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The best and worst states for language learning – and how you can learn wherever you are

Education

The best and worst states for language learning – and how you can learn wherever you are

The best and worst states for language learning – and how you can learn wherever you are

A report published in June by the American Councils for International Education revealed the percentage of K-12 students enrolled in a foreign language learning classes in the United States. And the results vary widely from state to state, ranging from over half to less than 10% of the student population learning a language:

States With Highest Language Enrolment

5. Vermont
Foreign language enrolment: 35.03%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Latin

4. Maryland
Foreign language enrolment: 35.23%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

3. Wisconsin
Foreign language enrolment: 36.29%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, German

2. Washington, D.C.
Foreign language enrolment: 47.17%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese (but Russian was a close 4th)

1. New Jersey
Foreign language enrolment: 51.18%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

States With Lowest Language Enrollment

46. Oregon
Foreign language enrolment: 10.83%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

47. Montana
Foreign language enrolment: 10.11%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

48. Arkansas
Foreign language enrolment: 9.09%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, German

49. Arizona
Foreign language enrolment: 9.08%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

50. New Mexico
Foreign language enrolment: 8.50%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

No matter where you live, language learning is a hugely valuable skill. So if you’re in a state where the provision isn’t so great – or even if it’s fabulous, the tips from the linguists at language learning app Babbel can help you get speaking a new language in weeks:

1. Make Learning A Daily Routine
Did you know you can form a new habit in as few as 21 days? Developing a daily routine of practicing your language helps you to more effectively build and retain that knowledge for the long term. And if you think you don’t have the time to pick up a new habit, think again. Having a language-learning app (like Babbel!) you can use for just 10-15 minutes each day means you can build your new habit into your current routine — learn on your commute, on your lunch break at work, or in any of these 50 situations, in which you’re likely wasting time.

2. Absorb The Culture
One of the most exciting parts about learning a new language is opening the door to a new universe of literature, film, and food. In addition to helping you practice your language skills and broaden your vocabulary, foreign books and films give you a deeper understanding of another culture. You can experience so much without buying a plane ticket — all you need is an internet connection to stream foreign language films, listen to music, or discover new book recommendations.

3. Infuse Language Learning Into Daily Life
Whatever it is that you like to do with your spare time, try incorporating your newfound language skills. If you enjoy cooking, learn all the ingredient names and cooking terms in your new language. When you’re out shopping or at a restaurant, narrate the transactions and conversations you’d need to know in your new language. The more you can contextualize the language in things you enjoy and already do — instead of memorizing useless expressions (like asking where the disco is) — the more likely you’ll retain it.

4. Personalize Your Learning
Why would you spend time reciting conjugations of a verb you already know? Or learning expressions you’ll never use? Personalizing your learning experience ensures you are learning effectively. Using an app like Babbel also means you can learn at your own pace — you can take as much or as little time as you need to master a concept before moving on to the next one.

5. Visualize Your Success
Success doesn’t happen by accident. Visualizing the reasons why you are learning a language in the first place will keep you motivated to learn. Maybe you’ll be using your newly acquired language skills on an upcoming trip, connecting with extended family from another country, or simply keeping your mind sharp — imagining the kind of person you’ll become and the experiences you’ll have with a new language can be a powerful tool to keep you motivated when the initial novelty of learning wears off.

6. Just Do It!
Sometimes, self-doubt or nerves can take over when you think about trying something new. If you promise yourself to spend just 5 minutes practicing each day, chances are high you’ll get through your entire 10-15 minute language lesson without even realizing it.

What are the 9 easiest languages for English speakers to learn?

 

The Babbel app for web, iOS and Android makes it easy to learn 14 different languages from 7 display languages. Bite-sized lessons fit into everyday life and are split into useful real-world topics, from introducing oneself, to ordering food and making travel arrangements. The app’s effective game mechanics ensure that learners stay motivated to achieve their goals, with the average user continuing to learn with Babbel for more than 12 months. Uniquely, every course is created specifically for each language pair by a team of education experts, linguists and language teachers.

Miriam Plieninger is Director of Didactics and part of the Management Team at Babbel, the language-learning app that empowers users to speak from the beginning.

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