Let's start with the obvious â€“ take classes. There are many services available with a wide range of costs. Check out your local community college, Berlitz or a private tutor. Newspaper classified ads usually have listings.
You can also rent movies that you love and know the lines by heart, then watch them dubbed in the language you want to learn. You'll be amazed at how suddenly you "know" exactly what they are saying! Try listening to the language's music and look up the lyrics and sing along. Get a book or magazine and read aloud (or online material) - this will help your pronunciation. Start with children's books then move up to harder stuff later.
In order to really learn the language though you need to immerse yourself in the culture that speaks the language. That means an extended visit to or even better living in another country. Take some risks and expose yourself to a little bit of embarrassment. The best way is to associate with people that do not speak any English so then learning the new language becomes vital to communication.
Some fun ideas (for when you visit or live in the foreign country):
- Imitate: Copy the accents, gestures and intonations of people that speak the language you want to learn. This works because you recruit other senses in the learning process.
- Volunteer: There are numerous non-profit organizations that look for volunteers to work with children. Kids are much more tolerant to language mistakes than adults
- Shop: Even if you aren't going to buy, act as if you are. No good sales person will shoo you away just because you can't speak their language well.
- Take classes and attend lectures about things you enjoy: Whether it is horseback riding, art, cooking, music, dance, or whatever. Your natural desire to learn will stimulate your language skills. Another plus -- teachers tend to be more patient with you than the typical person on the street.
- Listen to the radio talk shows. Watch TV.
- Date someone who only speaks the language you want to learn. For singles only!
This is important; learn how to say and NEVER be afraid to say, "I don't understand." Don't be intimidated. Be brave, courteous and patient and you will eventually learn to communicate in a foreign language.