8 useful tips to learn a foreign language
That’s it! You have made up your mind: you are so going to learn a new language!
But where and how do you start?
Here are 8 very useful tips to help you with your learning:
1) DARE: the key to learning a new language is to DARE to make mistakes and have fun with the language! It doesn’t matter whether you make mistakes – because making mistakes is how you learn. It is part of the learning process. You can’t always get it right first time round and you know what? It’s ok! The more you will try and dare, the better you will get!
And at the end of the day, it is better to say a sentence with mistakes than not to say anything at all!
2) READ: as much as you can and aloud when possible. And not only in your own native language – try and read in the language you are learning, whether it is children’s books (why not?), comics, recipe books, magazines, food or cosmetic labels – the resources are endless! Most libraries have a foreign languages section and even children’s books in foreign languages! So, why not give it a go?
3) WRITE YOUR OWN PHRASEBOOK: try and write your own phrasebook – not anybody’s but one with the phrases / sentences that YOU will need or are interested in. An alphabetical notebook is also really useful: you can write the words you have learnt, from your native language to the language you are learning (to speak) and vice-versa (to understand).
4) WATCH & LISTEN: you can watch TV (digital TV offer some foreign channels), movies in the foreign language with subtitles, news or cartoons! You can also explore music / songs in your chosen language and try and understand the lyrics of songs that you particularly like.
I would also strongly recommend buying language learning books sold with CDs or cassettes.
5) MAKE THE MOST OF THE INTERNET: the Internet is a fantastic source of resources to learn a language – you can watch (youtube or recordings of main TV channels’ shows for example) and listen to radio stations live! You can also look for language learning websites such as http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/ which can be extremely useful and entertaining!
6) DISCOVER THE CULTURE: learning a language is not just about the grammar and the vocabulary but it is also about the culture. Find out about body language, read travel guides or books about the the country/countries which language you are learning. Understanding the body language in a particular culture can help you communicate and understand messages.
7) STUDY REGULARLY & RECYCLE: practise makes perfect! But practise regularly rather than once in a while. 15 minutes every day will be far more constructive and effective than one hour once a week! Listen to CDs in your car, read your phrasebook on the train, or play a language app on your phone! And recycle what you have learnt so far. Repeat, repeat, repeat! Practise, practise, practise!
8) BE REALISTIC: this way, you will avoid disappointment! Set yourself some realistic goals (such as “I want to be able to ask for directions when I am on holiday”, “I want to be able to book a table in a restaurant over the phone” and not “I will be fluent within 4 months”) and work towards it. Don’t get disheartened: it takes time and commitment. Learning a new language can be challenging but it can also be extremely rewarding and satisfying!
And feel free to leave your comments and/or to add some tips!