powerful ways to learn proficiency and in-depth of vocabulary. If you have the time and money to invest in a study abroad or immersion program, definitely do your research and determine if it’s a feasible option.

See Also: Why Study Abroad is More than a Vacation

If you want to learn a foreign language, there are a number of methods to choose from and several things to consider. In some cases, a combination of learning tools, like lessons and a software program for example, may be the best approach.

There are several benefits to learning a new language, so no matter which method you choose, feel good about your decision to enhance and improve your life.

Want to sign up for language lessons? Search for a teacher here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

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bilingual children

20+ Reasons Why You Should Raise Your Child Bilingual

Did you know that the number of U.S. residents ages 5 and older who speak a language other than English has more than doubled in the past three decades? That’s right, more and more parents are raising bilingual children.

Today’s parents are always trying to find ways to improve their children’s future, whether it’s placing them in early music classes or sending them to elite athletic camps.

But did you ever think of getting your child language lessons?

From improved social skills to deeper family connections, learning a foreign language affords children an infinite amount of benefits. We’ve interviewed a number of bilingual parenting experts to compile this list of over 20 reasons why parents should consider raising bilingual children.

bilingual children

“Learning a language is like opening a door to an adventure.  We want to enable children around the world to be young global citizens better prepared for exploring their world,” says Amanda Hsiung Blodgett aka “Miss Panda” of Miss Panda Chinese.

bilingual children

Research from York University, titled “Bilingual Effects on Cognitive and Linguistic Development: Role of Language, Cultural Background, and Education,” found that bilingual children show improvements in literacy and literacy skill acquisition. Specifically, children were able to better understand verbal and non-verbal communication.

bilingual children

Learning a heritage language will help children be proud of their cultural heritage. I think that my son will be more connected to his cultural background. I also couldn’t imagine my child not being able to communicate with his family in France or his Spanish-speaking family members. I feel that if he learns the languages, he will be closer to his family and be proud of who he is,” says Diana Limongi-Gabriele of LadydeeLG.

bilingual children

Developing your child’s self-confidence is extremely important. Studies have proven that bilingual children have more self-confidence. In fact, scientists from the University of Windsor found that people who speak more than one language had higher levels of self-esteem compared to monolinguals or those who only speak one language.

bilingual children

“Being bilingual is so much more than speaking two languages and all the cognitive benefits that come along with that. Being bilingual gives children an entirely different way of seeing the world and stretches their minds to new realms of possibilities,” says Stephanie Meade of InCultureParent.

bilingual children

Students who take foreign languages tend to score higher on standardized tests. In fact, students who studied a foreign language for 4 or more years outscored other students on the verbal and math portions of the test, according to research from College Board titled, “College-Bound Seniors: A Profile of SAT Program Test Takers.”

bilingual children

“Today’s world is becoming increasingly borderless. It’s easy to hop on a plane and arrive on the other side of the world in a day. Or connect with someone face to face over Skype or FaceTime. Global integration is only going to increase, so a child who speaks more than one language will have more advantages when it comes to social, academic and job opportunities in the future,” says Maria Wen Adcock of Bicultural Mama.

bilingual children

Not only will your child be able to connect with others who speak different languages, but they will also be able to make friends during their language-learning studies. There are hundreds of after school language programs in which kids can meet new friends, stimulate their minds, and, more importantly, have fun!

bilingual children

Today’s companies are seeking job candidates who know how to speak more than one language. In fact, research from Korn/Ferry International found that nearly 9 out of 10 headhunters in Europe, Latin America, and Asia say that being bilingual is important for success in today’s job market.

bilingual children

“If you have the chance to give your children the gift of an additional language, please do so – it is a gift that keeps giving for many years to come. It will enable your children to expand their horizons cognitively, socially, geographically and financially,” says Rita Rosenback of Multilingual Parenting.

bilingual children

Research has found that bilingual children score higher than monolinguals in cognitive performance. In particular, children who speak multiple languages have more cognitive control and attention, according to research from Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

bilingual children

According to a study published by the American Academy of Neurology, bilingual adults developed dementia 4.5 years later than their monolingual counterparts. The study also claims that bilingualism benefits individuals with frontotemporal and vascular dementia.

bilingual children

Research from the National Institutes of Health found that bilingual children are better at switching between tasks than children who only speak one language. This is because bilinguals have to constantly switch back and forth between languages, helping them become better multi-taskers.

bilingual children

Your child’s brain is like a big muscle; the more it functions the stronger it gets. Learning a second language exercises your child’s brain, as he or she must memorize new vocabulary words and grammar rules. In turn, your child is able to boost over all memory and retention.

bilingual children

Bilingualism doesn’t just have academic benefits, but it also has societal advantages. Bilingual children have a greater understanding of other cultures and communities, causing them to be more tolerant—a characteristic that is very difficult to instill in a child.

