Written by:
Aug 14, 2023

How to Learn a New Language

Learning a new language is an amazing adventure! It's a journey full of excitement, and definitely a lot of surprises. If you think about it, speaking a foreign language can open incredible doors for you, whether it’s impressing locals with your language skills or exploring exotic, far-away regions, the possibilities are almost endless.

But what is the best way to learn a new language? What are some things you do to help you learn and remember new words and what they mean? We’ll dive deep by giving you an overview of the opportunities you can have by learning another language, like making travel easier and cheaper, receiving some good points in the business world, or helping you on learning other things. 

We’ll also talk a little bit about traditional learning methods as well as some new-wave techniques of learning. We’ll introduce you to the power of role-playing a real-life situation, the benefits of gaming and blogging, the wonders of a pun, and the power of arts and comics as language-learning tools. But first, we must talk about other important factors as well.

Why learn a new language?

We’ve all heard before that learning and speaking a foreign language means such a great advantage that you must give it a try. But ever wondered what are the actual benefits of it? If you are still trying to convince yourself to embark on a language-learning journey, the following reasons might help you take the final step toward jumping straight into it.

1. Global Business Opportunities

airplane flying over famous historical landmarks

You can expand your professional horizons and open doors to new career opportunities by becoming multilingual. In today's interconnected world, businesses are eagerly looking for employees who can understand cultural differences and communicate with international customers. Speaking the language of your clients not only nourishes your relationships but also demonstrates your commitment to understanding and respecting their culture, giving you a competitive edge in the job market.

2. Next Level Travel Experiences

Traveling becomes an even bigger adventure when you have the ability to communicate in the local language. You'll find yourself immersing in the culture, making dear connections with locals, and discovering hidden spots off the beaten path. Understanding prices and bargaining in the local language can save you money and help you avoid tourist traps. Plus, you'll gain insight into local traditions and etiquette, which will help you enjoy your journey smoothly.

3. Brain Health and Flexibility

Learning a new foreign language is like a well-curated workout for your brain. Studies have shown that language learning boosts cognitive functions, such as memory, problem-solving, and creativity. It keeps your brain active, agile and even helps delay the onset of cognitive decline as you age. Be determined and show up at your mental workout of language learning, and guaranteed you’ll find yourself with a sharper mind and overall greater brain health.

4. New Perspectives

Language learning is a gateway to understanding different worldviews and understanding diversity. When you immerse yourself in a foreign language, you gain insight into the customs, traditions, and values of a whole new culture. This exposure boosts empathy and open-mindedness, enabling you to navigate multicultural interactions with respect and understanding.

5. Personal Growth

smiley person visualizing their dream selfes and being happy about it

Taking on the challenge of learning another language fosters your self-confidence and sense of achievement. As you go along your journey, you'll hit and celebrate milestones, which contributes to a positive sense of self-worth. Language learning also encourages patience, determination, and flexibility, helping you to tackle other challenges in life with fresh energy.

So, why wait? Set sail on your language learning journey and unlock a world of opportunities, exciting experiences, and personal growth. The advantages are endless, and the rewards are yours to harvest. Remember, language learning is not just about acquiring words; it's a path to discovering the beauty of diverse cultures and connecting with people on a profound level.

The Common Difficulties

Although learning a new language can be an exciting endeavor, it's not one without challenges. But that’s completely normal! Many language learners come across stumbling blocks along the way. Let's take a look at some of the possible difficulties and learn effective strategies to overcome them to keep your language learning journey on track.

1. Intimidating Grammar

Grammar, with its twisted rules and exceptions, is one of the most challenging aspects of language learning. But you don’t have to get intimidated by it, on the contrary, you should think of it as your ally. 

You surely speak at least one language on a native level, so you already have a great idea of how a language can be structured. From there, you only have to be strategic and start learning the basics first. Focus on commonly used sentence structures and essential grammar rules. Don't worry about perfection; it's okay to make mistakes. As you progress, your grammar skills will naturally improve, leading you to more advanced language patterns.

2. Pronunciation Puzzles

person is trying to solve a difficult puzzle

Mastering pronunciation may seem like an uphill battle, but practice and exposure are your best friends. Listen to native speakers, mimic their intonation, and focus on the sounds unique to the language. Use language learning apps and resources that offer audio exercises and interactive pronunciation practice. Over time, your ears and tongue will get familiar with the new sounds, and your pronunciation will become more natural.

3. FOMM aka Fear of Making Mistakes

One of the biggest roadblocks in language learning is the fear of making mistakes. This is understandable and only natural since none of us would like to come across as silly, disrespectful, or incorrect. But remember, mistakes are an essential part of the learning process. Think of them as opportunities to improve and grow. Native speakers appreciate your efforts to communicate in their language and are often encouraging. So, don't be shy; engage in conversations and you’ll become more confident sooner than you think.

