how to start learning a language

How to start learning a language (step by step!)

You’ve decided you really want to learn a language.

However, you’re feeling already pretty overwhelmed even before starting. And the reason is: you don’t actually know where to start!

What topics should you start with? What grammar do you need to learn first? Which resources should you use? Should you go abroad or just learn at home?

Before you have a meltdown or go on a spending spree and buy tens of language learning books you don’t actually need, follow these steps to gain some clarity on how to start learning a language! ūüėÄ

Step 1: Envision the conversations you’d like to have in that language

Ask yourself: what are you learning this language for? Do you want to go on holiday in that country? Do you want to live and work there? What kind of topics can you see yourself talking about with the locals?

Brainstorm those conversation topics. They are going to be the first things you’re going to focus on.

Hint:  Choose a specific topic area rather than a general one. 

For example: “talking about my hobbies” is more specific (and relevant to you) rather than “free time” (aka, you’ll need to be able to talk about free time in general, learn also vocabulary that relates to other people’s hobbies and common leisure activities that are not necessarily relevant to you, etc.).

Step 2: Brainstorm grammar and vocabulary you need to learn

Hear, hear: you can do this in your native language first!

Example: if I stick to “my free time” topic in Spanish, I’ll need to learn how to say something like “I like playing the ukulele and going out with my friends. I also like dancing and I often go on Saturday.” Which means I’ll need to learn the following language items: vocabulary free time activities such as “dancing” & “playing the ukulele”, the verb “to like” and “to go” in present tense, time adverbs such as “often” and “on Saturday”.

Step 3: Make a list

List the items you need to learn in order of priority. 

For example, I may choose to learn free time activities nouns first and then the verb “to like” in Spanish.

Estimate how long it’ll take you to learn those language items and schedule a time to learn them in your calendar.

Step 4: Get your learning resources 

Decide: are you going to study this language solo or¬†with a teacher? If you’re self studying your language, which resources can help you to get where you want to be? Do you have a language exchange partner¬†to practise with (more on how to find one right here!)? If you dig YouTube, which videos do you need to watch?

Make a list of the resources you need to use and then… go shopping (my favourite part!) or you may want to use free online resources like the ones from my One Page Language Learning Resource list.¬†Download it right here!

Now it’s time to start!

So, these are my 4 steps to help you start to learn a language!¬†And if you get stuck, lose your motivation or need help,¬† drop me an email¬† and I’ll send you a nice (and loud!) voice message to encourage you get some learning done in no time (I promise I won’t be bossy!) !

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