Learning a foreign language can both be daunting and complicated. No matter which new language you learn, it can always turn out to be an asset for you — never know when you’re going to need it.
A lot has been said about the necessity of learning another language other than first language; however, recent studies have shown that it stimulates your brain cells and could prevent Alzheimer’s.
10. Speak The Language As Much As You Can
When learning a foreign language people often tend to study grammar or workbooks to begin with. This helps you understand how many alphabets the language contains, and frequently used words and phrases etc. However, what this does not teach you is the real experience of speaking the language and pronunciation.
If you are learning a new language it is best to speak it as much as you can to get proficient, especially with pronunciations.
Always speak and think in the language not in your mother tongue. This helps you to acquire new vocabulary.
If you are shy or worried that you may be mispronouncing, practice in front of a mirror.
Purchase or rent movie DVDs. Try to mimic some words from it by pausing and repeating scenes.
Practice repeating simple words and master them – it promotes confidence.
9. Listen to foreign language radio or TV
Watch TV channels of the language that you’re learning. If you are learning French then, you could watch TV5 Monde which is a news and infotainment channel. Watching and listening to foreign language TV and radio channels has its benefits.
You will be hearing a lot of words that you might not understand at first. Try to write down the word you heard phonetically. Then do a Google search and write down the correct spelling and note the pronunciation.
The aim of doing this is to understand how words should be pronounced, where to pause and to learn intonations.
8. What Do I Expect From Learning This Language?
Why is it that you want to learn this language? It could be for various reasons, may be you are looking out for an overseas job that requires you to learn their language other than your first language. It could also be that the person you are marrying or dating could be speaking that language. Whatever might be your reason, it is crucial for you to internalize the purpose.
If you are not focussed and motivated, it becomes really hard for you to master the language.
7. Get Yourself A Language Buddy
You will hear this advice from virtually any language training institute or teacher. The biggest advantage you have with a partner is the conversation.
Ideally, it would be a partner who already speaks that language, else don’t fret, you can probably find a friend who is also learning the same language or one who just wants to help you out.
When you find a partner you could learn how to pronounce words and where you need to work.
6. Enjoy The Learning Experience
This one is a no brainer. No matter at what level your learning is, just enjoy doing it. Take it easy. After all, you are surely going to enjoy the language once you have gained proficiency. Laugh at your own mistakes while learning. Remember mistakes help you learn better. Have fun with pronunciation.
If you pronounce a word wrong, laugh it off and don’t take it to heart. Learning a language is also very therapeutic because you forget your worries and concentrate on learning.
A foreign language also exposes you to that country’s culture, food, and politics. Have fun learning interesting trivia of those countries.
5. Have An Open Mind
If you want to learn a foreign language you must be prepared to face some minor embarrassments. It is just bound to happen. You should not be afraid to use the language you learnt in public.
Say, you are learning Mandarin and you got an opportunity to try speaking in a Chinese restaurant, go ahead and order your favourite Chinese food in Mandarin. If you don’t get proper words or get the wrong syntax, don’t worry. At least, you got another joke up your sleeve for you to share with friends. It is easy to get discouraged, stay positive.
4. Prepare The Resources You Need To Learn A Language
It is important to have a dependable grammar book when learning a language. Buy yourself a good English grammar book. There are many available and you can choose the one that suits you.
Also, if you are looking for a grammar book for French then, ‘Collins French Grammar and Practice’ would be ideal
You can also use phrase books, which is a dictionary for commonly used phrases. People travelling to a foreign country find them priceless. This website contains a dictionary for most of the prominent European languages.
If you have a smartphone then you could download an app that helps you memorize words. Memorizing helps you better retain the language.
3. Have A Regular Pattern For Learning
Having a routine helps you stay motivated to learn the language. You could start your day by writing down a page of new words from a dictionary or practice a few exercise. This helps you memorize new words and builds your vocabulary.
Then, maybe you could hang out with friends who speak the language at a café or have dinner with them once or twice a week. This means you now have an opportunity to listen to them speak and also learn how the use it appropriately. Feel free to ask questions or any doubts that you may have.
2. Do Not Worry About Making Mistakes
I often come across people who say that they are afraid to learn a foreign language because of committing errors when conversing. Just imagine this; an immigrant from another country tries to speak your language when conversing with you. What do you feel? You would appreciate the person’s efforts and you would encourage him/her isn’t it? Similarly, when you try to talk in a foreign language with a person who speaks it, they will naturally appreciate yours.
If you are still apprehensive, then try this. Find a partner who speaks the language at your level. That way you need not worry about making mistakes. In the process, both of you would progress to the next level, which is to speak like a native.
1. Play House With The Language
Learning a new language takes considerable effort on your part and a lot of patience. The more you inculcate the new language into your life the more your mind tunes into it. Make sure not to miss any events related to the language. If you are like theater, you could attend plays or music concerts.
When you are at home make sure that you are reminded of the language at every step, read beginner level books, and watch movies. As I have already mentioned, if you don’t have a partner to speak to then, practice in front of a mirror.