5 Important Language Learning Tips

5 Important Language Learning Tips

In the summer of 2013, I had to pick a foreign language to study. It was partly for my schoolwork, but it was also simply for pleasure.

At first, I desired to learn French, so I got the resources that I needed to do so. But I quickly realized that the most worthwhile choice for me would be to learn Spanish – and I’m so glad that I made the decision to switch!

In these past three and a half years, I’ve tried out different programs, played language learning apps, and watched educational videos. With my [pretty limited, haha] knowledge, I have come up with a list of 5 important language learning tips for anyone learning a new language. Whether you just started, or you’ve been learning for years, I’m sure that at least one of these tips can help you. I hope you enjoy!

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1. Memorize verb conjugation. I can’t say that I have this one down myself as of yet, but it’s still very important to do! Depending on the verb and the language, conjugation has different forms, but I found that after choosing a single verb (I selected ‘ir’; Spanish for ‘to go’) and memorizing its endings, I am now more easily able to remember other Spanish verbs. It isn’t foolproof, but it does help me to quickly be able to recall those pesky conjugations.

2. Learn as much as you can, as often as you can. Depending on how much time you desire to put into this, your personal preferences will determine how quickly you progress. For example, I’m choosing to only learn Spanish through free apps for the time being, so as I feel inspired, I complete lessons. It isn’t much, but I’m still getting to daily interact with Spanish. Just remember that the more exposure you have to the new language, the faster you’ll learn!

Related Post: About My Passion for Spanish + The Best Language-Learning App!

3. Try to relate new words to words you’re already familiar with. I’m not able to do this very often, but when I can, it is very helpful! For example, the word for ‘cold’ in Spanish is ‘frĂ­o,’ which looks a lot like our word ‘freeze,’ which relates back to ‘cold’! That makes it so much easier for me to remember.

4. Use your knowledge to create your own sentences. I’m not talking about the sample sentences they have you memorize on educational apps – however, those are helpful! I’m talking about using what you know of the language you’re learning and making your own sentence/s. For example, tengo un perro. I don’t actually, as a matter of fact, but that was just to show you a sample sentence – one that I didn’t memorize, but can create with what I know of Spanish. 😂

5. Be optimistic! Depending on why you’re learning a foreign language, you may either be enjoying the learning process, or absolutely despising it. If you are enjoying learning, that’s awesome! But whether you’re required to do this, or not, try to be as optimistic as possible; everyone has a unique way of learning, and everyone learns at different speeds. Just because you’re not progressing as fast as you think you should be, or as a fast as someone else is, doesn’t mean that you’re not doing beautifully.

Are you interested in learning a completely new language, or picking up where you left off on one you know a bit of? I recommend checking out the apps (not sponsored) Duolingo and Memrise. Both are available for FREE in the App Store, and Memrise has its own website, as well!

Thanks for reading!

What are YOUR language learning tips? Share them down below!

— Maggie

How To Take AWESOME Photos With Your iPhone

How To Take AWESOME Photos With Your iPhone

Technically, I’m not a photographer. I don’t use a camera to shoot any of my photos; I use my iPhone 5s. Therefore, what I really am is an iPhoneographer.

Over the past two and a half years, I’ve gotten pretty good at the simple art of taking great iPhone photos. I’d love to share my knowledge with you in 7 tips that are very important to remember on your own journey of taking pictures with your iPhone. đŸ˜ŠđŸ“±đŸ’„

{Master Your iPhone’s Camera Functions}

1. Always take photos full-size – avoid shooting in square mode! Crop later; most, if not all, editing apps have a cropping feature. It’s possible that you’ll regret only having square dimensions on certain shots if you ever decide to get them printed, framed, etc.

unfiltered; flower at an apple orchard

2. Turn off flash. I never use it, and I don’t recommend it; find light sources elsewhere. Plus, flash is blinding 😂

unfiltered; old picture of me being blinded by flash

3. Don’t use the photo filters that come with the camera. I’ve found that once I put those filtered photos onto my computer, the files become corrupt! Maybe it’s just my computer … either way, I think that edit app filters are prettier, anyway. 💕

filtered with Rookie Cam; my brother drawing with chalk
filtered with Rookie Cam; my brother drawing with chalk

