My Passion for Learning Languages (+Tips On How To Pick Up Languages Quickly!)

Hellooo wanderers ๐Ÿ™‚

Growing up in a bilingual city has certainly had it’s ups and downs. When I was a kid, I absolutely hated learning French – primarily because it was so forced upon us and it made it very stressful seeing as how a major part of our grades was based on how quickly we could pick it up.

But, as the years have passed I’ve become a lot more thankful for my French and in fact have basically become obsessed with learning new ways to communicate!

I love language and I love people, as well as exploring different cultures. So today I thought I’d make a post about my jounrey in learning new and exciting languages and alsoo, give some tips for how youย can make your language learning experience go smoother!

*Disclaimer – I’m so far from a professional and am still learning! There are a ton of different ways to learn languages but these are just the tips that personally helped me!

My Journey:ย 

I’m half English (on my dads side) and half Italian (on my moms). As a kid, I was totally captivated by my moms fast speech when she spoke to Italian relatives over the phone and I found myself wanting to learn SO bad. It really is a romantic language *sigh*. But, my mom wasn’t into teaching me because she swore her grammar was terrible and that she’d teach me all the wrong things – so when I got the chance to take an Italian class in College as my complementary I took it in a heart beat!

The class was a mix of Italian kids like me (who had parents who never got around to teaching their kids) and non-italian kids who were studying linguistics. I felt like a pro the first few classes because while I knew zip about verbs, I knew the basics like ‘hello, how are you? Goodmorning, goodnight’ etc and I could count to 10.

Buuut I quickly learnt the difficulities of learning a language once we surprassed the easy stuff and got into grammar and verbs. Even though this was a language I wanted to learn, it still took lots of practice and studying. Learning a language is a whole lot easier when you’re passionate/motivated to learn it, but that doesn’t mean it no longer takes any discipline and focus.

The language that I’ve been studying hard for the past year is Korean. My passion for the Korean culture started in high school when I fell in love with Kpop and then Kdramas later on.

I found myself often going ‘it’d be nice if I could watch or listen to this stuff without subs!’ But I always dismissed that I’d ever be capable of pickibg up the language. Until one day, I finally picked up a text book from Chapters and a new notebook and told myself to just give it a shot!

I’m better at understanding than I am speaking but I quickly picked up Hangul (Korean alphabet) and can hold a basic conversation plus a bunch of mis-matched words were added to my vocabulary xD One day hopefully, I can put it all together hehe! I better if I want to visit Seoul eventually :3

So, learning languages, while not a new thing to me is something I always have to work at. It’s like working a muscle.

Here are my tips for you!ย 

1. Write and read, repeat!

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I know not all people learn by writing something down but I definitely do and it really helped me learn the Korean alphabet.

2. Dive into the pop culture! (Watch tv shows, listen to music, etc)

This is literally the next best thing to speaking to others in the language, I think! Immerse yourself into the culture by listening to music, watching tv shows or – if you’re able to – read books! It totally depends on what you’re into but I personally love binge watching shows and Dramafever.com easily became one of my favorite sites I watch Korean shows!

Recently, I got REALLY into a netflix original called Terrace House and it’s basically about a bunch of young people movie into a Hawaii beach house. I had no idea when I clicked ‘watch’ that it was a famous Japanese reality show but I related with the cast so much that I started really getting into it! Now I’m super interested in tackling Japanese in the near future! ๐Ÿ™‚

You can also turn something you already know and love into a lesson! If you’re into games, switch your consoles language. Buy novels in that language if you’re a book worm. Change the language of your favorite movie? The possibilities are endless!

3. Converse with native speakers of the languageย 

If you’re lucky enough to have friends or parents who speak the language, practicing speaking is a sure fire way to learn quickly!

4. Quiz yourself

Make cue cards and keep a notebook handy…also a ton of highlighters! My Korean notebook is the most colorful notebook I’ve ever colored xP There are also a ton of resources online if you can’t quiz yourself or don’t have a willing friend/family member! There are a bunch of handy apps and webs that will quiz you if you look for them ๐Ÿ™‚

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5. Use sticky notes and dictionaries!ย 

While knowing a language takes way more than simply becoming a walking dictionary, carrying one around is a good idea! You’re more likely to remember words or phrases that are important to you. For example, When I grabbed a mini Korean dictionary, the first things I looked up were ‘Writer’, ‘Boyfriend’ and how to say ‘I have a headache!’ Because I get really bad migraines.

Also…I may shamelessly know how to order coffee in like, 4 different languages xD PRIORITIES!!

6. Study consistently!ย 

Buy textbooks/workbooks at your local book store, download pdfs & audio files (many are free by the way!) and watch Youtube videos if you don’t have access to an actual class. While it was more stressful for me to learn Italian in a matter of weeks with marks at stake, taking a class is a great way to learn. Plus, having a good teacher means an infinite well of answers to your questions. Community classes might actually be a better idea than taking a school class since marks aren’t an issue! Pencil in a part if your day, a few times a week – in short, make the effort and the time!

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7. Immerse yourself in the culture

Obviously, this isn’t an option for a lot of people, but the best and quickest way to master a language is to immerse yourself in it. I learnt French because it was more or less vital to my grades and my future if I chose to stay in Montreal. If you take a holiday or move to the country that speaks your language, you’re way more likely to practice without even trying to and eventually become a pro. Like I said though, moving is drastic! A smaller step would be to go to authentic restaurants that serve cuisine relative to the language and try to converse with the staff ๐Ÿ™‚ For example, go to a China town, Little Italy, that sort of thing!

And there you have it – all my tips for learning a new language ๐Ÿ™‚ I know the topic is kiinda random but I hoped this post helped anyone who is trying to learn a new language or is passionate about linguistics like me!

