Where to begin?
You can attend to a language school to learn a language. However, it is not a necessary thing to do in order to learn a language. Language schools are not he only places where useful information and assistance are provided. There are also many down sides of going to a language school, such as fixed class schedule, money, less personal learning in crowded classrooms, obligation to follow the group, etc. Actually, you do not have to go through this. You can teach yourself more flexibly and cheaply. There are more advantages of self-study, if you know how to do it. So, if you go with self study, there are a few things you should consider before and after you begin with your studies. Here, I provide 10 general guidelines on things you need to focus before and after you decide to study a language.
1-Decide which language you want to study first.
There are some people who are interested in learning a foreign language to broaden their world view improve themselves in different aspects. At first, it is not necessary to have a language in mind before you decide for learning one. If you fall into this category and don't know which language you want to study exactly, you should consider deciding on a language first. This the most essential step before committing any learning activity. If you want to learn about languages, and some facts about them, you can visit this page and can make up your mind better.
2- Know the fact about language which you want to study
2- Know the fact about language which you want to study
If you know what language you want to learn, then you should have some background information about that language. Do not forget that language is a collective entity exists within a society. Therefore, you should not neglect the social aspects that language is related to. You can learn the countries associated with that language, people who live there, their culture, history, foods, etc. Also knowing about some linguistic facts, like number of total native speakers, basic language types and related language families will be also useful. Language cannot be completely learnt unless you know something about the culture and people that language is related to. So, be passionate about learning the cultures and countries as well.
3- Find useful material and sources
Having access to useful sources and material is crucial for a successful and smooth language learning experience. You can buy books, dictionaries, exercise books, story books, software, internet products,etc. in order to provide yourself some useful learning material. There are many different types of learning material. Each of them my not be best for everyone. Therefore, you should have some ideas about your learning style. Than you can better deciding which materials can be best for you. Thanks to internet, there are many useful sources that can be used for learning any language, even the ancient ones. In the review section I will provide some good products which you can obtain and start learning with.
4- Have language learning goals
No great achievement can be done without having goals before your commitment. This counts for learning a foreign language as well. Second language acquisition will require your time and effort. When you take this journey, you should know where you are headed to. Therefore, you should be willingly provide all this work and effort for a purpose and make that purpose your goal to achieve. That goal can be a challenging one. Whatever! Do not hesitate to challenge yourself. You are better off with it than getting lost in your daily routine. Have goals, force your mind to reshape around it. And a the end, you will feel accomplished and renewed when you reach to your goals. Moreover, with this thing in mind, you can form a better learning plan. You can metaphorize this language learning process as constructing a building. First you need to imagine, have your ideas and goals. Than you can make better plans for construction and actualization your ideas.
5- Make study plans
As we previously metaphorized this process as construction, you need to have a well organized plan before you start constructing. So this is exactly the same for language learning. You can be very passionate to learn a language at first. However, do not forget that in order to master it, you have to go step by step for an extended period. If you do not have a plan, when you face up with difficulties, your passion may not be enough to keep you going. You need a plan. Planning will save you from messing things up and getting frustrated. It is good for providing you some ideas about your current stand and where you want to go. This will keep you motivated. Don't forget that victory loves preparation. Prepare yourself for this endeavor and know that you will reach your goal if you do it good. So make a plan. Decide when you want to study, how much you want to study and how long it will take.
6- Begin with learning pronunciation than spelling
It is impossible to carry on language studies without having knowledge of pronunciation. The primary function of language is listening and speaking. Naturally, languages existed long before the invention of writing and reading. It is also the case that babies can learn how to speak naturally as part of our human nature but kids have to go to school to learn writing and reading. So, this is the nature of any natural language. Therefore, never neglect to learn correct pronunciation. You wouldn't really put all this effort for a language you can even used to interact with people in a small-talk. Spelling is also important. Today we have many written materials. Without knowing how to spell, how you would write down or read the words that you try to learn and identify them in a context.
7- Learning basic vocabulary
After you make your study plan, learn pronunciation and spelling you can continue with the next process, namely gaining basic vocabulary information. As a language learner you want to construct but before you build stores, you will need a foundation for this construction. So knowledge of basic vocabulary will be this foundation. As in a construction, without this foundation you cannot built all the necessary skills for a successful language learning experience. Learning basic vocabulary is, therefore, a must. In further series I will give you which vocabularies can be considered basic ones and how you can find them.
8- Practice regualry the things you've learned
"Practice makes perfect." As the saying goes, you will need practice in order to both maintain the things you have learned and build necessary mental circuits in your mind. There are some studies that suggest in order to learn a new word completely and maintain it in the active memory, a learner needs to review this previously learned word over and over. You should understand that practice and repetition is as important as learning the new things. Sometimes, it takes longer than actually learning the new words and rules. However, this is crucial and must be done in a productive way. Best way to do this in interaction with native speakers. Briefly, as an architect reviews the construction process and the progress that has been made over and over in order to see how it goes, you will also need to revise what you have learned previously.
9- Learn grammar rules as you go
Grammar to a language is what the skeleton to a building. In language, you construct every thing according to the rules determined by grammar. So, in order to construct a good sentence with the vocabulary you have learned, you will need to learn grammar rules. They are important even though not as important as the vocabulary itself. So, take this step serious. However, never exaggerate it by over emphasizing the importance of the grammar rules. At the end, you do not need to be perfect at it in order to communicate with people and make yourself understood. Just have the decent knowledge and all will be fine. Also never forget that without the vocabulary to build, knowledge of the grammar rules are totally useless. It is also easy to forget, if you do not combine them with the words to create meaningful sentences.
10- Use everything you learn in actual communication
So, as you would not construct a building just to keep it to yourself, you would not like to learn a language to keep it all to yourself. Communication is the real purpose behind all these things. This is also why we have language as human species. If you study a language just for some certificate or exam, you should know that you are wasting your time, just as much as the people who require those certificates or exams. So take this endeavor serious and make it serve to the primary function of the language, namely communication. Try to find people with whom you can practice the things you learn.