You were doing a little research and realized that learning a language is good for your brain. Maybe you did a little more research and realized that is also good for your career. Or maybe you love to travel and visit the less touristy parts of countries you visit. Whatever your reason for wanting to learn a language, you want to use the best method to start learning a language to advance at the best pace possible.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Think for a minute of how children learn to speak their mother tongue. They usually do not utter a word until they are at least 10 months old and more likely 1 year old. Language acquisition starts by listening. This is known as immersion, and constantly hearing the language you are learning is a part of that. Look for music artists that sing in your target language. Find tv shows that are produced in the countries that speak the language you want to learn. Look for podcasts or radio programs. Find movies that look interesting. For TV shows and movies, you can search on Netflix for whatever language you want to learn. Just type the language name in and you will likely have some suggestions of shows or movies that are either originally in that language or that have the audio or subtitles available in that language. For music, you can employ the same method on Youtube. You might have a little more filtering to do for that. Perhaps you could type “top bands in Germany” or something of the like.
Build Study into Your Schedule
Language learning is something you are adding to your life. It takes time. Like anything you need to do, you have to set time apart for it or it will not get done. Choose a specific time of day to serve as your language study time. Maybe you will get up a few minutes earlier. Or maybe do it while you eat breakfast. Perhaps you can do it for a few minutes before you start binge-watching your favorite show. Or even build it into your binge-watching time by changing the audio to your target language. You could also build language learning into your schedule by choosing to do it during a certain activity rather than at a specific time. For example, you could listen to a podcast while driving/riding to work. Or listen to some music in the target language while you do your workout. There are many ways to build language learning into your daily routine. Just choose the best one for you!
Download an App
While exclusively learning a language on an app will not result in language fluency, language apps are extremely effective in giving you a jumpstart to your language learning journey. There is a reason that Duolingo has over 100 million downloads in the app store. Part of the reason is that it is free. Another reason could be all the available languages. A major part of it is that Duolingo helps you easily gain ground in your language abilities. With 10 or 15 minutes a day, you will be able to increase your vocabulary and understanding of basic grammatical concepts in your language of choice. Perhaps you download Duolingo and realize that you want to download some other language learning apps to see what features they offer. If so, you can read more about the 5 most downloaded language apps here.
Meet with a Quality Language Teacher
There is a difference between a language tutor and a language teacher. A tutor is planning on simply supplementing the work you are already doing. A teacher plans on introducing new material to you and reinforcing it through practice. They will also assign work for you to do on your own to continue working on your newly learned skills. A quality teacher has materials prepared, course content that they use, and a lesson sequence that they follow. Searching for a quality teacher can be a struggle. While calling up the teacher who posted a sign on the side of the road may be convenient, it may not be the best method. Facebook marketplace could be another option or an Instagram search, but it may be best to find a teacher with a weathered language service dedicated to all things related to language learning.
Find Your People
There are a few ways to find your people, and there at least a couple different types of people you need to find. You need to look for fellow language learners. You can find them by searching for a language learning group on Facebook or visiting Meetup.com to find local meetups. That might involve a bit of a drive depending on where you live and the cultural diversity in your area. It might mean a day trip to the closest large city in your area. You could even make a weekend of it. Do a meetup, visit an authentic restaurant owned by native speakers of the language you are learning, and then go to the store they recommend for finding their favorite cookie from home. The next type of people you need to find as you learn a language are native speakers to practice with. You might find them on Facebook, Instagram, at an authentic restaurant, at a local traditional festival, or at a local meetup. Interaction with native speakers is absolutely necessary for your language learning.