I've said it many times - I believe that learning a new language isn't just about learning the language. It's also about finding out how to learn effectively. Sometimes we spend hours and hours studying with not so great results. We study like this because our teacher told us to. Or because it was in the textbook. Or because we did it like this at school. But let's be honest - do the study techniques really work for you? Are you happy with your progress? Do you enjoy learning Czech this way? If you answered yes - great! Keep doing what you do. If you answered no - keep reading.
If what you do to work on your Czech doesn't help you progress and you want different results, it's time to start doing things differently. Try the following 5 simple steps that may help you learn Czech grammar and vocab effectively and in a fun way.
1. Learn Grammar and Vocab Together
Don't cram isolated words like the salt - sůl, to can - moct. Learn whole phrases and sentences like Can you pass me the salt, please - Můžeš mi podat sůl, prosím. If you learn like this, you will create a personal container of phrases and sentences you can take out and use right away when in the middle of a conversation. You won't think about grammar rules when you speak, you will just say it as it is: Můžeš mi podat sůl, prosím.
2. Pick Wisely What You Learn
There is one amazing truth in language learning: You don't need to learn everything! Do you feel the relief? There are hundreds of thousands of words in dictionaries, an average native speaker passively knows thousands of words, but when we speak, we only use hundreds of them. There is no need to learn everything we come across. Don't fill your head with nonsense words you never use. Focus on the practical stuff that you can actually use when you speak. Be selective and think about what you learn.
3. Create Your Own Flashcards
Our brain is very clever. It likes real and personal stuff. If you download a list of Czech verbs from the internet without any context, your brain won't have a clue. What is this list? How can I use it in real life? Why should I even bother remembering it? If you learn phrases you heard in real life or sentences you plan to use in specific situation, it will suddenly start making sense. Aaah, I heard my Czech friend say this. We sat in the café and he was telling me about his new job. And I can use this expression next time I speak with my mother in law. That's cool! Make your cards real and personal and help your brain remember them faster.
4. Use Spaced Repetition System (SRS)
SRS helps you learn more effectively and save new information in your long term memory. You don't review all your flashcards every day. You should only review flashcards that are new or difficult. You should review them when you are just about to forget the information. And that's exactly what makes it stick. Use apps like ANKI or MEMRISE or create your own paper flashcards using "Leitner system".
5. Learn Grammar Actively
Doing grammar exercises or writing sentences using new grammar, you practice writing grammar. Reading sentences with new grammar, you practice reading grammar. If you want to learn to use grammar in real life conversation, well, you have to practice it that way. Let your teacher, Czech partner or friend ask you questions that make you practice new grammar in a conversation.
Liking the concepts? Watch the full video to learn more!