5 Simple Language Learning Tips and Duolingo Hacks

April 9, 2020

There's something about ordering food in a local language that is really satisfying to me. I'm not sure if it's because of the "ordering the food" part or because of the "language" part.

 

Nevertheless, if you're at the start of your language learning journey or if you're looking for some tips and tricks, I share with you my top 5 tricks I'm using for learning German and Korean. These tips and tricks can be applied across any language. No flashcards and free resources included.

 

I also share 5 Duolingo tips that will help you get the hang of the language faster at the end of this post.

 

No flashcards and free resources.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I am not receiving any compensation for writing this. Any links included in this post are not affiliate links and I'm only including them for reader's convenience. I am writing this because I want to share my experience with you.​ 

Top 5 tips and tricks for learning a new language:

 

1. Get on the apps and websites

2. Have a goal

3. Be consistent

4. Consume content

5. Use the language - meetups and travel 

 

+ 5 Duolingo Tips

 

1. Get on the apps and websites 

 

First things first. Find your sources of learning material.

 

 

Duolingo is one of the most popular free apps (you can get a premium subscription to access extra benefits, but having used both - paid version is not worth it in my opinion).

 

You can learn over 35 languages with Duolingo, including Spanish 🇪🇸, German 🇩🇪, Korean 🇰🇷, Japanese 🇯🇵, High Valyrian 🐉 (perfect for any GoT fans) and even Klingon 🖖.

 

If you are I beginner, I would recommend you use Duolingo as complimentary app to another source where you can learn more about the grammar. Duolingo can be quite beginner unfriendly depending on the language (e.g. Korean).

 

You can find more tips and tricks for Duolingo at the end of this post.

 

Another very popular site for learning languages is Babbel. This is not a free resource. However, you can find codes for free trials all over the internet (and EasyJet inflight magazine). I've used Babbel in the past for German and I really liked it.

 

I would recommend Babbel if you're at the very beginning level because the lessons are well structured and grammar is explained properly.

 

If you are learning Korean, check out the following websites: Talk To Me In Korean, How To Study Korean, and Learn! KOREAN with BTS.  Learn Hangul for free in 90 minutes with GO! Billy Korean's YouTube video.

 

The suggested apps and pages have free and premium resources available. Free resources are more than enough if you're a beginner, intermediate or someone who wants to refresh their language knowledge.

 

2. Have a goal

 

Why are you learning the language? This might seem quite a basic question. However, learning a language is not always easy and fun (especially when you're a beginner or if you just can't seem to remember irregularities). A goal will keep you going when the times are tough.

🎯

 

A goal could be: communicating with locals when travelling, a good grade in school, studying abroad, moving to another country and making local friends, being able to better do your job, understand the lyrics of your favourite artist, etc.

 

It's my lifelong goal to be able to speak German because I simply love the sound of the language and I love Austria 🇦🇹. I would love to live again in my favourite city Innsbruck at some point. 

 

5 Things To Do On Your First Visit To Innsbruck (Austria)

 

I fell in love with Seoul (and South Korea 🇰🇷) when I visited it last time. It's my dream to go back as soon as I can to explore more of this beautiful country. It's my goal to be able to order food in restaurants and cute cafes, have simple conversations and be able to sing along to my favourite songs.

 

15 Things To Do In Seoul On Your First Visit - With Photos

 

3. Be consistent

 

Practice makes better language speaker. Especially when you're learning a new language. Being consistent is more important than spending a lot of time at once and then forgetting all about it until next time.

 

Duolingo is really good for keeping you consistent. It offers short practice lessons which you can squeeze in on your morning commute or before you go to sleep at night.

 

 

I schedule some time for Duolingo in the afternoon when I come back home from work. Have a look at your calendar and see when you can spare 15 minutes to practice the language.

 

4. Consume content

 

Consuming content is fun = learning language is fun.

 

Follow people on Instagram, watch YouTube videos, series and TV languages in another language (with subtitles). 

 

A lot of countries dub content that is not originally made in their language. For some of you switching to subtitles might be a bit hard at the start but it'll be worth it in the long term.

 

 

I've spent about 7 years watching Latin American soap operas / Telenovelas. 4 years of high school Spanish was very easy for me.

 

Up until age 15 I've absolutely hated English and couldn't put a sentence together. I basically decided to learned English by watching tv shows. Now, over 10 years later, English is my primary language. I have spent the past 7 years living, studying and working in English speaking countries. My English is probably way better than my Slovene now. 😂

 

5. Use the language - meetups and travel 

 

I've found out that using language is the best way for improving and learning a language. Find a native speaker and try practicing with them. If you live in a bigger city check out your local Meetup events.

 

If there are no meetups close to you check if some other meetups there have a group chat on apps like WhatsApp and KakaoTalk (for Korean). There are also Facebook Groups you can join.

 

Use the language when you travel! The first words are the hardest. Don't be afraid of making mistakes. In worse case scenario you can just revert to English.

 

 

Usually it takes me some time to get used to using German when I'm in Austria. Even though I've been learning it on and off for a while now, I'm still not the best at it. I worry too much if I'm using the right case forms and word orders. I over analyse sentences and get frustrated. But then after a while I can't be bothered with overthinking anymore and just start talking the way it sounds right to me. Worse case scenario? I just revert to English for the time being and later look up the correct wording which I use next time.

 

I feel very proud of myself every time I complete a transaction in local language. It really makes all those hours you put into learning language worth it.

 

Duolingo Tips

 

Those are the tips I use for learning German and Korean, but can be applied across all the languages. 

 

1. Set a reasonable daily goal

 

Duolingo's Streak works exactly the same as Snapchat Streak. Just for language. Every day you complete your daily goal you build your streak.

 

Start with Casual to build the habit. The streak will gamify the learning process and you will have the motivation to log in and complete the daily goal.

 

KEEP your streak by using Streak Freeze. This power up will keep your streak intact on days when you can't complete daily goals but don't want to lose the streak. 

 

 

 

2. Be consistent (it's ok if you are not)

 

Do not forget about your daily streak. Log in every day to practice. Use Streak Freeze on the days you can't.

 

It is ok to skip days. Don't be disappointed if you can't do it every day. Consistency builds habit and habit helps you learn better and faster.

 

3. Take notes 

 

Not all languages support this function (this is currently not available for Korean). However, some languages include function "Tips" where you can find the explanation of the grammar for that particular section.

 

 

 

 I have a dedicated notebook where I write down grammar tips.

 

 

4. Write stuff down

 

Write down practice sentences. That will help you with memorizing words, think about sentence structure, as well as getting familiar with language's alphabet.

 

  

5. Use dictation function 

 

This is a great hack if you are too lazy to type and then also write things down. Dictate your sentence and let the phone write it out for you. This is also a great speech exercise.

 

Just make sure you have the right language selected before you start dictating.

 

As this a phone function (not a Duolingo feature), language selection might depend on your mobile device. 

 

 

Follow me on Instagram for my latest travel adventures or to share your language learning tips with me!

 

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