10 Easy Things You Don't Do When Learning a Language

10 Easy Things You Don’t Do When Learning a Language

When we are learning a language, we face numerous problems that slow down or stop our learning progression. I will only focus on 10 easy things you don’t do when you’re learning any language and how you can study and learn new languages in a more efficient way. This article is not specific to learning Turkish, you can apply the things I’ll mention to learning English or any other language.

Some of the main things I will mention include, what “language learning methods” you can use to study a language, the importance of “immersion” and “living the language”. We will also learn how to set “study goals” and make “a study plan” for your future learning purposes.

Last of all, I will provide you with many different course materials to support your language study adventure. I hope that by the end of this article, you will understand how to overcome some of the obstacles in your language learning adventure and speak any language more fluently.

Don’t Start With Big Goals

When you are studying a new language, the first thing you might do is focus on the vocabulary that you want to use, right?

For example, if you were in London and you wanted to buy some “eggs” from a supermarket, what would you say? Even if you didn’t know English that well, you could simply say “Eggs please?” to the supermarket staff and they would understand you and show you a selection of egg brands available for purchase. But wouldn’t it be better if you can make a correct sentence like “Excuse me, where can I get a dozen of eggs”?

The first thing you should do when you want to learn a language is to learn the vocabulary and the sentences, you will use the most in your daily life. You can start by learning Introduction Phrases like “hello”, “my name is Gökberk” and “nice to meet you”. You could also learn Greeting Phrases like “good morning”, “nice to meet you” and “bye”. Simple questions like “I want to buy eggs” or “How much is it?” and the answers to these questions will also be useful for you. In time, you will learn new vocabulary and you will be able to say more complex sentences.

The second thing you should focus on is your goals for learning a language. Why did you choose to learn Turkish? What are your short-term strategies with this language? Maybe your goal is to live in another country (like Turkey), travel the world or simply talk with a new foreign friend that you made online. Goals are really important when you’re trying to master the language itself.

I want to give you an example from my own experience. I have been studying Japanese for the last 7 years and I still believe that I have a long way to go. Before I started learning Japanese, I usually watched Japanese movies, Animes and TV programs with English subtitles. I wanted to understand what the characters were saying without having to look at the bottom of the screen for subtitles or listening to English dubbings. Now that was my final goal because I couldn’t even make a complete sentence in Japanese.

Before reaching my eventual goal, I made smaller goals like how to “introduce myself in Japanese”, “greet people”, “talk about my likes and dislikes” and “tell people why I wanted to study Japanese”.

It is always easier to accomplish smaller goals than simply trying to reach your farthest goal in one phase. You should first try making small and easy goals that you can achieve quicker. For instance, five small goals could add up to a medium-size goal and five medium-sized goals could add up to a single big goal. You can choose the size, the difficulty and name the goal however you like. In reality, this process never ends. When you reach one goal, you will create another big goal and follow the same process. This can be applied to everything that you do in life, not just learning a language.

I’ve provided an example Goals Chart for you to write down your goals so that you can see how your language learning adventure will unfold. You can access the full pack of documents provided in this article for free by subscribing to the Turkishaholic Mail List below.

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Now that you know how to visualize your goals and reach them, you now need to know the most used methods for learning a language.

The Two Most-Used Methods for Learning a Language

There are many ways to learn a new language, but the two most effective methods most people use are Self-Studying and Teacher-Aided Studying. Both these methods have their advantages and their disadvantages so it’s up to you to choose which is more suitable for you.

If you like studying on your own, you can choose the length, the pace of your lessons and the place of study to specifically suit your needs. Maybe you’re a person who can only focus on language learning for only 3 hours a week because you are too busy with your work or other responsibilities. On the other hand, maybe you can study more than 20 hours a week because you have more free time in your hands. Only you are responsible for the outcome of your study time. If you are a mentally dedicated person who achieves success by following their own rules and plans, this method could be the best solution for you.

Some people learn better when they study alone, but others may need additional assistance from a professional. Studying by yourself will be a lot harder because you have to be in control of everything and no one will interfere with your plans in any way. If you make a mistake, it may jeopardize your learning. On the other hand, learning a language with a teacher by your side may be more viable.

The most important difference in learning a language with the help of a teacher is that you will be the center of attention. Whenever you are stuck in a misunderstood grammar loop or want to practice your speaking skills, the teacher will always be there for you. Unlike self-studying where you have to search for the answer to a simple question for hours, the teacher will be able to answer it in seconds and make you fully comprehend it.

