Updated: Apr 14, 2021
It’s that time of year again! While everyone says they want to learn a new language for their New Year’s resolutions, you’re already on that path. So how do you keep the ball rolling? With New Year’s resolutions for language learners, of course! And we have just the list.
Here are five New Year’s resolutions for language learners that are not only perfect for making your language practice more efficient, but fun too.
Try Something New
Learning a new language is all about trying out new things, especially things within the culture of the language you’re practicing. Understanding the culture will help you better understand the language. Or, at the very least, it will help you understand French humour, phraseology, and will nourish a more intense interest to expand your vocabulary. So the first of your New Year’s resolutions for language learners should be to try something new once a month!
Your ‘new thing’ could be a new food, a new game, or a television show, to name a few examples. If you’ve got a pal who is learning the language with you, why not get them involved? If they’re not in your support bubble, choose a recipe and cook it simultaneously with the help of Skype or Zoom. Or get one of your family members in on it to reconnect and bond after a tough year.
Read One Book a Month
If you’re not up for trying a variety of new things just yet, why not stick with a book that you’ve never read before? Try reading one French book a month. Much like the next item on this list of New Year’s resolutions for language learners, reading will help you expand your vocabulary, embrace the culture, and give you a stronger grasp of grammar and sentence structure.
Start with books for beginners and slowly move up. While reading kids books may be frustrating at first, you’ll get such a wonderful sense of satisfaction and success when you’ve finished it that you won’t mind after all. And who knows? One day you may be reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne in the original French!
Pick Up a Pen Pal
What’s the number one way to learn a language? Practice, practice, and more practice! That’s why getting a French pen pal should be high up on your list of New Year’s resolutions for language learners.
Language practice is more effective if it’s with a fluent speaker. Of course, tutors and groups like our Ted-Ed program are really useful, but if you’re looking for just a bit extra, why not try a pen pal? This will immerse you in another kind of written communication to round out your skills. And pen pals will connect you with those in other parts of the globe. What better way to learn about day-to-day French culture than by bonding with someone in France?
Set Achievable Goals
When you’re working towards fluency, achievable monthly goals are one of the most important New Year’s resolutions for language learners. Things like goal journals are useful for tracking not just your goals but also your progress. You can also track which areas of struggle with quick (or detailed!) notes about how you got on with achieving each of your listed goals.
However, ‘achievable’ is the other really important aspect of this. Many people make the mistake of setting goals that are too high. You want to combine confidence in your abilities with reasonable expectations about what’s doable. When you set achievable goals and then are successful, this boosts your confidence and your motivation to keep trying. Keep your work load from school or your job, personal obligations, and the unpredictable state of our world in mind when creating your goals.
Practice in Front of the Mirror and Record It
Did you know that actors and public speakers will often practice in front of a mirror to see how their face and mouth move? They’ll even record it and listen back to catch pronunciation! These tricks are really handy for learning a new language too.
Once a week practice new phrases and words you’ve learned while looking in the mirror. You’ll be able to see how your mouth moves when forming the words properly, helping to engrain the right pronunciation. Record yourself while you do this, and you’ll be able to hear whether or not you’re pronouncing the words correctly. Keep the recordings to track your progress. As you improve, you’ll be able to remind yourself how far you’ve come, increasing your confidence and motivation.
Best of luck with your resolutions! We believe you can do it.
We hope every one of our students and their families and loved ones had a wonderful holiday season. We’re looking forward to welcoming each of you back and helping you keep your New Year’s resolutions!