Friday, September 28, 2012

Top 10 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language

Top 10 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language

Learning a second language can be fun as well as challenging. And most people want to learn one for different reasons. Some people do it for self-gratification while others do it to better adapt to their cultural surroundings. Whatever their reason may be, there are specific ways to go about doing it. Below, we are going to show you the top 10 tips for learning a foreign language.

10. Don’t Strive for Perfection

First and foremost, realize that perfection is an illusion. As bad as you want to “perfect” a language, realize that it is going to take time. You may learn a phrase or two one day and then forget it the next. That’s okay. You should expect mistakes as this is part of the language learning process. Look towards mistakes as a form of feedback: you are only getting better with every mistake that you make.

9. Develop an “Ear” for that Language

With whatever language you’re learning, try to develop an “ear” for it. Basically, this means that you are really listening to what your training program or teacher is saying. Realize that most of our language learning as children had to do with “listening” to what others said and then repeating it. We had very little involvement in reading or writing until we got older. Take this mindset and apply it towards whatever language you’re trying to learn. On the same note, watch television or movies in what language as well.

8. Practice Speaking

While this may sound obvious, the truth is that speaking your new language will reinforce what you already know. Some people study for years, learn all of the grammar, but are very poor when it comes to pronouncing words. Just remember, when you are speaking, try to use a normal conversational tone. You can even do this without other people. Simply stand in front of the mirror and pretend as though you’re speaking to someone else. This can make all the difference in the world in terms of your progress in this department.

7. Be Consistent

Like with any new skill that you are trying to acquire, consistence is key when learning a new language. Do realize that there will be moments when you feel as though you aren’t learning anything. This is the time when you want to stay committed. Language learning is something that takes time. On the same note, keep your training sessions relatively consistent as well. For example, if you have been training for at least 20 minutes every day then you should continue this process. If something is working then there is no sense in changing it.

6. Talk to Yourself

As odd as it may sound, try talking to yourself on occasion. For example, start by saying “Hello” (in your new language) and answer back with “Hi, how are you”. You can continue the conversation for as long as you want. Just make sure that you are pushing yourself and trying to use as many words as you can. The reason this works is because since there is nobody around you, there won’t be any inhibitions that will cause you to forget or act differently.

5. Use Flashcards

Flashcards are probably one of the best methods that you can use to learn any new language. You should begin by carrying a pack with you and writing down every word or phrase that you’re having trouble with. And the reason we say carry them with you is because then you can practice in areas where your time would otherwise be “wasted”. For example, if you are riding the bus or waiting for class to start, you can pull out your flashcards and take that time to be productive and learn your new language.

4. Label Your Surroundings

For whatever item you have in your house, label it with its respective name but in the foreign language. For example, if you have a wall then you would label in “La Pared”, assuming that Spanish was the language you were learning. Make sure that you place these labels in bathrooms, kitchen, and even the wash room. You would be surprised by how quickly you pick up random vocabulary by utilizing this method.

3. Patience is Key

Progress with language learning will not be a steady or straight line. Quite the contrary actually- it will have many turns, twists, and curves. Some days it may feel as though you are making huge progress while on other days, it may feel like you’re moving backwards. Realize that things won’t happen as you predict but don’t let this discourage you. If you find yourself “stuck” then try taking a break for a few days before jumping back on board. Above anything, have patience and know that you aren’t getting worse at your new language.

2. Find a Partner

One of the best ways to learn a new language is to practice it with people who are already fluent in it. For example, if you’re trying to learn French then you should be spending time speaking and interacting with people who know French. It will help you absorb more information as well as concrete in what you already know. And finding a partner doesn’t have to be difficult. Begin by checking your social circle and moving outward until you find a partner who can help you.

1. Take Formal Classes

When all else fails, take some formal classes. While they may cost a little bit of money, they can really take your language learning to a whole new level. Language learning classes provide a structured environment that you can utilize to learn any language that you want. There are usually curriculums involved that will help you stay on course and you’ll always have a teacher there to guide you. Not to mention, there will probably be other students there as well. This means that you can take tip number two and ask them to be your practice partner outside of the classroom.

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