4. Motivation Plateaus

It's normal to experience plateaus in language learning, where progress seems to slow down or stagnate. During these times, it's crucial to maintain motivation even if you feel less driven. If you set short-term achievable goals to track your progress and celebrate milestones, you can keep up your streak without too much effort. 

Seek out language partners or join language learning communities for encouragement and support. Engage with different forms of media in the target language to keep your interest alive. Your persistence and consistency are the keys to moving past those plateaus.

5. Persevering Through Challenges

The challenges of language learning can leave you feeling discouraged at times. When faced with difficulties, remind yourself of the reasons for learning the language. Keep your goals in mind and imagine all the incredible experiences that await you once you're fluent. Surround yourself with positive influences, such as language learning success stories, inspiring quotes, or motivational videos. Above all, be patient with yourself. Language learning is a long journey, but every step counts.

How long does it take?

two young people having a casual conversation about time

The question of how long it takes to learn a new language is like asking how long a river is—it can vary greatly! Language learning is a unique and individual experience, influenced by factors such as the complexity of the language, your dedication to learning, and the methods you use. We’ll introduce you to the 5 most important factors, but if you want to know more, check out our blog post on How long does it take to learn a new language.

1. Language Difficulty

Some languages are more challenging to learn for native English speakers, while others may share linguistic roots, making them relatively easier. For example, learning Spanish or Italian might be quicker for English speakers due to shared vocabulary and similar sentence structures. Conversely, languages like Hebrew or Thai, with different writing systems and tonal nuances, might require more time and effort.

2. Learning Environment

An immersive environment, where you use the target language regularly, can accelerate language learning. Access to high-quality language learning resources, like apps, textbooks, and online courses, also plays a vital role. Interactive apps, like Language Drops, cater to different learning styles and provide bite-sized lessons, making learning engaging and efficient.

3. Planning

Creating a study plan that seamlessly fits into your daily routine can be daunting. Striking the right balance between dedicating sufficient time for consistent practice and avoiding overwhelm is key. Consider your work, personal commitments, and other activities to identify the best time slots for language learning. Remember, it's alright to start small—short, focused sessions can be incredibly effective.

4. Consistency

three young people learning together and having fun

Regular study sessions and consistent effort play a significant role in the time it takes to learn a new language. Similar to the "10,000-hour rule," where focused practice is said to lead to mastery in any field, language acquisition benefits from dedicated and continuous improvement. 

Setting specific language learning goals, creating a study schedule, and incorporating diverse learning activities can help manage study time effectively. Consistency is key, and learners can stay motivated by joining language learning communities or finding study partners to enhance their language learning journey.

5. Previous Experience

Having previous language acquisition experience can speed up the process of mastering a new language. From well-curated study strategies to understanding grammar and vocabulary, previously acquired language skills become superpowers in your new journey. 

Learners also become masters of their own learning style, making the journey smoother and tailored to their preferences. Plus, if the new language has some similarities to the one they already know, it's like a secret shortcut to understanding. So, if you've got prior language learning experience under your belt, you've got a head start, and you'll be unlocking new linguistic abilities faster than you imagined!

9+1 Tips on How to Learn a New Language

After discussing all the great benefits of learning a new language and diving deep into the realms of difficulties, now it’s time to reveal some of the most effective ways to learn a new language. 

1. The traditional techniques

When embarking on a language learning adventure solo, these are some proven and popular learning techniques that learners usually try. These traditional methods may not involve a magic potion, but they sure are effective and time-tested. You can also easily wrap them around your own learning style.

First up, we have the classic "immersive listening" technique. Get yourself familiar with the target language by listening to podcasts, radio shows, or audiobooks. It helps you immerse yourself in the language's rhythm, pronunciation, and natural expressions. 

Next, let's dive into the world of movies. Grab some popcorn, lay back, and watch films and series in your target language. You'll be amazed at how your language skills improve as you follow the adventures on screen. 

And don't forget to talk! If you have a native speaker buddy around, don't hesitate to strike up conversations. Speaking with locals boosts your confidence, fluency, and cultural understanding.

2. Traveling

One of the coolest ways to learn a new language: travel! Linguists say there's no better way to learn than through complete engagement, so when you are in a country where your target language is spoken, you can learn the most. You won't realize your full language-learning potential until you're forced to use it. And when you're traveling, you can't just hide in a corner and not communicate. 

From reading street signs to ordering food or buying souvenirs, there are endless opportunities for you to flex your language muscles. It can feel a bit daunting to travel to a foreign country without feeling fully confident in your language abilities, but locals are usually super excited to meet someone learning their language. 