Want to seriously learn Turkish?

Do you want to seriously learn Turkish? Are you tired of searching for new website that teach Turkish? Then look no further!

With Turkishaholic’s Premium Membership you get access to many unique learning materials only available at Turkishaholic.

When you purchase a Premium membership, you account opens up to the Exercise Database, with more than 100 exercises to improve your Turkish. There are Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening exercises. You won’t find any Speaking or Listening exercises anywhere else!

With the Literacy and Communicate sections, you also get access to Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening specific materials to improve both your Written Turkish and Spoken Turkish.

This is just the tip of the surface. The best part is the full video courses teaching different parts of Turkish. It can be a full course on learning Turkish or a listening-specific course on improving your listening comprehension. 

So how much is Premium membership? 

  • You can try out Premium Membership for 10$ (one time payment) and use all the features of Turkishaholic for 30 days.
  • With Premium Plus at only 30$ (one time payment), you get 6 months of access to the all the features of Turkishaholic. You get 3 months free! (Normally 60$)
  • Finally the best deal, with Gold Membership for 60$ (one time payment) you get 1 year of access to everything! You get 6 months free! (Normally 120$) This is an insane deal and you will future proof yourself for newer content!

Ready to experience the full version of Turkishaholic? Click the red button.

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Ok, so did you choose what method you are going to use to learn Turkish? In next the two steps, I will talk in more detail what you need to do if you choose “the self-study method” or “the teacher-aided studying method”.

The Self Study Method

Ok, let’s say you want to learn a language all by yourself. You might be thinking “Now, where do I start?”. Well, first of all, you should get a good language study book. You don’t want to just randomly dive into studying things you find on the vast internet, because it’s not practical and you will have various problems in the future. All languages have a similar way of being acquired.

According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages designed by the Council of Europe to better evaluate language students, each level from A1 to C2 has certain grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension that you need to learn and be able to use to further advance to the next stages of your language acquisition.

I have provided a copy of the CEFR standard for the English and Turkish language. You can access the full pack of documents provided in this article for free by subscribing to the Turkishaholic Mail List below.

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You should only use language study materials which use the CEFR standard if you want to better track your progress. The study materials that I will mention in a moment, will direct you to the right path.

Language can be separated into Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening and Reading comprehension. I’m both a professional English and Turkish teacher with more than 10 years of teaching experience. I will give you resources for both English and Turkish. Before I start you should know that these books are just my personal favorites. You don’t have to use these books if you don’t want to. There are many other great books that you can purchase if you don’t like my suggestions.

Please feel free to consult me anytime if you want to know whether a language study material you chose is a good source for your language learning aim or whether the method you are using for your language acquisition is the right one for you.

Books for Studying English by Yourself

First of all, let’s start with the grammar. I have a lot of students ask me what book I would recommend when practicing grammar and I usually choose Raymond Murphy and Martin Hewings’ “Grammar in Use” books. I use these books in all my private classes and group classes. They are written in an easy to understand language, fun to read and are excellent self-study books.

Apart from the “Grammar in Use” series, you can also check out Betty Azar’s “English Grammar” series if you need further explanations or want to do more exercises for a certain grammar topic. Although I don’t like the page design of these books as much as the “Grammar in Use” series, the explanations of topics are more detailed.

Now, be aware that grammar books are simply support materials to the main language study books and shouldn’t be your only main study book. You should also support your grammar books with a student book and a workbook for the English language.

One of the main books for practicing Listening and Reading that I frequently use is Oxford’s “New Headway” series. If you have a limited budget, you can use the “New Headway” for Listening, Reading and Vocabulary Exercises. So, you could just buy New Headway’s “Student Book” and “Work Book” and it will be more than enough for your studies. As I mentioned before, you should choose study materials which are written in the CEFR standard, “New Headway” follows this standard and is a reliable main study book.

If you want another good main study book you could also try out Cambridge’s “Face2Face” series which also has both a “student book” and “workbook” like the “New Headway” series. These series look similar in page design but have different reading topics and listening exercises. The “Face2Face” series is also written in the CEFR standard.

