Whenever I am learning a new language, one of the first things I do is look for a grammar of the new language.
I know I am going to have to learn the grammar anyway, so I don’t avoid it. Many language programs mock grammar in their advertisements.
“Learn a language without all that boring grammar! Learn like a native.”
Then, when you order their program, they teach you the grammar.
It’s inevitable. You are going to have to learn the grammar anyway. Might as well get it over with.
My favorite grammars are the Magic Key Series by Margarita Madrigal. French, Spanish, and German. I wish she had written one for every language I have attempted to learn. They are great. Clear, short, plain explanations. No ever-changing cultural fluff fills the books. I like that. When I am learning grammar, I don’t necessarily care about the different types of baguettes in France. I will learn that later. (Maybe that’s just me.)
(By the way, since they are out of print, the French and German editions are crazy expensive. But, there are free pdf versions here: French and German.)
As the grammar starts to sink in, I look for something to read in the language. I really like to read the Bible in the target language. Right now, I am listening to this on Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/audiobook/577927778/La-Genese
The advantage of the Bible in the target language is simple. First of all, the chances of finding a translation of the Bible in your target language is high. It has been translated already into thousands of languages. Second, the chances of finding an audio version in your target language is high. In fact, you can find hundreds of audio bibles for free right here.
Third, I look for familiar topics in the language. For example, a year or so ago, reader Angela sent me a link to sermons in Spanish. I hadn’t thought of that before. But, it’s a great idea. Here is what she wrote. This is a great language-learning tip.
Here’s another audio suggestion I have found helpful that I wanted to pass along: listening to sermons in Spanish. As with listening to the Bible, you can often get the jist of what is being discussed based on context and familiarity with the topic, but you don’t quite know what’s coming next with sermons as with the Bible (assuming one knows the Bible!). One good thing about YouTube is that you can slow playback down a little or a lot. You can also turn on or off Spanish subtitles. The sermons I listen to are part of the Spanish ministry of a large southern Baptist church in my area. Not only has it helped my understanding of the language little by little, but I have often been encouraged by this pastor’s sermons. Here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/c/SugarCreekEnEspa%C3%B1ol/videos
This tip works well with modern languages. Not so well with Latin, unfortunately. Not a lot of pastors deliver messages in Latin. Oh well, can’t have it all.