Good morning, everyone!
Here at Lyra Press, we are passionate about exploring new languages and especially finding beautiful ways to incorporate learning into everyday life. Many of our designs were created out of our personal desire to have beautiful yet functional prints in our home.
Below, we've compiled five of our most effective tips for learning a new language from home.
1. Identify why you are interested in the new language.
While this isn't a specific language-learning tip, identifying the why before the how is immensely helpful for maintaining motivation and commitment. What draws you to a specific language? Are you interested in the culture(s) of those who speak the language, or does the language have personal meaning to you?
2. Find aspects of the culture that you enjoy and hope to enjoy in your target language.
This will help you develop a more customized and personal approach to learning. The process of learning a new language (or anything else) should be enjoyable and rewarding. Read simple children's books in your target language, or use one of our bilingual art prints to expose yourself to new vocabulary. For example, if you like Japanese, try watching anime to learn new words/phrases without even trying.
3. Discover the language's most integral features that will help you communicate effectively.
Are there specific conjugations? Multiple tones? A particular grammatical hierarchy? For example, understanding the differences between tones in Chinese is absolutely critical to understanding spoken Chinese. Spanish is generally pronounced as it is spelled; French is not - so learning the basic rules of spelling vs pronunciation would be very helpful when beginning to learn French.
4. Learn through association rather than direct translation.
In the early stages of learning a new language, you will usually find yourself mentally translating from one language to another. This is perfectly natural, but you can expedite learning by using creative methods.
Use the visual resources found on this site or create your own. Imagine a sentence or phrase visually. For an even more interactive exercise, illustrate the word or phrase. Imagine the phrase musically. It doesn't matter which method you use - just find something you enjoy! Do as much as you can to help your brain experience the language in many different modes. Mnemonics and rhymes can also be fun and effective :)
5. Communication first, perfection later.
Learning to communicate in an entirely new way is a daunting task in any context. Many people have difficulty practicing a new language out of fear of embarrassment. While this tip has been said time and time again, it really is vital to practice and make mistakes. Emphasize unfamiliar sounds while speaking to exercise unused muscles. Recall the way children begin to sound out their native tongue. No one is born with inherently perfect grammar and pronunciation - and it's arguable whether there is just one way to speak any language. Celebrate your mistakes - you're making progress :)