Study Tips for Learning a New Language

Over the past few months, I have been teaching myself Korean. I am by no means anything other than still a beginner. School and work prevent me from doing any intense studying. But I have been able to build a solid foundation and understanding of the basics of the language. And I am no study expert or organization expert either. Honestly, I kinda suck at things like organization or studying.

So why should I even think about writing a post on study tips for learning a new language? I think it is more of a way to keep myself accountable and push myself to follow through. Which is my bigger issue… personally.  I have always wanted to learn a second language. And I have tried before. In high school, it was 3 1/5 years of Chinese, and then 1 semester of French in college. This is something I have always wanted to do for myself. But I struggle to keep up with it.

This is something I am determined to do. To accomplish for me.  And I am going to do it. It may take me some time, but I will get there. So here are some things I have found useful and some I am planning on using in my studies of Korean.

+ Learn the Alphabet first
  • This applies more to languages like Korean or Chinese where they have their own writing systems than languages like French or Spanish that use many of the same alphabets as English. This is something you are gonna find repeated over and over again for languages like Korean or Chinese: Get away from the romanization as soon as possible. It will hold you back. It is part of the reason why I struggled with Chinese so much in high school. I couldn’t let go of the pinyin.
+ Study Buddy!
  • Get a study buddy. Seriously. You need someone to help you stay accountable and you can help them stay accountable. Find someone who is willing to learn with you and just help each out. I’m not saying you need to always study together or anything like that. More like just reminding each other to review or encouraging each other when it gets a little rough. It makes it a little more bearable when you have someone studying the same subjects as you, who knows what it’s like.
+ Vocabulary
  • Now this one I learned from Natalia Garza. (Gotta give credit where credit is due) She is amazing and I love her videos and oh! would you look at that… she studies Korean. hehe. Here is the video I adapted for my own vocab learning. I started my own notebook to keep track of what I struggled with and I love Memrise to review what I am learning and reinforce what I already know. But seriously check out her YouTube cause she gives some amazing advice for language learning that can be applied to any language you are learning. And she studies more than just Korean.
+ Study Every Day.
  • This seems excessive I’ll admit. But if you don’t have the time to have a proper sit-down study session, just having a quick 5 or 10-minute review is going to help keep it fresh and reinforce what you have already learned. Repetition helps. This is where it helps to have an app on your phone or tablet for whatever your target language is. I am currently obsessed with one called Drops. It is literally five-minute sessions (for the free version) to review vocabulary or Hangul, which is also helpful for pronunciation.
  • However, I understand that this is not gonna work for most of you. So you do you and figure out what works best for you. But do make sure you spend some time reviewing what you are learning.

Like I said, I am by no means an expert, but I do have some experience. And I can only hope that this might be that little push you needed to start studying that language you always wanted. If you have any advice you’d like to share, any tips that worked for you, let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear them!

~Chelsea

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