How to Learn a Language

 Ten Good Ways to Learn a Language

1. Spend time in the language –  Listen, read, write, speak and learn new words and phrases in the language you want to learn.  Seek out materials and situations in the language that you find interesting and enjoyable.

2. Listen and read daily, even if you just have time for the Word of the Day in your e-mail.  Listen to and read things you enjoy in the language such as songs with printed lyrics on YouTube and movies with subtitles.

3. Study vocabulary – When reading or listening to the language, write new words and phrases in a small notebook that you can keep with you.  Study them when you have spare time in the day.  You can also make flashcards on notecards or online with programs and apps such as Anki.

4. Relax and enjoy yourself.   Play games, look at art, and find music you enjoy from the country of the language you want to learn. Music can have a powerful role in language learning helping with pronunciation and grammar while also appealing to the senses. Listen and sing along.

 5. Language classes – Classes can provide structure and motivation for your language learning.  You have the benefit of a teacher’s instruction, support and feedback and other students with whom to practice the language in a fun way.   Community colleges such as Wake Tech and churches such as Forest Hills Baptist Church offer free ESL classes.  Wake Tech also offers foreign language classes at night for adults. The Triangle Language Institute offers customized classes at convenient times and locations.

6. Private tutor – Learning a language with a private tutor gives you personalized instruction, support and feedback.  The teacher can devote undivided attention to you and your language learning needs.   The Triangle Language Institute offers high quality, private tutoring in person as well as online tutoring via Skype.

7. Audio programs – Living Language and Pimsleur CDs are great to listen to in the car or uploaded on a portable device.  They may be available to check out at your local library.

8. Computer programs and cell phone apps –  Some people enjoy learning with computer programs such as Livemocha.  You can also learn languages on your cell phone using language learning apps such as Duolingo and Mindsnacks.

9. Language exchange – Find a native speaker of the language you want to learn who wants to learn your language.  Many sites such as Babbel and Livemocha can help you find language exchange partners. See if there is a local Meetup group for your target language.  Practicing with friends who speak the target language is great for your language learning.

10. Immersion –  Learning a language in a country where it’s spoken is very effective.  You have the opportunity to be in the language all day, not just in class.  You also have the benefit of meeting the locals and enjoying the culture.


To find out more about how to learn a language and to start learning a language today, contact Pam at the Triangle Language Institute (919) 714-9007.

I love learning languages and always have.  I started learning French and some Spanish in elementary school and continued through college.  My family hosted exchange students and I was an exchange student to Mexico.  In college I went on a mission trip to Haiti and studied abroad in France.  Later I studied and was a nanny in France.  I began teaching languages in Raleigh, North Carolina and continued learning languages – Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Italian – at NCSU.  I’ve lived in Ecuador, Brazil, Italy and other countries teaching English and/or traveling while studying languages and culture.  I have met wonderful people all over and am so thankful for the opportunities that have opened up as a result of learning languages.” – Pam Davis

See Pam Davis on LinkedIn


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