They'll be happy to show you around and teach you all the small things you need to get by. If you want to go hard-core, skip the major touristy spots and explore smaller, off-the-beaten-path locations to meet the locals and experience the real language in its most authentic form. And remember, every conversation is a chance to level up your skills, so just take a deep breath and say hi to everyone.

3. Try role-play

It's a super cool technique that lets you practice speaking in everyday conversations. It boosts your confidence, and fluency, and helps you see how far you've come. You'll get to test out different grammar points, like talking about the past or using formal speech. Plus, it's a great way to sharpen your social skills too—negotiating, interrupting, asking for help, and making small talk can all come in handy in a real-life situation. 

A role-play can be as simple or as fancy as you want. You can give orders, use gestures, or even exchange secret messages. And the best part is that the more you enjoy yourself during these acts, the more it’ll help with language acquisition. 

Let’s start with something simple, try grabbing a menu in your target language and pretend to be at a restaurant. You pick a dish you'd order, and then you look up in a dictionary what it actually means, and just like that, the names of those foods will stick with you! And not just that! You can also try and imitate the gestures and attitudes of the people you are mimicking, which will add to the experience and help you with memorization. 

By the time you visit that foreign land, you'll have an appetite for both the delicious local cuisine and the language itself.

4. Language Learning Through Art

young person writing a Japanese haiku on a canvas

Have you ever thought about using art to learn a language? It's a less known, but very powerful way to express yourself in the target language. You can try writing short stories, creating some fun sketches, or even composing catchy lyrics. 

You can also get to explore the cultural side of the language by diving into different art forms like painting, sculpture, or photography. How cool is that? You can attend art exhibitions or check out galleries featuring works from countries where your target language is spoken. 

And here's the bonus: while you're having fun being artsy, you're also soaking up new vocabulary and gaining fresh perspectives. It's like a two-for-one deal! You'll deepen your understanding of the culture and expand your language skills at the same time.

5. Reading comics

We talked about art before, and here’s another thing you can try. Comics and graphic novels can literally make language learning feel like a thrilling adventure. The colorful illustrations help you understand the words in context and help you make sense of the story even when traditional novels might seem a bit overwhelming. 

Also, comics are for everyone, no matter what level you're at. Whether you're a beginner or a language pro, you'll discover tons of new vocabulary and phrases in context. And since important words and phrases get repeated throughout the story, you'll find yourself reaching for that dictionary less and less. 

Another great thing is that comics give you a taste of less formal language. You get to see how the characters speak and how their personalities shine through the dialogue. 

But remember, comics only can’t really teach you a language, but they definitely bring joy and motivation to the learning process, and sometimes that’s all we need. Learning a language should never be boring or dull, and comics make sure of that!

6. Gaming

It's time to bring in the power of video games! It can be your secret weapon if your study routine feels flat or you're struggling to get motivated. Look for video games that turn learning into a playful adventure. These awesome games combine language learning with cool gameplay, making it interactive, engaging, and downright fun. 

You'll be deep in the action, exploring virtual worlds, interacting with virtual characters, and earning virtual rewards. And guess what? You'll be doing all of this in your target language (once you switch those game language settings, of course). It's like being immersed in a language-learning wonderland where you learn by doing, receive instant feedback, and keep your brain guessing, trying, and thinking creatively. How? 

Well, even in games with complex stories or endless choices, you'll encounter recurring words and phrases as you play. The game's main themes, key characters, and events will keep popping up, helping you memorize vocabulary with the power of repetition. The more you play, the more familiar you become with the language used. 

And the bonus?  Gaming can help you make real-world friends too! Many games offer online features where you can connect with fellow players while having a blast. Plus, you'll have a cool common interest to chat about with friends or even Internet strangers on forums and websites.

7. Blogging or vlogging

computer screen with different virtual background images

That’s right, create a language learning blog or vlog! It's like a personal diary where you share your language-learning journey with the world. You can document your progress, share your favorite resources, and give insights in the target language which will definitely hold you accountable. And that's not all! 

When you start a blog or vlog, you join a vibrant community of language learners like yourself. And even though putting yourself out there might sound a bit nerve-wracking at first, it's not as scary as it sounds. Once you push past that initial hesitation, you'll discover that it's a chance to overcome your fears and show the world what you're capable of. 

By sharing your progress on social media, you'll conquer the fear of speaking a foreign language in public. Your videos might even attract a whole new audience of language enthusiasts who will cheer you on and become your virtual language-learning buddies. Plus you can hit two birds with one rock because posting videos on platforms like YouTube or TikTok means picking up cool new video editing skills as well!

