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Becoming Multilingual: Study Strategies for the Language Learner

Learning another language has many benefits. Some researchers have discovered that being bilingual/multilingual is good for your brain; people who speak more than one language get dementia later in life than monolingual people (Muñoz). It is also good for your wallet because being bilingual can help you get a better paying job. Some other benefits of learning another language include making new friends, connecting with your community,  and easily traveling to other places.

Even though there are many benefits, the question many people have is how? Learning another language can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. This article tells about some great strategies to help you learn another language.  


You need to study. You can’t learn a language if you don’t study it. The more time you dedicate to studying, the quicker you will improve. Try some of these ideas:

  • take a class
  • take notes
  • review your notes
  • think about what you learned
  • dedicate time to studying
  • make flashcards
  • download the Studyblue app
  • download  and use Duolingo
  • put sticky notes with vocabulary words around your house  


Practice is key. You have to use what you learn so you don’t forget it. Practice will help you improve and get better at what you know. Try some of these ideas:

  • find people to talk to
  • talk to yourself in the language you’re learning 
  • keep a journal 
  • record yourself talking and listen for mistakes 
  • find practice websites 
  • take a class 
  • make an Italki account and chat with people ( 
  • set your phone to the language you’re learning 
  • watch Youtube lessons 




It’s important to train your ears to hear the language. The only way you can do that is by listening and listening and listening. The more you listen, the easier it will be to understand. You might not understand much at the beginning. That’s okay. You will eventually understand everything if you keep practicing. You can’t learn to understand if you don’t let your ears hear the language. Try some of these ideas:

  • listen to the radio 
  • find a podcast online that you like
  • watch a TV show with no subtitles 
  • call a friend who speaks the language you’re learning  
  • put on the radio, an audiobook, or the TV in the background while you do other things, so your brain can hear the language
  • listen to an audiobook 
  • write down words that you know when you listen 
  • listen for new words 
  • watch TEDTalks ( 
  • listen in the car 
  • listen while you clean 
  • listen to other people talking while you’re shopping 
  • listen, listen, listen 


Reading is a great way to improve in a new language. You can learn so much from reading. You get to see grammar in context, new vocabulary, spelling, and expressions. It can also be a really entertaining way to practice. Just find a really interesting book. Try some of these ideas:

  • find an interesting novel to read that you can’t put down 
  • make a Newsela account ( and read news articles. You can change the difficulty level. 
  • read online and use the clickable dictionary
  • keep a list of new words 
  • practice guessing the meaning of a new word from the context 
  • don’t translate every word you don’t know 

Be Patient, but be persistent

Young children don’t become fluent in their native language until after months of just listening, then months of babbling, then years of practice. Learning a language takes time. You will make many mistakes. You will be confused, and you will sometimes feel frustrated. But don’t give up. Be persistent. Keep trying. Don’t stop. You can do it. Try some of these suggestions to help you when you feel like giving up.

  • Don’t feel bad when you make a mistake because making a mistake is a part of learning another language 
  • make small achievable goals and celebrate your progress 
  • when you make a mistake, learn why you made it and keep working 
  • think about why you’re learning the language and the benefits of learning it

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