Learning a foreign language may seem to be an overwhelming task to some of us while for others it’s a breeze. Why does that happen?
While some of us may wish learning a new language were something quite simple, almost done by osmosis, those of us who have learned other languages know very well that it isn’t so. On the contrary, learning a new language means hard work and willingness to study and practice. However, it can be a very exciting and rewarding experience.
According to researchers and linguists, children can learn a new language more easily than adults because they are much more resourceful, resilient and creative. And if they’re learning from their parents, they’ll learn the language of the country as well their parents’, and most likely won’t have any accent either language. In another words, they’ll sound native in both languages.
Unfortunately, not all of us have the opportunity of learning a foreign language as a child. However, as an adult you can create the opportunity and learn a new language. Here are the twelve tips to help you learn a foreign language:
- Don’t think that you need to sound like a native. You won’t. Just do your best;
- Find a good native or close to native tutor to guide you;
- Read your lessons out loud. Hearing your own voice in the new language will build up your confidence;
- Memorize the dialogs in your book and practice them in front of the mirror;
- Memorize phrases, not individual words. It will be easier to build sentences later;
- Every time you meet with your tutor, practice everything you’ve learned with him/her;
- Find new dialogs and/or other material online that you can listen to;
- If possible, pause after each speech in the dialog repeat it;
- Watch movies that you have already seen, in the language you’re learning;
- If you’re living in the country where the language is spoken, practice it on the native speakers;
- Watch lots of TV in that language, trying to recognize the expressions you already know;
- Don’t get upset if someone says he/she doesn’t understand you.
You will meet people that aren’t interested in talking to foreigners. They seem bothered when you approach them, and they will somehow hint that they don’t understand you. Perhaps, they aren’t good listeners. Don’t worry about it. Keep on trying. Believe me, someone will listen to you. Someone will be thrilled that you’re trying to learn his/her language and will be happy to converse with you. Believe me I’ve been there.
When I first came to the United States, I was a teenager and the American family who was hosting me had 15 foster kids. So, I had plenty of people to practice my English with. It was great that each one of them became my private tutor and corrected me every time I made a mistake. Needless to say, they first would laugh at my mistake, and then they would correct it. After they would explain my mistake, I would understand why they had laughed, and laugh at it as well. Living with those kids, helped me a great deal in my language acquisition.
So, don’t be uptight about learning a new language, do the best you can and enjoy the process. It can certainly be very rewarding.
P.SS. If you would like to chat about learning a foreign language, you can catch me on Facebook.
You wouldn’t be interested in the language of marketing would you?
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