While you can study vocabulary just by reading anything you can find, if you are still at a beginner level, my supplementary vocabulary book for you would be Felicity O’Dell and Michael McCarthy’s “Vocabulary in Use” series. These series start from beginner (A1) level and continue up until upper-intermediate (B2) level. If you are above upper-intermediate (B2) level, you shouldn’t need a separate vocabulary book. You should just use the appropriate level of your main study book “New Headway” or “Face2Face” and read anything that you can find like newspapers, magazines, blogs and any other articles that you can find online.

After getting these books, you should supplement your studies by watching things that are related to learning English like educational videos, movies or dramas. With the age of the internet, you can find many interesting videos online about different topics.

I also have a list of Suggested Study Materials for learning English, again for free. You can access the full pack of documents provided in this article for free by subscribing to the Turkishaholic Mail List below.

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Books for Studying Turkish by Yourself

Unlike with English, good Turkish learning books are even harder to find. When I first started Turkishaholic, I did big research on study materials that were suitable for people who wanted to learn Turkish. I did manage to find some that were decent and followed the CEFR protocol, but they still lacked certain information like the practicality of learning and speaking Turkish.

First of all, for grammar specific books I tried out a book called “Turkish Grammar in Practice” by Yusuf Buz. The reason I liked this book a lot was because it reminded me of Raymond Murphy’s “Grammar in Use” books for English. Everything is really easy to read and understand and there seems to be a lot of examples and exercises for a certain grammar topic. This book is suitable for Beginners until Pre-Intermediate level. Intermediate level learners may not find this book enough because not all grammar topics are covered.

If you are a more experienced learner of Turkish, I would recommend F. Nihan Kiraz’s “A Student Grammar of Turkish”. Now this book has a lot of terminologies and it’s not jargon-free like Yusuf Buz’s “Turkish Grammar in Practice”, but the grammar topics are suitable for Pre-Intermediate and above level learners. I’ve used this book a lot as reference material for my courses but it’s not beginner-friendly. Even native English speakers will have a hard time understanding certain points of the grammar book because of it’s jargon-based explanation.

I didn’t look up individual books for studying listening or vocabulary, so I will give you my recommendations for books that I’ve used in addition to my materials.

For a full Turkish language learning experience, I’ve used TÖMER’s (Ankara University’s Language Research Center) “Yeni Hitit” books. Now, these books may be pretty outdated because the topics discussed in their reading and listening materials date back to maybe 10-15 years. The language is still modern Turkish but the teaching method is a bit bland. The good thing about this book is there are a lot of exercises for both reading, writing and speaking, listening. However, the grammar explanation is almost non-existent. You can also try out Yunus Emre Institute’s “Yedi İklim Türkçe” series which is similar to the “Yeni Hitit” series. This book has a similar concept but with more modern materials and fewer exercises. So it’s still not perfect but they are good starter books. Advanced level learners can try the B2 to C2 levels of these series.

Would you like to know what my first recommendation for learning Turkish is? Of course, it would the Turkishaholic Learning Portal along with the Video Courses section. Unlike the materials I’ve mentioned that are seldom improved upon, Turkishaholic is an evergrowing portal for learning Turkish. At Turkishaholic you can get access to Turkish Grammar explanations that are jargon-free but detailed enough for both beginners to advanced learners to benefits from. There are also short video lectures about different topics, like the Speaking Podcasts and the Listening Podcasts. The exercise database has all types of exercises that also focus on listening and speaking, besides the usual reading and writing.

You won’t find any books which focus on listening or speaking. Video Courses are also one-of-a-kind, where you can learn Turkish by only spending an hour a day with fun video lessons and exercises to support these lessons. There is so much more to talk about but then the main focus on the article will shift towards Turkishaholic.

Want to seriously learn Turkish?

Do you want to seriously learn Turkish? Are you tired of searching for new website that teach Turkish? Then look no further!

With Turkishaholic’s Premium Membership you get access to many unique learning materials only available at Turkishaholic.

When you purchase a Premium membership, you account opens up to the Exercise Database, with more than 100 exercises to improve your Turkish. There are Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening exercises. You won’t find any Speaking or Listening exercises anywhere else!

With the Literacy and Communicate sections, you also get access to Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening specific materials to improve both your Written Turkish and Spoken Turkish.

This is just the tip of the surface. The best part is the full video courses teaching different parts of Turkish. It can be a full course on learning Turkish or a listening-specific course on improving your listening comprehension. 

So how much is Premium membership? 

