David Topolewski’s Language Learning Tips, Part 1

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David Topolewski, the CEO of Qooco, has a vision for the company to help individuals overcome difficulties in learning English and Mandarin. He has considerable expertise in language acquisition, and below he offers some tips for students of a new language.

Have a Reason for Wanting to Learn a Language

Learning a language is a long-term process that requires considerable work and effort. It is important to find a reason to keep working on the language; otherwise motivation will eventually die out. This reason can be a career goal, the desire to learn the language of a spouse or loved one, or some other factor that keeps you going through the difficult times.

Listen and Speak as Much as Possible

Before you start delving into the specifics of the language, spend some time listening to it. How do the sounds of the language compare to your own? Not all languages use the same cadences and pitch shapes. Everyone should spend some time listening to understand what the language should sound like before they attempt to speak it. Do not be afraid to speak. Practice speaking frequently. Frequent practice is critical to success in learning to speak a language.

Learn Phrases First, and Words Second

It is much more productive to learn entire phrases before focusing on individual vocabulary words. This approach will give you something useful right away, even if you only speak a few phrases. It will also help you learn the rhythms and cadences of the language. In addition, learning phrases takes the emphasis off of grammar, which can be unintuitive. Later, you can go back and learn how to put the individual words together.

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