bilingual children

Typically, children do not start learning a language until around middle or high school. Teaching your child a foreign language early in life will better prepare them for school—not to mention give them a competitive advantage when applying to colleges.

bilingual children

When children are exposed to various different languages it opens the door to more creativity. According to research from the University of Strathclyde’s School of Psychological Sciences and Health, bilingual children are better at creative thinking and problem solving.

bilingual children

Is your child an aspiring musician? A study from Northwestern University found that learning a second language “fine tunes” individuals’ auditory nervous system, which will prove beneficial when learning how to play an instrument. What’s more, as mentioned above, bilingualism helps individuals switch between tasks, which is also a key component in playing music.

bilingual children

A child’s ability to focus is paramount both in the classroom and outside. According to research, bilingual children have more mental flexibility than monolinguals, which allows them to focus better on tasks.

bilingual children

Sure, learning a foreign language has its academic benefits, but it’s also fun! Your child will be able to explore a different region’s culture and customs and enjoy conversing with others in their newly learned language.

bilingual children

“Bilingual children develop stronger overall skills in BOTH their primary language as well as their secondary. Because they have so many ways to communicate and are exposed to a wider range of words and expressions (some unique only to the secondary language), bilinguals end up with a higher than average lexicon in their dominant tongue,” said Antonio Centeno of Bilingual Kids Rock.

22. Increases your child's appreciation

“Bilingual children develop greater brain plasticity, which makes abstract thinking easier and increases art appreciation,” said Cynthia Lopez of Bilingual Station.

There’s a great misconception that raising your child bilingual can have adverse effects. However, numerous studies have proven that bilingual children have a greater advantages over monolingual children.

Luckily, teaching your child a foreign language has never been easier thanks to today’s technology. So what are you waiting for? Help your child be the best they can be by teaching them a new language!

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teach yourself japanese

Language Lessons vs. Self Study: Can You Teach Yourself Japanese?

teach yourself japanese

Is it possible to teach yourself Japanese? While the best way to learn a language is always a private teacher or tutor, there are some things you can do at home to learn the basics. Here, language teacher Carol Beth L. weighs the pros and cons of Japanese lessons vs. teaching yourself.

Can you teach yourself Japanese? The simple answer is, yes. Like many new skills, given the right tools, some people can teach themselves. I have known people who have taught themselves Japanese—or another language—without much help from teachers, professors, or formalized classes. At the same time, teaching yourself another language requires that many factors come together symbiotically. Perhaps a better answer is, it really depends.

Teaching yourself anything requires a certain discipline, knowledge of your learning style, and ability to research and find resources to help you. Japanese is no different.

Pacing and Discipline

Professors, tutors, teachers, and classes often help students pace themselves and motivate them to study. If you have trouble keeping yourself on task and setting aside regular time to study, then self study may not be for you. Additionally, Japanese has a reputation for being one of the most time-consuming languages for an English-speaker to learn, making regular study time and practice vital.

Linguistic Understanding and Study Skills

Teachers, tutors, and professors are great resources to help students understand or remember things that are otherwise confusing. They know where students struggle, and they can understand how to help their students grasp a difficult or challenging concept. Professionals can also provide study tools that may help you learn the language. Many of their assignments will reflect techniques you can use—repetition, humor, flashcards, etc. If you have not learned a foreign language before, or if you have had difficulty with languages in the past, you may not want to go solo this time around.


As an independent student studying on your own, finding helpful resources is vital. Finding a textbook usually isn’t too difficult; there are usually both new and used textbooks floating around on Amazon or Craigslist. When it comes to textbooks, however, professors or tutors can be help you find the right one for your specific needs. Textbooks will provide a written guide to reading and writing the language. As you develop your linguistic knowledge, write a daily diary, find a pen-pal with whom to correspond, or write short essays.

Remember, if you want to teach yourself Japanese, it’s also helpful to spend time listening to and speaking the language. Sometimes textbooks come with CDs or links to websites that include audio. These can be helpful, but you should also look for additional resources like videos or social groups. Rent Japanese movies, watch YouTube videos, and look for Japanese conversation groups in your area.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Learning Japanese on your own can have certain advantages. An independent student I once met commented that after having studied on his own , it was difficult to find a class at his level. When he tried to take classes at a university, they insisted on placing him in low-level classes, which he felt was a waste of time. He became frustrated, and went back to studying on his own. Many independent learners also find that studying independently gives them more freedom to go at their own pace—either faster or slower than typical university classes. Private tutors also have this advantage, as you can set your own goals, and they will support your learning style.

Learning a language on your own can be difficult, but with the proper motivation and study skills, it’s definitely not impossible to teach yourself Japanese. Most students, however, can typically benefit from guidance from a professional tutor, teacher, or professor. If you think you have the time and discipline to learn on your own, give it a try, you can always find a teacher or tutor if you are struggling or feel like you need additional help.

Carol Beth
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She  also studied Japanese in high school and college. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!


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