It’s never too late – or too early for that matter – to learn a new language. Like any new skill, mastering a foreign language takes time and practice. Don’t let a busy life deter you. Try a few of these fun study tips to help keep you motivated while you learn to speak Mandarin Chinese.
Save the Date
Learning a foreign language is a commitment. Decide when you’ll schedule study times, just like you did when you were in school. You did study, right? If not, this is an excellent time to develop good study habits. Schedule study sessions on a calendar, your laptop, or a cell phone. Writing them down makes it more likely that you’ll honor the commitment.
Set an Alarm
Start your day with language learning. You don’t even have to get out of bed. If you have a smartphone that lets you use custom alarm ringtones, this is the perfect way to wake-up. Create some voice memos with the new Mandarin words you’re learning. Use the memos as your alarm ringtones. Can you think of anything better than waking up to Mandarin Chinese? Be careful – you might find yourself hitting “snooze” several times.
Be a Night Owl
Are you an insomniac? Take advantage of those sleepless hours to practice your language skills. A 2016 study found that practicing foreign-language vocabulary at night, just before dozing off may help you better retain what you’ve learned. The key to this is to make it a regular bedtime activity. Repeated practice and sleep has a positive effect on long-term retention. Combine your night owl tendencies with early morning vocabulary practice and you’ll be talking like a native in no time.
Make Flash Cards
Flash cards are an economical yet practical study tool. Toss your flashcards in your backpack or laptop bag. Wow, friends and co-workers with your new skills. Ask people to test you – just like you used to do in grade school when you were studying for a spelling test. Put a few flashcards in places where you’re sure to see them. The bathroom mirror. Your pillow. The steering wheel. A sneaky way to study, indeed.
Take a Break
Bet you didn’t know that 75% of smartphone owners admit to using them in the bathroom. Now that puts a whole new twist on those 15-minute breaks your employer is required to give you. Fifteen minutes is plenty of time to study a few Mandarin grammar structures. When you think about it, instead of boring your co-workers with the usual one-sided conversations heard in break rooms and employee bathrooms, download a Mandarin app and practice vocabulary. Can you think of a better way to maximize break time?
While learning Mandarin, or any other language isn’t easy, using lack of time as an excuse not to start just doesn’t work. Try a few of these tips and see if you don’t find time in your day to study. Good luck! 祝你成功