Majed Alhamad, Multilingual Language Teacher Shares 10 Tips to Succeed in Learning a New Language

From building your resume when applying for a new job to communicating with locals when visiting a foreign country, there are countless reasons to learn a new language.  Unfortunately, learning a new language on your own can be quite a challenge.  Here are ten useful tips from Majed Alhamad, a foreign language teacher who tutors clients in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish, to help you succeed.

1. Decide how much time and money you are willing to invest in learning a new language. Though you can likely find free language-learning websites, you should also consider enrolling in a course, taking an online class, purchasing an independent language learning program, or even just purchasing a textbook to study on your own.  These resources are generally better organized and easier to understand than free online resources.  However, they will cost you money and, in some cases, require a greater time commitment.

2. Consider the context in which you will use the language.  If you are hoping to become completely fluent in the language, it is important to dedicate a lot of time and energy to studying it.  If, on the other hand, you simply want to be able to communicate with the locals when on vacation in a foreign country, you can probably get away with learning only the tourist's basics.

3. Set realistic goals and stick to them.  In order to succeed in learning a new language, it is essential that you set weekly and monthly goals.  They should be relatively attainable so that you will not become discouraged by failing to meet certain goals.  For example, a reasonable goal would be to successfully complete one chapter from a language textbook each week.

4. Start slow.  Everyday vocabulary is a great place to begin.  You will probably not be able to jump right into conjugating verbs and dealing with complex grammatical rules.  Instead, focus on learning common vocabulary words that you use every day.

5. Use images rather than exact translations when learning new vocabulary.  Science has shown that in order to effectively learn new vocabulary, it is best to emulate the learning process of a child learning his or her first language.  Instead of trying to remember that "chico" means "boy" in Spanish, associate the word "chico" with the mental image of a boy.  Whenever possible, you should picture the word rather than translate it.

6. Slowly begin incorporating grammar. As you begin to get the hang of the language, slowly begin learning grammatical rules.  These take time to master, so do not be discouraged if at first, you struggle to remember them.

7. Schedule time to review.  In order to successfully master a language, it is essential that you frequently review what you have learned up until that point.  If you do not review the material you have already learned, you will likely forget basic vocabulary and rules.

8. Immerse yourself in the language.  In order to learn the correct pronunciation and accent, you should listen to the language frequently.  You can do this by tuning to a news radio station, listening to songs, or even watching TV and movies in the language you are learning.

9. Record yourself pronouncing the words out loud.  Using a cell phone or other audio recording device, record yourself reading vocabulary words or even an entire passage from a text out loud.  This will allow you to hear yourself from someone else's perspective as well as allow you to perfect your accent.

10. Study the culture or cultures associated with the language.  In order to fully experience all that a language has to offer, you should also study the cultures associated with your chosen language.  These cultures can provide insight into the language as well as make learning a new language a fun experience.

By following these ten tips, you will not only be on your way to successfully learn an entirely new language, but you will likely have fun doing so.

About Majed Alhamad:

Majed Alhamad is multilingual language teacher who has a talent for helping students gain fluency in a foreign language. Born in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mr. Alhamad grew up speaking Arabic and English fluently and went on to learn French, and Spanish.

Alhamad started his career as a translator and guide for tourists visiting the bustling city of Dubai, and quickly realized that he had a natural ability to make learning a new language fun. He pursued a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and has been working with clients, helping them move from a conversational level through fluency ever since.