LU Modern Languages professors give advice on how to effectively learn languages

Have you ever considered learning another language? Modern Languages professors, Annik Miller and Yan Xie, shared their experiences on language learning and offered advice to students doing the same. 

Miller, who speaks French, German and English, teaches both French and German. Knowing three different languages has warranted her to take many different language courses through her languages journey. For Miller, keeping up with three different languages is not as difficult as it used to be, thanks to all the multilingual resources online and through streaming. She learned a lot, including how she had to drop the idea of achieving perfection early on in language learning. 

“When you communicate with people, the goal is to communicate, not to be perfect,” Miller said. “Let go of the idea that you have to be perfect.” 

Xie grew up speaking Mandarin Chinese and also studied English for years. Xie’s main source of learning material was English textbooks written by Chinese writers. According to Xie, she feels as though language materials written by native speakers of the language are more beneficial. 

“Reading books, magazines and other materials produced by native speakers helps develop your sense of a language,” Xie said. 

Both Xie and Miller had similar answers relating to the mentality that goes behind language learning. Xie encouraged students to have an unending sense of motivation, while Miller encouraged students not to fall into a mentality of discouragement because language learning takes time. 

Students have many resources available to help them in language learning, both through classes at Liberty and on their own online. Duolingo, Babble and other similar apps provide a great resource. According to Xie and Miller, cultural immersion is just as important as classroom learning. Trips abroad through LU Send are another way students can immerse themselves in the language and culture of the area.

“Language and culture are inseparable,” Xie said. “When learning a new language, you should also learn about the culture.”

There are many practical ways to assist a person in learning another language outside of the classroom. It doesn’t take anything crazy, even simply listening to and watching media such as songs or movies in the desired language will grow your knowledge.

“There have been amazing improvements in automated translation, but people who want to go out into the world to be Christ’s hands and feet need to know that you cannot effectively reach people with the Gospel through Google Translate or AI,” Miller said, describing how the goal of encouraging students to pick up another language is to spread the gospel.

For those interested in learning a different language, Liberty offers minors in various modern languages. To learn more, visit this website

Barnhart is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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