4. Use the front-facing camera for all selfies. You don’t necessarily have to follow this rule/suggestion, but the quality of user-facing cameras of all phones are known for their poor picture quality. Save our eyes from fuzzy images; take photos with the outward-facing camera.

both filtered with Rookie Cam; outward-facing (left) selfie and user-facing (right) selfie

5. Learn how to use exposure. If you raise the exposure higher than auto (tap screen and slide up), that allows more light into the camera. You’ll get pictures like this:

unfiltered; trees in my backyard

If you lower the exposure so that less light enters the camera, you’ll get pictures like this:

filtered with Rookie Cam; my brother’s silhouette (pic taken at 4PM)

Different settings, different results. Experiment with both; you’ll soon learn what situations look best in high, low, and auto lighting.

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{3 Great Tips for Taking Awesome iPhone Photos}

1. Always be on the lookout for natural light. Phone cameras do best in natural lighting, which is why I’m always on the lookout for sunlight. Most shots taken outside or near an open window will turn out clearer and brighter than artificial-lighted photos, as long as there isn’t too much movement or direct sunlight. (If the sun is visible in the picture itself, the brightness of the picture might be overwhelming.)

unfiltered; my brother blowing bubbles

2. Tap to focus – always. Over the years, I’ve learned that auto-focus isn’t foolproof. Get in the habit of manually focusing – just tap the screen once where the subject of your photo is.

filtered with Rookie Cam; my sister laughing

3. Take as many photos as you can. iPhone camera shutter speeds aren’t very fast. (By the way, shutter speed is the amount of time between when you click and when the camera actually takes the picture.) That means that if you only take one picture, you’re not likely to have captured the moment exactly how you wanted it to look. I recommend taking tons of photos, even if they all look like duplicates from a distance. Once you’re done taking pictures, view each one up close, keep the good ones, and trash all the ones that didn’t turn out.

unfiltered; three very similar photos of my sister

Thank you so much for reading! If you’d like to see more tutorials, please comment below on what topics you’d like to see. For now, I’m planning on writing a post about my favorite editing app (Rookie Cam). 😄💕✹ ÂĄAdiĂłs!

— Maggie

About My Passion for Spanish + The Best Language-Learning App!

I’d like to start this post with a bit of honesty; I haven’t always had a passion for Spanish.

Yup. However, passions must start somewhere, right?

Initially, I really wanted to learn French; I’ve been fascinated by the language’s beauty for a long time. However, the ironic thing is, the same summer that I’d started learning the basics of French, I was also spending a lot of time over at a friend’s house whose mother only spoke Spanish. While there, I heard her talking to my friend and my friend’s siblings in a language I knew barely any of. In no time at all, I switched to learning Spanish, and thanks to the mini lessons my friend gave me on key words and different phrases I could say to her mother, a language I once wanted nothing to do with has been a big part of my life.

Looking back at that time of my life, it’s impossible for me to not see how the Lord was preparing me for my future. I had no idea at the time that I would be where I am today; dreaming of the day when I can serve Him in Guatemala. ❀ There’s hardly anything else that has strengthened my faith more than looking back and being able to see that God was taking care of me, even when I couldn’t see it.

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In the past few years, I’ve used different websites and other resources to learn Spanish. Some were free, some I had to pay for, but the only one that I highly recommend is an app/website called Memrise.

memriseI was browsing the App Store last week, looking for a new language-learning app that hopefully wouldn’t cost a lot of money to enjoy using. Memrise was one of the top results, so I got it, and I absolutely love it!

I’ve already memorized so many words! (Over 250, I think it was.) It’s not that I’ve spent the past week of my life playing Memrise, nor does it mean that I was speeding through it to get to the next level. Haha! (However, I’ve been guilty of both of those things in the past.) It was simply that Level One was a thourough refresher for me, as I already knew maybe 85% of the words. I didn’t learn very many new things, but it helped me to remember more easily the pronunciation and spelling of several words, which I greatly appreciate.

If you’d like, you can follow me on Memrise! My username is ‘dancingjoyfully.’

— Maggie