December 20


5 Exercises for Better Language Learning

By Katharina Rucker

December 20, 2016

Would you like to learn a foreign language? These five exercises will boost your learning progress immediately!

TIP: Most exercises require a brain-friendly learning course. Fortunately, you can adjust the exercises a bit so that they fit in with other language learning material, as well.

No 1: Karaoke Exercise

Listen to a text passage on loop. Listen to the native speakers in the movie and read along the word-by-word translations in your native tongue. Concentrate on the second line only (the translations). The word pairs are highlighted in sync with the speakers – just like a karaoke player.

With this exercise, you will intuitively learn:

  • The meaning of the words (instead of cramming vocab)
  • The grammar of the foreign language (how to use words in context)

Repeat the text passage regularly until you understand approximately 85% of all words. Then, move on to the next passage/lesson.

No 2: Background Listening

With this exercise, you can start to speak the language yourself. Play the movies with the native speakers (same text as at exercise 1) audible in the background. Don’t concentrate on it! Instead, move on with your daily activities. Your brain creates the nerve paths needed to speak a foreign language perfectly. You will get used to the new noises, melodies and rhythms.

No 3: Decoding Exercise (Optional)

Decoding means decrypting. A foreign language should be segmented into little parts when studying – this way, you discover the language and come to better understand context.

This is how it works:

Down below, you see a French sentence that is decoded into English. Decades ago, Vera F. Birkenbihl of Germany made use of this method. Researchers now know that decoding the language as closely to the mother tongue as possible is more effective (including conjugations, cases, articles etc.).

J’ai                   été                    à          l’école               en         Allemagne.

I have            been                  to        the school            in          Germany.

By decoding the text (it is best to decode the same text you used for exercise 1 and 2), you further your knowledge and language skills. Furthermore, it is like a small test you do for yourself – how much did you retain?

No 4: Chorus Exercise

Speak “in a chorus” with the native speakers. This way, your brain detects the differences between your pronunciation and the native speaker’s. If you want to be able to speak perfectly, this exercise is a must.

When using the brain-friendly language courses, you can easily do these exercises by starting a lesson and reading aloud with the native speaker. Turn down the volume of the native speaker gradually, a little more with every repetition. After some time, you will not need the support of the native speaker anymore.

No 5: Writing

Would you like to be able to write in said foreign language? Write down the sentences you have used for the other exercises. If you learn languages that use a different writing system (like Chinese or Russian), this exercise is of the utmost importance. This way, you can visualize the symbols and words.

Do you already know the foreign language quite well? For advanced learners, we recommend writing down a short imaginary story – it would be best to center the story around the topic of the text you used in exercise 1-4.

TIP: Repeat everything at least three times. Why? Click here to read more.


Katharina Rucker

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