When you want to learn any new skill, you’ll need a healthy dose of motivation.
Motivation isn’t just the key to ‘sticking with it’ – it’s the secret sauce that makes sure the time you sink into your new pursuit is as effective as it can be.
Nowhere is the value of motivation more apparent, however, than in the pursuit of learning languages. After all, a lack of motivation is probably responsible for a collection of “Teach Yourself _____” books, CDs and audio cassettes collecting dust somewhere on your desk right now.
So, who better to explain how to remain motivated when learning a new language, than Matthew Youlden, a Brit with a serious passion for languages? At the age of just 32, he speaks nine languages fluently, five more at a very high level, and has a basic understanding of many others.
To celebrate our class with Matthew, we’re giving away 1 year subscriptions to Babbel’s advanced language learning platform to 10 lucky winners for the next two weeks. Enter to win and share to increase your chances today, and don’t forget to RSVP for the free, live broadcast of Learn a Language with Babbel.
Matthew’s taken time out of his role at language learning app Babbel to share his top five tips for harnessing the power of willpower and learning any language in record time. Check out Matthew’s class right here on CreativeLive to get his personal process for learning a new language.
1. Make It Relevant to You.
Most people, Matthew included, don’t learn a language just for the fun of it.
No, languages are meant to be used. To open new doors, provide new perspectives, and broaden horizons. A great way to stay motivated, then, is to connect your new language to your life from the very beginning.
Rather than struggling with a dry book about German grammar, for example, try leafing through something you’re already interested in. Chances are, if you enjoy learning about a subject in English, you’ll also find magazines, books, podcasts and websites dedicated to it in your new language.
“There’s tons of great material out there,” says Matthew. “Why not read about soccer in Spanish or Portuguese? Or if you’re into food, you already have a great reason to learn Italian!”
2. Have a Meaningful Goal.
There’s no way around it: learning a language takes commitment. It’s hard to stay committed to anything if you forget why you’re doing it in the first place.
“Pick a goal, and make it a good one,” says Matthew. “If all you want to do is impress your English-speaking friends, you’ll likely get bored sooner or later. If your aim is to make new friends in a new language, however, you’ll probably find that willpower comes more naturally.”
3. Use It.
One of the best ways to learn a new language is to use it. The best way to practice is to spend time amongst native speakers and talk to them in their own language.
You don’t necessarily have to travel either. Chances are, there are people in your community that speak the language you want to learn. If not, you can always connect with people online.
Of course, using a language in order to learn it may seem like a catch 22, but it’s not so hard according to Matthew:
“You can probably do a lot more than you think you can,” he says. “Just a few words of Spanish are enough to order food in a Mexican restaurant, for example – and you likely know some of the dishes on the menu already. That first conversation may be just what you need to boost your confidence and jump-start your motivation. And don’t worry about making mistakes – it’s all part of the process. Losing the fear is half the battle.”
4. Make It Fun.
Learning a language should be fun, but that takes a little creativity.
Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to make the process feel a lot less like work. Try writing stories, telling jokes, or just switching the language on video games or television shows if you’re feeling more passive. To practice his Greek, Matthew wrote and recorded songs with his brother Michael, who was also learning.
Having a partner is also a great help for conversation practice, emotional support, and even a bit of friendly competition. Make a game of it.
5. Just Go For It.
No matter which methods you use to learn a new language, make sure you dive in head first. This approach has been a key part of Matthew’s success in every language he’s learnt:
“I’m the kind of person that wants to take in as much as I can right away. I like to surround myself with the words, sounds, and the culture of a new language from the very beginning. I’ll listen to its music, watch subtitled films, and read whatever I can get my hands on. Whenever I get a chance to practice using the language myself, I take it. I’ll even talk to myself if there’s nobody else around!”
Learn more from Matthew and pick up his strategies for learning languages fast, in Learning Languages with Matthew Youlden.
For the next two weeks, until February 1, 2016 at midnight, you can enter for a chance to win a 1 year subscription to Babbel.com’s advanced language learning platform.
What You Could Win:
Babbel.com 1 Year Subscription. Get a free 1 year subscription to Babbel.com’s advanced language learning platform. Learn how to speak Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and much more.
HOW DO YOU WIN?
To help manage this giveaway, we’re going back to our favorite widget near the top of this post. It does a few things very well:
1. Manages all entries into a secure database and properly randomizes winners.
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To enter, just fill in your info in the form near the top of this post and follow along. This giveaway is live TODAY all the way through the 1st of February, 2016. The winner will be contacted on February 1st, 2016. Good luck!