The Secret to Learning a New Language

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There’s one trick to learning a new language and it is exactly the same ingredient that we need when exercising —- consistency. Taking the first step is the easy part, whereas maintaining focus and staying disciplined can quickly become an arduous task. But with the 5 tips to increase your efficiency, you will find it easier to keep up the enthusiasm and master a new language in no time!

The Secret to Learning a New Language 

Consistency (and how to keep it up)

Making it a daily Habit

Keeping it consistent in a chaotic world where leading a busy life is a staple characteristic for most of us can easily become a challenge. The best way to stay disciplined is to make learning a new language a priority, by making it a daily habit. Whether its 20 minutes or 2 hours, be sure to set aside a small amount of time each day to study your new language.

Use technology

In today’s modern world it is now easier than ever to learn a new skill with all the technology that is made available to us. But with so many apps out there, its hard to know which are the best for learning a new language. The WOW favourites are: Duolingo & Memrise, two of the best language learning apps on the market.

Practice everywhere, all the time

Another core ingredient to keeping it consistent is to practise everywhere and anywhere in any way possible. Whether you’re listening to a French film or thanking people in Deutsche,  there are oodles of opportunities in a day to practice.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

 One of the key mistakes people make when trying to learn a new language is being too afraid to make mistakes – but don’t forget that is how you learn! Be sure to speak out loud when studying your new language and try it out on family and friends – chances are they won’t know when you’re wrong anyway! Take every chance you get to practice, particularly when in the home country of your new language. Locals will appreciate the effort, even if they don’t quite understand you at first!

Learn in more ways than one: read, speak out loud, listen

The final key to success in learning a new language is to practice in more ways than one. Back in the days of your primary education, you may remember doing the “Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check” methodology when learning spelling (okay, maybe that was just me, but…). This is a tried and tested method to learning anything new, so be sure to give it a whirl on new words and phrases as you continue your learning.


Over to you – any tips and tricks you’d like to share with readers!?

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    January 7, 2016 at 3:24 am

    Great tips! I’m trying to learn Spanish and at times it’s a bit of a struggle. I do find that when I’m consistent and practicing everyday I’m much more confident, but when I fall off the wagon for a couple of days it seems like I’m back at square one.

    December 31, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Hi Brooke, nice post. I was wondering which languages you speak besides English? Thanks!

    December 31, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Some advice from Sit Richard Frncis Burton, who learned 29 languages in his time:

    “Learning foreign languages, as a child learns its own, is mostly a work of pure memory, which acquires, after childhood, every artificial assistance possible. My system of learning a language in two months was purely my own invention, and thoroughly suited myself. I got a simple grammar and vocabulary, marked out the forms and words which I knew were absolutely necessary, and learnt them by heart by carrying them in my pocket and looking over them at spare moments during the day
    . After learning some three hundred words, easily done in a week, I stumbled
    through some easy book-work (one of the Gospels is the most come-atable), and underlined every word that I wished to recollect, in order to read over my pencillings at least once a day. Having finished my volume, I then carefully worked up the grammar minutiae, and I then chose some other book whose subject most interested me.
    . If I came across a new sound like the Arabic Ghayn, I trained my tongue to it by repeating at so many thousand times a
    day. When I read, I invariably read out loud, so that the ear might aid memory. I was delighted with the most difficult characters, Chinese and Cuneiform, because I felt that they impressed themselves more strongly upon the eye than the eternal Roman letters. This, by-and-by, made me resolutely stand aloof from the hundred schemes for transliterating Eastern languages, such as Arabic, Sanscrit, Hebrew, and Syriac, into Latin letters, and
    , and so to learn the trick of pronunciation and emphasis.

    than a quarter of an hour at a time, for after that the
    was now broken, and progress was rapid
    . I never worked more
    rain lost its freshness
    The neck of the language
    with anybody in a language that I was learning, I took
    whenever I conversed
    the trouble to repeat their words inaudibly after

    Great post Brooke!

    December 30, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Lovely post Brooke! Being a speaker of 6 langauges myself (Thai, English, Mandarn Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish) I can really relate to this post! One main thing is to keep going and pushing and never give up esp. in the first few months of learning new languages! 🙂

    Looking forward to seeing more of your posts Brooke 🙂
    Kay (

    • Brooke Saward
      December 30, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      Oh my goodness Kay you are amazing! 6 languages is so impressive!!

