My Top 7 Tips for Learning a New Language from Zero – Learn English with Camille

I’d like to share my approach to learning a new language from zero and some of my best tips and free resources and apps.

I’ve successfully learned and continue to study Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and French. Recently, I started learning Turkish, which is very different from the Latin languages I’m used to. I have compiled my TOP TIPS for learning a language from zero from my experiences.

Identify Your Motivation – What is your “WHY?”

When learning a language, it’s crucial to understand why you’re doing it. Ask yourself: “Why am I learning this language?” Motivation can fluctuate. Some days, you’ll be excited about learning, but other times you might feel like giving up. Knowing your reason can help you stay focused during challenging times.

For me, learning Turkish is part of my goal to become a polyglot. I aim to learn ten languages, and Turkish is my sixth. Additionally, I have Turkish friends and followers on Instagram, and my family plans to spend several months in Turkey next year. These reasons keep me motivated.

Start with the Right Mindset: A Positivity Mindset leads to success.

A positive mindset is essential when learning a language. Believe that you can do it. Positivity can make a significant difference. If you constantly doubt yourself, it will feel like a continuous struggle. Instead, approach learning with confidence and optimism.

Stay Disciplined – Emotions fluctuate but try to stick to a routine.

Motivation might waver, but discipline is crucial. Make the language a part of your daily routine. Incorporate it into various activities throughout the day. For example, I practice Turkish during my morning walks, watch Turkish series in the evening, and listen to Turkish podcasts in the afternoon. Consistent exposure is key to faster learning.

How Long Will It Take? – It depends on you!

The time it takes to learn a language depends on your daily study time. If you study for just five minutes a day, it will take much longer than if you dedicate two hours daily. Integrate the language into your lifestyle for the best results.

Where to Start? What language apps should I use?

I usually begin any language learning journey with apps. Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Duolingo: While it shouldn’t be your sole resource due to some odd sentences, Duolingo is great for beginners. It covers speaking, listening, and reading, and its repetitive nature helps reinforce learning. I’ve maintained a 1500+ day streak on Duolingo and find it invaluable.
  2. Mango Languages: This app offers 27 hours of Turkish lessons. It teaches Turkish from English, which is helpful for beginners. The app revisits previous lessons, ensuring that you retain what you’ve learned. If you are in the USA, many libraries offer this free.
  3. Pimsleur: Pimsleur focuses on listening and speaking. I’ve used it for Italian and French through my library app, Libby. It’s an excellent resource, although it only has one level for Turkish.
  4. YouTube: I watch a lot of YouTube videos, from beginner lessons to native speakers discussing interesting topics. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the language.

Writing and Speaking Practice

In the beginning, I prefer self-study with apps and write down phrases in my notebook to reinforce my memory. Once I feel more confident, I start speaking with native speakers using apps like HelloTalk and Tandem.

Combining Resources

Use resources that include both audio and written components. For example, Mango Languages has flashcards and memory games to complement its audio lessons. This helps with both listening and writing skills.

Recap: Key Tips for Language Learning

  1. Know your motivation.
  2. Maintain a positive mindset.
  3. Use apps and resources that you enjoy.
  4. Set clear goals.

For example, my goal is to study Turkish for three years and eventually feel comfortable speaking live on Instagram with native speakers. Break down your goals into manageable tasks, like aiming for 30 minutes to an hour of focused study daily: 10 minutes reading, 10 minutes listening to a YouTube Conversation, 10 minutes doing Duolingo exercises. Mix it up and identify your weak areas and create goals around them. Measure your ability by recording yourself every month. You’ll be surprised at your progress after a few months if you are consistent! If you do miss a day or two “get back up on the horse!” that is, keep going!

Share Your Tips

I’d love to hear your thoughts and what resources you use when starting to learn a language. Please share in the comments on my YouTube page!


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Camille Hanson

Hi friends! I'm Camille. I create engaging American English content for ESL people around the world. When I am not creating videos, books or blogs, you will probably find me in a cafe somewhere around the world, studying my next target language or at home cooking up food for my family of five. Stick around, read some posts and learn some English with me :) Tchau, ciao! ~Camille
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