  • You can try out Premium Membership for 10$ (one time payment) and use all the features of Turkishaholic for 30 days.
  • With Premium Plus at only 30$ (one time payment), you get 6 months of access to the all the features of Turkishaholic. You get 3 months free! (Normally 60$)
  • Finally the best deal, with Gold Membership for 60$ (one time payment) you get 1 year of access to everything! You get 6 months free! (Normally 120$) This is an insane deal and you will future proof yourself for newer content!

Ready to experience the full version of Turkishaholic? Click the red button.

Want to learn more about Turkishaholic Premium? Click the blue button.

Ok, question time! How do you do self-studying? What kind of materials do you use with your studies? Please share your ideas with me by commenting on this article or even better, by joining our community forums and talking about your experiences. You can join the discussions right away by making a free (BASIC) account. You don’t need a subscription to join the community forums.

Now let’s see how you can learn with the help of a teacher in our next step!

The Teacher-aided Studying Method

If you decided that you don’t want to learn a language all by yourself and you need direct support from a professional, then you should find a private lesson teacher or a language course near you. The most important difference between studying a language by yourself and studying it with a teacher is that teachers know the problems that you will face when you are learning a target language, thus they will help you reach your goals a lot quicker.

It can be intimidating to look at a study book and try to figure out what’s going on in a certain chapter, whereas the teacher will teach you the language step by step in a meaningful way that you will be able to understand and use immediately after the class.

The teacher-aided studying method has two sub-options; “private one-on-one classes” or “group classes”. You should know both their advantages and disadvantages before you choose one.

Learning a Language in a Language Course

If you want to learn any language in a language learning facility, you should also know that there will also be people around learning your target language. One of the main advantages of a classroom environment is that you will be able to exercise what you have learned with different classmates, right at that time. But there may be some problems with learning a language in a group environment.

First, not everyone has the same personality and the same level of English proficiency as you. Some people learn quicker than others, some may have prior knowledge of the language that they acquired in another course or a place. You may also encounter personal problems with other peers in the classroom and this may affect your learning experience. You should also be aware that the teacher will have less time for every student if the class has too many students. If you miss a class due to an illness or any other reason and the class gets ahead in studies, you may feel left out and could lose your motivation to study.

Learning a Language with a Private Teacher

The second teacher-aided studying option is private lessons from a teacher. A private lesson is a lesson where only you and the teacher do the class in a study environment you choose. This can be at your home, at a café or through the internet. The biggest advantage of a private lesson is that you are the center of attention. The classes will go according to your level, capacity or any other personal preference.

Most private-lesson teachers assess you in the first lesson of a private lesson by testing your language ability with a placement test either written or spoken. Although this is also done in a language course, private lesson teachers also put into account your study plan, what you like and dislike and many other special factors to tailor a private lesson that will give you the best learning experience. You can practice speaking while doing the lesson with your teacher and you may even learn 2-3 hours’ worth of information in a one-hour class.

Now the biggest disadvantage is that because you are in constant focus, you may get tired more easily as the same goes for the teacher too. Another disadvantage is that the price will be much more expensive whereas a package course you may sign up for in a language center could be much more affordable.

Did you know that you could get cheap Turkish or English private lessons through the internet with me, Gokberk? You can now book either Turkish or English lessons with me through the Turkishaholic booking page for a cheap price of 11 dollars for a 1-hour lesson. If you were to do 2 lessons a week with me, it would only cost you 88 dollars a month.

Don’t waste your time with language courses or expensive private lessons. You don’t need to spend 6 to 9 hours a week to learn a language. You don’t need to commute to a small building after school or work just to learn a language. You can learn Turkish and English with me from your own home through Skype. I’ve had more than 600 lessons online and had many students from around the world. If you’re interested in what my students said about my lessons please click the button below.

Both language courses and private lessons will provide you with all the required study materials, so you don’t have to worry about buying anything else. All you have to do is attend the classes and do what your teacher tells you to do.

Ok, another question time! Which method of learning do you think is better, the self-studying method or the teacher-aided studying method? How was your experience with both learning methods? Let’s talk about this topic at the community forums together!

In the next step, I will talk about something really important in language learning called “Living the Language”. Let’s check it out!

Are You Living the Language?

Now, this may sound strange, but I want you to go way back and think about your childhood. Do you remember how you learned to speak your native language? If you can’t remember then please observe your nephew, niece, your child or any other youngster around you. You might have noticed how they are always clingy – as in they are always around adults and that they try to imitate them, especially the sentences the adults make, as much as possible.