What languages can you speak? Any you wish you knew? Let me know in the comments down below!

Goodnight everyone!

-Mel xx

37 thoughts on “My Passion for Learning Languages (+Tips On How To Pick Up Languages Quickly!)

  1. I wish I had kept up with my language studies. Back in the day, you could take whatever electives you wished in high school, and I studies three languages (Spanish, Latin, German). I took more German and Latin classes in college too. I loved learning them. Great post with so many good tips.
    Sam @ WLABB

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have some great tips! I keep getting weirded out by the parallels in our lives, lol. I’m a linguistic student, so naturally I’m obsessed with languages and learning language. I’d say the reading/writing factor are definitely some of the most important components to learning a language. It’s honestly really hard for anyone over age 10 to learn a second language, however, simply because our language acquisition systems kind of shut down. Your brain actually has to re-recognize whatever language your learning as a language before you can be fluent ๐Ÿ™‚ Are you fluent in Italian now? You may have some advantage to the language simply because you’ve been exposed to it from a young age… early exposure is actually the most helpful factor when it comes to learning an L2 in my opinion.
    Also, it’s so freaking cool that you grew up in a bilingual city! You’re lucky, haha. I live in Kansas, USA, and I rarely interacted with any speakers of languages other than English when I was growing up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha it’s definitly cool to be able to connect with others here! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s so awesome that you’re into linguistics – my mom studied it when she was in college but gave up her second semester because she couldn’t grasp German xD I though hard about it too but decided literature much better suited me! Like I said in the post, I didn’t appreciate the bilingualism when we were forced to study it but now that there’s no pressure, I realize more and more in everyday situations that I know the language better than I thought, if that makes sense xD
      That totally makes sense about the age being a huge factor! Apparently I was fluent as a child and when my mom talks on the phone, I can understand everything, but speaking it is much more difficult! Also, because I’ve been studying Korean so much harder, I know a lot more of that language than I do Italian at this point :p
      What languages can you speak so far and which were your favorites to learn?
      Thanks so much for the comment ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I only speak English and Spanish fluently! I think I’m going to try to tackle Japanese next, it’s quite different from the two that I already know, and really complex in interesting ways. I greatly enjoy the romance languages (french, italian, spanish, portuguese), but also languages like Arabic are very fascinating. Thankfully at my university we don’t have to be multilingual for a linguistics degree, we just have to have an understanding of the universal rules that guide all languages. It’s actually much easier to understand a second language when you’re able to systematically analyze it from a linguistic basis.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thats true! I had confidence learning verbs in Italian would be easy since it was similar to the way French verbs conjugate but every language is different in it’s own way! Goodluck with your studies! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow thats cool! Mandarin is the third most popular language here in Montreal so I thought of taking a class but got intimidated ๐Ÿ˜ฎ its really lucky you have someone to practice with! Thanks so much for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always want to learn new words but I really hate it when it comes to grammar.Hahahah it is quite funny because my language Albanian is one of the hardest to learn .I am very good in English and I can understand Italian but not speak it well.However this post reminded me I need to start practicing it again. ๐Ÿ˜ธ Thanks for the reminder

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow if you can do the hardest language then I bet you can learn anything else easy xD I know! Words are the fun part but grammar and verbs are tough! Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

      1. Hey Melissa , I know it has been a while but I scrolled through my notifications to find this perticular one.The reason is why I did all of this to thank you.Thank you so much! I don’t know why but your reply made me take action and I have to say I have improved alot in italian since we last talked.Thanks for giving me the motivation I needed.
        โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜˜ All the best.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I wish I could speak Italian! I have learnt a lot of Spanish. I came across this Youtube channel that teaches you in different sections and they get you to write everything down, as well as say it out loud. This has inspired me to get back into it. I nominated you for an award as well but don’t feel any pressure to accept. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

      1. I had a look and the channel is literally called: Learn Spanish. If you type in Youtube – how to learn Spanish and then scroll down until you see a blue screen with the title Level 1 Lesson 1. Let me know if you find it. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m learning Korean, and I agree with you– immersion (even if only in the pop culture through media) is a great step into learning another language. ๐Ÿ˜Š Listening to KPOP and watching many dramas helps to become familiar with the basic sounds of the language, including some common interjections and phrases. I have also been writing in Korean (ํ•œ๊ธ€), which helps me remember what I learned and provides an excellence reference tool. I only wish I could speak with a native speaker or someone else who has learned Korean! I’ve been thinking about trying an app like HelloTalk… have you used any apps for speaking to native speakers of Korean?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Awesome post with great tips! โค I’ve been studying English for more than 9 years now and I really enjoy it. From next year, I’ll be studying German intesively too and I can’t wait to dive into it! ๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. WOW Glad that Korean language and K-culture are loved by many ppl around the world! I’m from Korea!! kk I read your music posts and found that you like BTS. BTS is one of my favorite too ๐Ÿ™‚ If you have any questions regarding Korean or want to practice it, feel free to ask me!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s awesome, thanks so much for the offer ๐Ÿ˜€ BTS is amazing!! I support what they’re doing so much and all of the boys are so talented…I really hope they come to Canada…Or I can afford to go to Seoul :p

      Like

  8. Wow, nice one! Every language-learner should read this ๐ŸŒธ I have recently started teaching my native language.
    ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ธ ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐—บ๐˜† ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ผ ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—–๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฒ:
    https://unpluggedcreations.com/2017/07/31/creole-greetings-i/

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am trying to learn Russian. I think it is a good moment because I am surrounded by native speakers in my daily life. It has been quite hard, but I agree with all your tips! Very nice post ^^

    Liked by 1 person

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