    December 30, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Duolingo and memrise are great to start with, but if you aim to actually be able to speak and understand more than just the very veery basic usage of the language, they won’t help you with your progress very much. I am speaking from my own experience – I was so happy when duolingo told me that I am “30% fluent in French”, so I thought that the lower intermediate course in French will be a piece of cake for me – but it turned out everyone else was much better than me just by going to the school course for beginners before (I couldn’t muster nearly any world, though duolingo helped me with mastering at least pronunciation).

    To sum it up, start with duolingo or memrise if you don’t want to go to a language course, but really, a good living language teacher cannot be outdone by any app. Then again, once you grasp the fundamentals of the language and you feel sure enough that you can continue without a teacher, stick to the “Learn in more ways than one” point and you’ll be fine 😉

    December 30, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Discipline, a word hard to do.
    Nice post. thanks.

    October 27, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I Brooke! Your tips are great, it is not so easy continue to speak and practise a foreign language in Italy but I try to read foreign blog or magazines and tv series in my free time. I hope it can help me!!

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    May 18, 2015 at 12:38 am

    Hi Brooke, I’m new to your site and I like your story. Another tool that I have found helpful for learning a new language is listening to language podcasts to supplement your learning. A good starting point for the Spanish and French learners is “CoffeeBreak Spanish” or “CoffeeBreak French.”


    April 10, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Hi,Nice tips.I am very aggressive to learn Spanish.These tips can help me most with increasing my learning efficiency.Really tips are so encouraging.Thanks for sharing.

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    March 8, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Great tips! I’m a junior and I’m in Spanish II. Duolingo is essential to me although I will admit that I could use it a bit more often. x

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    March 2, 2015 at 11:03 am

    I found that apps like Duolingo are nice as supplemental but not as the main source, for me at least. I am self taught in Spanish (hoping to add another soon) and I started with textbooks: reading,writing, doing the exercises. Duolingo helped keep things fresh in my mind. I would also read sports in Spanish and easy books of my interests (art, philosophy, etc) for better retention and to learn new words. It was better with topics of interest, especially music! The hard part now is conversation with native speakers and I need someone to practice with on the regular. I may pay for a few weeks class to help in that area.

    March 1, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Great tips Brooke 🙂 Practice makes perfection !!


    February 28, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Learning with a native speaker is the best way to improve your languages skills.


    February 28, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Its so daunting to get fluent in a new language. Working on it!

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    February 27, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Today is the day that I will start learing German! Thanks for your tips*

    February 27, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Making friends and forcing yourself to only talk in that language is the best way I know!

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    The Queen of Dreaming
    February 27, 2015 at 4:24 am

    I speak four languages and these are definetely good tips!

    Jennifer Stevens
    February 26, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Good tips. I personally love DuoLingo! I noticed just 3 months after moving from Colombia to China (and trying to learn Mandarin), I was forgetting really common Spanish words. But after committing to Duolingo every day for 20 minutes, I feel like I can really keep up 🙂

    February 25, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Hi Brooke!
    I learned speaking Italian by making friends there who can’t speak any other language. By listening and talking I can now have decent converstations. I just learned some grammar by myself and I can even write in Italian as well.
    I learned French, English and Spanish at school. I think that’s a very good base to learn other languages more easy.
    Another trick is to get a vacation lover 😉

    PS I hope you like my blog!

    February 25, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Duolingo app is really a great way to start learning new language.
    Couldn’t agree more with practice every day and be consistent advices! 🙂

    February 24, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Thank you, this is so helpful, I didnt know about this “learning” websites..

    February 24, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I love my old school cd in my car, but Duolingo is also amazing!

    February 24, 2015 at 8:16 am

    I would also mention : involve yourself in culture, speak to a native etc. And surround yourself with the language.

    Tessa Salt
    February 24, 2015 at 5:35 am

    All these are very true, I really want to learn Welsh properly, which considering I live in Wales you’d think wouldn’t be too hard!

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    The Lisboners
    February 24, 2015 at 12:03 am

    I’ve been doing language exchanges/tandem and it’s one of the best ways to learn and get to practice a new language. Couchsurfing is a good site to find people willing to do this. =)

    February 23, 2015 at 9:22 am

    My boyfriend and I are learning french right now with Duolingo! Such a pretty language

    February 23, 2015 at 2:48 am

    I think reading is the best option to memorize quickly. It’s even better if you read on e-reader, that way you can translate words immediately.