Next, I want you to imagine an old woman who works from dusk till dawn at a farm in a small village growing vegetables. This woman didn’t finish school and didn’t learn how to read or write, but she can fluently speak her native language!

As you can see, neither books nor any other material is compulsory for learning how to speak a new language. Nevertheless, you should still use the materials and the methods that I have mentioned in the earlier steps to better study your target language and learn to read and write in that language correctly unless you don’t mind not learning how to read and write (!). All things aside, while studying a language is important to achieve your aims, what is even more important is how you treat the target language itself.

Most people treat a foreign language as a set of words and rules that you need to know to speak, but that’s hardly the case. I’ve had many students who could complete an English grammar proficiency test with a relatively high score but when asked to talk about their daily lives, they could hardly speak. The reason people have this problem is that they lack any kind of exposure to foreign language in real life.

How has been your language learning experience so far? Do you simply go to a language course for maybe 6 hours a week, get private tutoring for 2-4 hours a week or maybe study at home for a few minutes every day? But aside from studying the language, do you use it? Do you watch and listen to real-life content on TV or read anything in your target language? Most important of all, do you go outside and speak that language with someone else who also speaks it?

So how was your answer to these questions? Even if you live in a foreign country speaking your target language, unless you start using the language itself, you will always have fluency problems.

I have seen people who lived and worked in foreign countries far away from their homelands, but they could barely speak the language of that country despite living there for many years. The reason is simple, they seclude themselves from living the language and they live inside their safe zone all the time. Whatever language you’re aiming to learn, you can’t learn to speak a foreign language just by memorizing a study book. A language is the identity of a country’s culture and its people. You need to immerse yourself in that identity.

As I mentioned earlier, when I was studying Japanese, I was exposing myself to Japanese culture in various ways. I would watch Japanese dramas, animes, movies and any other thing I can get my hands on. I would read a lot of mangas (Japanese comic books), even if I could barely read the Japanese kanji. I would go outside and try to find Japanese people whom I could practice their language with. I even traveled to Japan just to be immersed in this culture as much as I could. If you have the chance, you should be doing the same thing too.

In the next two steps, I will be discussing the topic of “Immersion” and will give you some pointers on how to immerse yourself to the culture of your target language in the best way possible.

What is Social Immersion?

First things first, if you aren’t a self-disciplined person then it will be a lot harder for you to learn a language. My methods of language exposure are basic, but the important thing about them is how frequently you apply them.

If you are an introvert, which is a person who doesn’t like to interact with people that much, then you will have to force yourself to go outside and socialize as much as possible. Try to find some people in your town who speak your target language or even better, try to find native speakers.

Now you may be asking ‘Gökberk, how in the world am I going to find foreigners in my city?’ In the past, when there was no internet, this could have been a hard problem to solve, but thanks to the internet it’s become a lot easier to find foreigners in your city. You will be surprised when you find out the number of foreigners living in your city.

Just a quick reminder before I start, nobody is endorsing me for the websites I will mention here. I used these websites and found them to be useful when I was trying to find foreigners who would practice speaking English and Japanese with me. There could be better websites than the ones I will mention. If you know better websites, please be sure to share them with me and everyone else who is reading this article.

I will recommend you 3 websites that will help you find foreigners in your area. These websites are called “MeetUp”, “Couchsurfing” and “Internations”. You might have heard about some of these sites, if not let me explain them briefly.

The first website is called MeetUp which lets you and other people get together. There are certain groups or events that you can join where foreigners in your city are also attending. If you want, you can also make your groups, events or gatherings about a certain topic, like an “English Talking Club” where you can meet people who want to practice speaking English. These people can be from your country or foreigners living in your country. The website has both free membership and paid membership with additional functionality but the free one works too.

The second website suggestion I will give is “Couchsurfing”. Unlike “Meetup” this website is a place where you can find foreigners that are visiting your country, so you can be their host when they arrive. You can open your house to them for a few days or maybe a few weeks and show them around your city. Being a host is a great way to practice your English or whatever language you’re aiming to learn for free, make new friends and have fun all at the same time. Also, if you’re going abroad, you can find a host for yourself with this website. Couchsurfing is mostly free of charge and you only need to make a profile to start accepting people as a host or to look for a host in another country.

Lastly, you should check out “Internations”. This website is similar to “MeetUp” but with a more elite audience. You can join bigger gatherings, network with organizations near your city, practice your English and maybe even find a job opening. Although the basic features of this website are free, you need to pay an additional fee to open more features. Check out their website for additional information.