8. Trying out humor

You can spice up your language-learning journey with some humor, which is an awesome way to keep the fun alive every step of the way. You can try and make some jokes in the language that you are learning. Jokes are amazing teaching techniques because they can make you feel more comfortable with the language and unleash your maximum learning potential. 

Sometimes, non-native speakers shy away from humor because they're afraid of making mistakes, but cracking jokes is an excellent way to boost your self-confidence. How? 

Well, most jokes play with idioms, puns, and other forms of figurative language, so the more you use these in your conversations or hear them from others, the more new words and phrases you'll remember. A good joke works wonders as an ice-breaker. It can help you start a conversation, ease the potential pain of an awkward silence, or lighten up a situation. And when you hear people laughing at your jokes, you’ll immediately feel more confident.

Jokes can also help you understand the way people think in their native language and how they use it. Basically, learning and telling jokes is like getting a VIP pass to understand native speakers and their sense of humor. 

9. Brag about it

Seriously, it's one of the best ways to memorize new information. Let's say you stumble upon a hilarious expression or a mind-boggling tongue-twister in your target language. Don't keep it to yourself! 

The next time you hang out with your friends, bust out that newfound knowledge and share it with them. Trust me, it'll spark some fun conversations and make your language-learning journey even more exciting. Plus, who doesn't love impressing their pals with some cool foreign phrases? Go ahead, spread the linguistic love!

10. Language Learning Games and Apps

We mentioned video games before, but you can also try and explore language learning apps that provide a gamified approach to learning. These tools make language acquisition entertaining and engaging, helping you stay motivated and on track.

We all know learning a foreign language takes a lot of practice and that's where learning apps come into the picture. They offer a convenient way to create a balanced and regular language practice. With just a simple download to your mobile device, you can start your language-learning journey, and what’s best is that it's often free! 

These apps are obviously different from regular tutors, but don’t let that scare you. They've got you covered for easy, engaging, and bite-sized lessons and regular, repeated practice. Their gamified approach can help you stay motivated, and before you know it, you'll find yourself coming back for more language-learning adventures each day.

Whatever method you try, the main thing to remember is that you can and you should experiment and find what works best for you. We all have different language learning goals and preferences, so it’s only natural that the way we approach and tackle them is also very different. Embrace your uniqueness and select the options you find the most effective and sustainable for you. If you are curious about other factors on how to learn a language on your own, check out our blog post on the link. 

young person learning a new language with Language Drops

+1 How Drops can help users to learn and memorize new words

Now that we’ve seen some great tips for language learning and how to personalize them, we have an absolute game-changer in our pocket that might reshape your whole experience with previous foreign language learning. 

In this final section, we’ll introduce you to Language Drops, a language learning app that elevated gamified learning to the very next level. We’ll reveal all the great features Drops has to offer for you to make language learning faster and more efficient. 

  • Drops is packed with features that'll seriously level up your language game. First off, Drops has got you covered with over 45 languages to choose from. You can pick almost everything from the classics to those lesser-known gems to endangered languages like Ainu or Te reo Māori. Whether you're a language enthusiast or just want to give a few new ones a try, Language Drops has got your back.

  • Once you’ve downloaded the app and selected the target language, you can choose from an extensive list of well-curated topics that are actually useful in real-life situations. Thinking about going out on a date? Or playing board games with your friends? Doing a presentation at work? Drops is on your side! These fun and useful topics ーorganized into thought-through units and categoriesー can help you easily find what’s interesting for you and support you with additional context you’ll need for your language learning to be successful. For more details, see this post about Drops’ curated language lessons

  • And it’s not just the words in context that will help you on your journey. With the awesome visuals and interactive exercises Drops is a super slick way to improve your skills in no time. You can conquer challenges, unlock new content, and keep track of your streak in a user-friendly and visually appealing environment.

  • The creators of Drops also understand that we're all busy people, so they've come up with the genius idea of bite-sized lessons. They provide you with short and sweet language sessions that you can do in just a few minutes a day. It's perfect for when you're on the go or just want to squeeze in your daily language learning during your lunch break. It's the ultimate time-friendly approach.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your phone, download Drops, and let the language learning adventure begin! Trust me, you won't be able to put it down. Happy learning!


In conclusion, language learning is a rewarding endeavor that comes with its share of challenges. Embracing these difficulties as opportunities will help you on your way with your growth and learning. In the realm of language learning, challenges are ever-present, and perfect timing is a critical factor in creating a study plan that harmonizes with your life.

Support from your surroundings as well as teaching resources like Language Drops will help you navigate these difficulties and thrive on your language-learning adventure.

Stay motivated, seek support, and celebrate your progress. With persistence, dedication, and a positive mindset, you'll unlock the true magic of language and connect with people from diverse cultures.

Zita Palik is a Hungary based Language Content Manager and an 80's music maniac.

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