Tag Archives: language learning methods

Learning a new language? Make it an experience!

There is no denying the benefits that learning a new language brings in. A broader perspective, cognitive benefits, expansion of your cultural horizons, a boost to your CV, and so much more!

Learning a language is not easy. It requires constant effort and dedication. However, it wouldn’t be wrong in saying that learning a language has never been easier. Today, you can learn languages from the comfort of your home!

A few things, if done right, can transform the way you learn your next language. If we were to summarize it – don’t make language learning a new ‘task’ – let it flow with your daily life-style.

  1. Plan
    • Why do you want to learn a new language?
      Know your need before starting up a new course. Are you traveling? Are you taking up a new language with an aim to converse well? Is it for school? Is it for a professional reason? Are you dating someone who speaks another language?
      Knowing the need is essential to pick up the right learning plan. For example: If you truly want to start conversing in the new language, then just memorizing a few phrases is not useful.
    • How much time do you want to spend each day?
      This is less of a question and more of a check point – plan to spend some time each day. Learning a new language requires continuity. Having bouts of learning followed by long breaks causes loss in efficiency.


  2. Get the essentials right
    Memorizing a few phrases seems easy, but unless your purpose is just getting through a couple of days in a foreign country, just knowing a few phrases doesn’t help.
    So, get some essentials right. It might seem easier to start at the wrong footing but in the long run undo-ing all the ‘memorization’ techniques will take much longer than starting with the right base from the beginning :)

    • Know the grammar essentials to compose simple sentences yourself. ‘Maria want juice’ may communicate your purpose but sounds pretty unintelligent!
    • Learn basic pronunciation peculiarities – Knowing all pronunciation DOs and DON’Ts takes time, but get some peculiarities right from the start. You don’t want to be wishing ¡Hola! as H-O-L-A in Spain :)


  3. Listen-Read-Write…Speak!
    Alright, so now you have started your journey right…Great! The next step is to apply the learning in all possible forms – so listen, read, write, and speak!

    • Listen – Rather than reading from a book and decrypting pronunciation – just grab some audio lessons and hear the pronunciations! Include listening in your practice schedule – solve at least a few listening based questions every time you practice!
    • Write – Now you may question, I only want to learn how to speak the new language why should I write? Well, writing is different from ‘scripting’. Just ensure that your practice has some modules on listening and writing – you will catch so many of those small peculiarities while you write – something that are almost impossible in other forms of practice.
    • Read – Comprehension practice is another great way to see the essentials being put to use. When you read real-life examples and the usage of the words in context, you automatically build your vocabulary. Mugging up 1000 words is easy but it is just as easy to forget them. Hence, learning with context is very important.
    • And of-course speak! Speak, practice, make your mistakes and learn from them.


  4. Let it flow with your life
    As we said earlier, while dedicated effort is important, let language learning flow with your daily life.

    • Next time, try making your grocery list in the new language
    • Pick up some music in the new language
    • Watch a short movie
    • Try reading a news clipping
    • Talk to natives
    • Go to a restaurant that serves the local food

    Slowly, let the new language become a part of your routine and you’ll see how it grows on

  5. Embrace the culture!
    We cannot emphasize enough on the importance of understanding the new culture. If you are going to be living in or traveling to a new country or even conversing with natives – knowing a little bit about the culture will go a long way!
    Greeting norms, gifting norms, heritage, music, dance, movies – there is so much to know and why shouldn’t you!

So get on to the cultural voyage, pick up a new language and do it right!

Look who is blogging at the Alley!

It has been a few months since we launched CultureAlley’s beta and what a ride it has been! We have seen the highs and lows, but the one thing that has been constant is the love from our learners.

Yes, we read every single comment and every single email sent to us (and reply to most :) ) and we are overwhelmed with your support. While making the product and the interface better and more engaging for you is our top goal – we want to stay connected with you, share our story, and hear yours too. Over 200,000 people have studied at the Alley – Starting a blog is just a tiny step to connect with them and hopefully thousands more in the future!

For those of you who are new, CultureAlley was started with a clear aim – to make learning a new language simple – really, just that.
I have been a professional traveler, a backpacker, an exchange student; and I realize learning a new language can be difficult.

CultureAlley follows a simple rule while hand-crafting each lesson for you – we break down each concept into the most intuitive unit so you don’t have to ‘remember’ a phrase but understand how it is constructed. We want to enable our learners to have conversations – not become a phrasebook!

Here’s what our learners say and what keeps us going:

“Spent a year trying to figure Spanish out. 4 years later I have decided to try again and came across CultureAlley. Wish this was available 4 years ago, I would’ve carried it on. Thank you this is an amazing lesson!”

How do we do it?
We work with teachers, native speakers and students from across the world to develop our content. The content is highly conversational based on real situations one might need to use the new language in. It has just enough dose of grammar to get you going to frame your own sentences.

We realize vocabulary is important – but too much and you are lost in the world of flashcards! Our lessons cover just enough vocabulary to help you converse in real life contexts and become familiar with natives. Here’s a comment we received recently:

“My Mandarin vocabulary was so blank until I discovered your lessons! Now, instead of always replying with ‘Wo hen hao’ I can reply with so much more. You make it seem like I have a pretty good Mandarin vocabulary”

Once you master the concept and the context, we give you additional vocabulary separately as a reference and as per your learning needs.

The practice is action packed and understands where you err. It makes you re-do and revise just what you don’t get.

We are constantly working on adding many more innovative features to make language learning fun, engaging and an experience you’d want to go through again and again.

We’d love to hear from you on how CultureAlley can help you further! You can kick-off your cultural voyage here:
Learn Spanish for Free: www.CultureAlley.com/Spanish
Learn Mandarin for Free: www.CultureAlley.com/Mandarin

More to follow. Till then, See you at the Alley!