To sum up, if you can find an environment where you can immerse yourself in the language you’re learning, you will achieve fluency faster. Up next, let’s see another method of immersion which requires little to no human interaction, great for introverts!

What is Multimedia Immersion?

How much time do you spend using your acquired knowledge that you’ve learned before in a day? If you still have trouble understanding people when they speak English or Turkish (or any other language), your problem might be that you’re not used to hearing the language enough. Besides socially indulging yourself to your target language, you can also practice it by yourself without interacting with anyone else. But there is a catch, you need to spend close to 7 hours a day immersed in your target language. Now don’t be scared of the number ‘7’ because I’m not saying that you need to study the language for 7 hours.

Let’s assume that you wake up around 8 o’clock every morning and sleep around 11 o’clock, you are awake 15 hours in a day, right? I’m guessing that you have a job, maybe you’re a student or a stay at home parent. No matter what you do, you are probably occupied around 8 hours. How do you spend the remaining 7 hours?

Most of us simply open the TV or the internet and look purposelessly at it until we fall asleep on a couch or at our beds, which means we waste around 7 productive hours. Instead, why not watch or listen to something in the language you’re learning? Even if you are a beginner, when you listen to something every day, you will get accustomed to the grammar structure, the vocabulary and how some phrases are used before you even learn it in your own study time.

For any kind of multimedia immersion, I would recommend that you watch learner-friendly TV channels like the BBC, CNN or simply watch some American TV series that you can find online for learning English. If you spend a lot of time on the internet as opposed to watching TV, then you should check out “TED Talks” on YouTube. They have informative discussions regarding various topics. Try to find audiovisual materials with topics that interest you and immerse yourself to it daily for as long as you can.

If you are more into reading than watching things, then read books, internet blogs, articles and news in English or listen to music in your target language. Do what you must to live the language as much as possible.

For Turkish, you can listen to Turkishaholic’s Speaking and Listening Podcasts that are available on the channel “Learning Turkish with Gokberk”. These podcasts can be good starting materials for Turkish. There are a lot more materials on the Premium section of the Turkisaholic website. When you’re out of materials on the YouTube channel, you should consider becoming a Premium member at Turkishaholic. Click the button below to visit the channel or learn more about the services that Turkishaholic provides.

A quick reminder; you can check out “Study Resources” PDF which is available for free for more resources for immersing yourself in English and Turkish. You can access the full pack of documents provided in this article for free by subscribing to the Turkishaholic Mail List below.

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So, how will you know if you are immersed enough to a language? Up next, I will talk about an important thing called “Thinking in a Foreign Language”.

Do You Think in a Foreign Language?

Most of my students ask me how they can stop translating sentences in their minds and start thinking in English or Turkish. It’s a lot easier to start thinking in your target language than you think (yes, this was an accidental pun).

When I was a university student studying American Culture and Literature, I had to read a lot of novels and various other books to prepare for exams, weekly quizzes, classroom presentations, and research papers. I still clearly remember how I would forget some words in my native language when speaking to my friends and instead use English words to fill in the gaps. Sometimes, I would dream in English that night because I had read a 200-page English novel in one day.

If you watch any sitcoms like “Friends”, “How I Met Your Mother” or anything similar where everyday characters are portrayed in their environment, you will sometimes hear certain phrases from these characters which you can also try to imitate.

From “Friends” I remember the saying “Could I be anymore…” that I kept saying to my friends when I was still learning English. I also use Barney’s phrase “Legen – wait for it – dary!” a lot. So, what I’m trying to say is that I would mimic phrases or words in my mind and speak them out loud.

Imitating, like how babies do when they are trying to learn their native language, is one of the best ways for language acquisition. But unlike babies, our brains are more complex and fully developed, thus we can use this method of imitation more effectively and with better precision.

When trying the “Thinking in a Foreign Language” method, don’t memorize words, instead, learn phrases about topics that interest you the most. You can learn or mimic some sentences from either TV shows, movies or articles that you’ve read. Try to focus on phrases that you think you’ll use immediately and frequently.

Secondly, try to think about things that you say all the time in your language, but this time think and say them out loud in the language that you want to learn! Talk to yourself in your target language and describe in detail what you did that day to yourself. When your mind is used to thinking about certain topics in a foreign language, you will be able to respond much quicker when people ask you a question.

