Learning a foreign language is crucial for anyone who wants to travel abroad in the foreseeable future, either for studying purposes or for employment opportunities. Learning a foreign language will not only allow you to interact with people in their native environments, but will also boost your self confidence and memory. However, learning a foreign language often requires substantial time and effort as the basics underlying the new language tend to be vastly different from your own. Nonetheless, persistent effort and a few simple tips can help you learn foreign language with relative ease.
You must develop a keen interest in learning the language. A good way to do this is by studying the culture and history of the new country and its people. Studies reveal that a positive attitude towards a foreign culture significantly enhances the probability of gaining competency over the language.
Listening to Foreign Languages
Any individual that is keen on learning foreign language must make an attempt to listen to it so that the vocabulary and the patterns in the foreign language are reinforced. A range of audios and videos can be selected in order to practice learning by going through a “silent period” where you only listen, instead of trying to speak. As you listen to words in a foreign language, you will unconsciously be memorizing the sounds and rhythms of the language. This will improve your memory for the way the language’s grammar works, in the future. This also helps train your memory to learn the words themselves.
Rather than trying to learn a complete new vocabulary all at once, you can start by learning a few words per day. This can be done by maintaining a list of common words that are frequently used. You can learn them one at a time and go over them on a regular basis. Another good way to quickly learn commonly-used phrases is to ask people who speak that language for standard words and sentences, then repeat them out loud at home. Don’t worry if you have some problems with pronunciation at first; the more you practice, the easier the new sounds become.
Conversing in Foreign Languages
Practice is key for speaking as well as listening, so try using the words during conversations. Only by using the words you’re learning will you be able to gain competency over the language. The first few times you may experience awkwardness that might prevent you from speaking the language out loud. However, you must understand that the key to gaining self-confidence is to converse in the foreign language, even if you think you’ll make mistakes. Embarrassing comments and a few laughs are all part of the process, and should not deter you from speaking in the foreign language in front of friends or even strangers.
Relying on a Range of Methods
You must not rely on a single method to learn a foreign language, because knowledge of language comes from many sources, all equally valuable. To get the best results, use a range of methods, from online teaching courses to taking foreign language classes. Self study methods often involve videos, audio files, and help from textbooks. You can use either a translation dictionary or a standard dictionary; for example, a Spanish-English dictionary to help you translate from one language to another, or a regular Spanish dictionary to help you understand the deeper meaning of words. Another helpful tip is to maintain a notebook that details the frequently used words you come across, their meanings, and the grammar rules underlying the formation of sentences.
Above all, don’t be afraid of speaking or writing in the foreign language. Keep in mind that at first your understanding of the language is imprecise and only persistent practice can allow you to speak and write fluently. Learning a new language well can take a substantial amount of time and you must be prepared for the commitment that is required.