SO YOU WANNA LEARN A LANGUAGE

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  1. First off, yay!!! Learning a second language is a great thing to do to challenge your brain and to make you a well rounded person. Good choice, friend!
  2. Be aware: it's difficult. Especially if you're out of the critical period for language learning. (Aka you're older than like 7.)
  3. As a super white girl majoring in Spanish, here are my best tips.
  4. Flash cards. Flash cards. Flash cards.
    Don't make a ton at one time. Know your brain and how much you can handle at once. Master those. Don't throw them away. Make new ones. Master those. Combine and go through again. Make sure you say the words out loud.
  5. Listen to music in your target language.
    A mix of songs you have never heard before and translations of songs you know in your first language.
  6. Movies with English (or whatever your first language is) subtitles.
    But don't put all of your hope in this by any means. Often times the translations are a little off.
  7. Try to find a native speaker to converse with.
    The best way to learn is through actually speaking. Practice practice practice.
  8. This is a little difficult, but try to not think of the English equivalent when thinking of vocab. Rather, think of a picture.
    Example: I would try to not think " 'gato' means 'cat' ". Instead I would think " 'gato means '🐈' ". I'm at a point now when my brain is thinking in Spanish but sometimes tries to revert back to translating it. Then it's chaos in my head. There is a time for translating and a time for just thinking. This will take a while though!
  9. Understand that you might feel silly.
    It's okay! Growing pains happen here too. You're not silly, you're learning and that is something to be proud of!
  10. Learn about the cultures where your target language is spoken.
    I love Latin America. Love it. That fuels my passion for the language. Keep your motivation level high!
  11. If possible, take a trip where it is the primary language.
    I learned the most when I was in Guatemala and my team forced me to translate. Being immersed in the culture is a great experience!
  12. Once you're at a high intermediate level start translating everything.
    One of my favorite things is going through radio stations and translating whatever is playing. It also can be hilarious. I've spent many road trips cracking up while trying to translate "Hotline Bling".
  13. Don't get frustrated!
    You're doing it! This is impressive! Give yourself some grace. You'll get there. Don't give up!