    February 23, 2015 at 2:47 am

    I think reading is the best option to memorize quickly. It’s even better if you read on e-reader, that way you can translate words immediately.

    February 22, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    I just started learning German and am applying these to my routine. I also ‘labelled’ objects in my room with post-it notes and how to pronounce their German names. Another trick I learnt is also colouring words according to gender- red for feminine, blue for masculine and green for neutral. All the best polylingual folks! 😀

    February 22, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    As much as I love learning foreign languages, your post immediately caught my attention! I speak the same five languages that Andres previously mentioned, and have several more on my to do list 🙂
    My biggest lesson learned over the years is: No matter how perfect your grammar is or your vocabulary, and how long you’ve been studying a language.. Speaking with someone is a MUST. Knowing the “theory” about a language is one thing, being able to have a spontaneous conversation is a different story..

    I keep making mistakes and sometimes I confuse the languages, especially when I switch from one to the other quickly. But I’m not afraid anymore of making mistakes as before 🙂
    One last thing, I recommend study travels! They don’t have to be expensive! If you get a chance, get out there and visit the country that speaks the language that you’re learning. Attend classes and hang out with people so you can practice. But be consistent. Once you are a abroad don’t be tempted to hang out only with the people from your country..;))

    Thanks so much for the apps! Already downloaded both. They are great!!

    February 22, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    I agree with you on all the points above! But I would say writing is also very important because it helps us remember better. 🙂 However, if it’s just for conversational purpose, those apps would be good enough. x

    February 22, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    WOW! hanks for sharing the Free language learning sites. My daughter can go with Spanish and I can move on at my own pace with Mandarin.
    Keep going and sharing. You are an inspiration!

    February 22, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Pick up the common words in all other languages u know- more so the technical/commercial/greeting words- This is based on the fact that when one reads a sentence his mind notes a few words in it and the rest it makes guesses at its mental speed. It is also based on the fact that the only some limited words and patterns of sentences are more ofte n gets repeated. Use these facts to ur learning advantages. i have picked up Russian language in a jiffy using the above facts- Wishing you all speedy learning- L.gopalan

  • awanderlustblog@OUTLOOK.COM'
    February 22, 2015 at 10:58 am

    I’ve started learning italian and i love it – plus I’ve booked a trip to venice for ‘practice’ haha

    Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life)
    February 22, 2015 at 3:32 am

    Great tips and I definitely agree that consistency is the best way to keep it going. And technology is amazing! I use Rosetta Stone but it is a little pricey. I love the tips I’m reading in the comments too. is a great way, and in my area I’ve found Bucket Buddies who has a learning Dutch group with locals and those who are trying to learn ( if any is in Amsterdam and wants to learn!).

    Learning a new language is just daunting, so it’s good to see a post like this to keep me moving forward! Thansk!

    February 21, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    I find learning languages really hard and I do think part of that is being afraid of making mistakes. Which language or languages are you learning? Great tips!


    February 21, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Making it a daily habit is what I struggle with, but Duolingo is definitely a very helpful tool!

    February 21, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    These are great ideas! I think can be a great resource as well to find other speakers in the area…even if you can’t understand everything just becoming accustomed to the rhythm and accent of the language is key. Youtube is another underrated resource—watching children’s programs in a foreign language is a good way to introduce new vocabulary and stay current.

    EmilyAnne (Eat All Over The World)
    February 21, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Learning a new language is such a scary thing for me. I have always wanted to learn Spanish, but am always have everyone laughing at my attempt because of my southern accent.

    Kristen @ Glow On
    February 21, 2015 at 10:17 am

    great tips! I’ve been working on learning Spanish and I really like using Spanish CD’s in my car.

    February 21, 2015 at 8:21 am

    These are all ideas I need to keep in mind for myself. I was so intimidated to use the little bits of Spanish that I knew in Peru, and now I want to return to South America and learn more Spanish. Thanks for sharing these tips–as you’ve mentioned: practice, practice, practice!

    February 21, 2015 at 6:38 am

    You are great Brooke. Thanks for the learning different language tips. >3

    February 21, 2015 at 4:20 am

    I think the best way to learn a language is just start speaking it, no matter how bad you are.
    Listening to it helps a lot, too. Reading as well, but a bit less than speaking and listening.