Lastly, make talking to yourself a daily habit. Think about what things you would say in English and speak about them by yourself. After you start thinking in English or Turkish (or any other language) without trying or translating anything, then you will have achieved a big milestone!

As a side-effect of over-immersion, you may also start dreaming in your target language after some time.

You should be aware that it might get annoying if you keep thinking in English/Turkish/etc. in the middle of the night, so you should sometimes let your mind rest and tone down the immersion rate.

“Immersion” and “thinking in a Foreign Language” are important but you should also have a study plan to support all that you have learned so far. The next step is about making a study plan to achieve your goals.

Don’t Forget Your Study Plan!

It’s always hard starting something new and making it a part of your life. This is could be learning a new language, learning a new skill or doing anything out of the ordinary. If you want to improve on something, like learning a new language, you need to make a study plan.

Whether you’re a student or an adult with a full-fledged job, we all have certain obligations that need to be fulfilled. Sometimes we have so many commitments in our lives that we can’t even remember what we must do a few hours later. At times like these, it is always a good idea to write down what you have to do for that week on a schedule.

To start with, get a piece of paper and from the top of the paper to the bottom, write down all the things that you do in a day. Try to also include what time you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now, write down the schedule for the remaining days of the week in the same way. You now have a written record of everything that you do in a week. It will be a lot easier to see when you’re busy and when you’re free thanks to your weekly schedule.

Ok, now let’s adapt our schedule to learning Turkish (or any other language). With Turkish, you have to focus on four categories; Grammar, Reading, Listening and Writing. It could be a lot easier if you put Grammar and Reading into one day of studying and Listening and Writing in another day. You can do it differently if you have something else in your mind.

If you’ve arranged your weekly schedule and divided your English study types into the available time chunks, then all you need to do is follow it. This is the most important thing when making a study schedule, staying consistent with your study time. If you can’t keep up with your schedule, then you may have to change it to better suit you.

When you make a study schedule, you should also put into account your personality and your habits. Do you like studying late at night or does your brain work better in the morning? Can you study non-stop for 3 hours or is it better if you study in 45-minute time blocks?

How is your learning style? Are you a visual learner who learns better if you watch video lessons to supplement your studies or are you an auditory learner who learns faster just by listening to different recorded study materials? Only you can know the answers to these questions.

No matter what kind of a person you are, you will have to create your schedule according to your own needs. You may have to revise your study schedule a few times before it works out the way you want. One thing you must not forget is that you should never give up and always follow your program.

I have provided a downloadable “Sample Study Schedule PDF” that you can download for free. You can access the full pack of documents provided in this article for free by subscribing to the Turkishaholic Mail List below.

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We’re almost coming to the end of our mega article. The final step is perhaps the most important part of this article. Be sure to read it thoroughly. 

The Most Important Reason You Can’t Speak “X” Language

You’ve learned a lot today, haven’t you? You learned how certain people can learn better if they follow a certain learning method and how different learning methods have their advantages and disadvantages. You probably heard for the first time about the importance of immersion and how it affects your fluency with a foreign language. I also gave you a lot of valuable materials for studying either English or Turkish. I hope that everything I’ve mentioned here has been helpful to you. But there is one final thing that you must be aware of before you start learning a foreign language and that is your outlook on this adventure that we call language acquisition.

This “ Personal Outlook” can sound similar to the topic of “Goals”, it is, but not that much. Goals can be achieved and later on new goals will be set, but your outlook is not something that you can reach physically. You’re probably scratching your head wondering what I’m talking about. Ok, I’ll talk about my personal experience, again.

As you may (or may not know), English is not my native language. I’ve started speaking English when I was around 6-7 years old. Like most people learning a foreign language, I had problems comprehending the different rules used with for this language. I couldn’t communicate well at first and I was always left behind. It took me years to finally reach a level where I could maintain a decent conversation with a native speaker. Learning a language, in full, is not a destination but an adventure. If you remember my last sentence on the third paragraph of the sentence (at the introduction part) I say “language learning adventure”. Yes, you will reach certain goals you’ve made and later on make new goals and reach them too, but it will never end. You can become an old person and still learn new things every day. If you treat language acquisition as a goal that you need to reach, you will never be satisfied with your progress and your outlook. Just enjoy the adventure and learn new things every day, but don’t force yourself. It is meant to happen naturally and after some time it will and you won’t even notice it.

Thank you for taking your precious time to read this article, I hope the best of luck and success with your new foreign language learning adventure!

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