    I’ve been living as an expat in Ecuador for about 6 months, and found it difficult to make friends so I don’t really have a lot of opportunity to speak every day (I speak to myself, haha). But simply listening to Spanish all the time has really improved my language skills, surprisingly enough! It just makes you feel comfortable with the language, and you stop being afraid of it.

    Rachel @ Vagabondbaker
    February 21, 2015 at 4:01 am

    Great tips! I’ve found listening to music in the language I’m learning really helpful. Even though I can’t understand much, I’ve found that often when I learn new vocab much of it becomes familiar because I’ve heard it in the tracks!
    I’ve been learning Finnish, I work a little bit at it every day, I’ve not been doing it for that long. Visiting Finland for a couple of weeks really spurred me on, I realised I knew more than I thought!
    Back home (I’m a house sitter) I try to speak to the dogs I look after in Finnish to practice, it may sound funny but they seem to still understand!

    February 21, 2015 at 3:34 am

    I find it the best to learn a language when you are actually in the country! In that way you hear it all around you and you have to communicate with the native people in their language. And it adds a new experience and adventure to the list!

    February 21, 2015 at 1:22 am

    Talking to a native speaker is KEY and probably the most fun way to learn. My boyfriend speaks Norwegian, French, and German, three languages that I am learning to different degrees! So when we have time we try having conversations in one of those languages. He is learning Spanish (my native language) so we try to have a conversation in Spanish as well. We correct each other whenever we make a mistake. We usually do it for 30 min but 1 hour would be ideal, although more tiring 😛

    So my advice: get in contact with someone that speaks your target language and preferably, that person is trying to learn yours, and try having conversations in that language. You’ll make mistakes, but it’s how you learn 🙂

    To learn vocabulary I love duolingo, like you recommended. Also there is a show called “Extra” on youtube. It’s a silly/funny TV show and they have it in Spanish, French, and German with subtitles in that language so you can listen and read at the same time. it’s REALLY helpful! I use it for French and German when I have time.

    Learning a new language is so rewarding!

    Viel glück!!! 🙂

    February 21, 2015 at 1:14 am

    This was encouraging to me. I used to try to study Italian for at least an hour everyday. With my current schedule, that is just not realistic. However, I do try to get at least 20 minutes in of Italian reading and duolingo before I turn on my social media websites in the morning. Because I do it every single day, I hardly even think about it. I just do it first thing in the morning before I have time to dread it. That helps me stay consistent!

    I sure hope that I can at least maintain what I have learned until I have the time to focus on languages again. Thanks for the encouragement!

    February 21, 2015 at 12:15 am

    i still find someone to talk to a lot quicker and easier to pick up a new language. that and desperation

    February 21, 2015 at 12:13 am

    You’re absolutely right, consistency is key when learning a new language. I switched all my apps over to French when I was learning, I watch French movies, I read French articles. Just surrounding yourself with the language is a perfect way to learn it.


    February 20, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    I’ve learned 3 new languages in my life and I’ve found that watching films in that Language is the best way possible!

    February 20, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    What I think is most import is not to be afraid to learn the language you’re learning no matter how good you are how for how long you’ve been learning. Speaking with other people and needing to speak the language out of necessity are the fastest way you’ll eventually learn the language.

    xx Cheyenne

    February 20, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    All great tips – the reason why I am so fluent in German is honestly because I lave lived in Germany for the last 5 years and have used the language daily. I must admit that it would have been a lot harder, had I not had the daily practice. I think another great tip is to have a friend who speaks the language you are learning so that you can keep up that consistency, especially if you are out of college and learning the language on your own or in a weekly class.

    Rae | love from berlin

    Hannie Blaise
    February 20, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    I totally agree with you!


    February 20, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Hi Brooke,

    I don’t know many tricks how to learn a foreign language. Anyway my advise is not to start with the Polish language as it is regarded as extremely difficult one to learn 😉
    Luckily more and more Poles speak English (esp. younger ones).

    Bartek from Gdansk, Poland

    here is an interesting article:

    February 20, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    You said it right Brooke, consistency is the key. I speak 5 languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian) and I still think that learning a new language is such a beauty because you’re not only adding another tool to communicate with some other people, but you’re also learning the insights of different cultures. Diversity is such a wonderful thing.