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Tips on Learning a Foreign Language

By Edited Oct 30, 2015 1 0

Many people have the goal of learning another language. Maybe it spawned from the movies, you know, how the spy agent is able to speak in flawless Russian or Chinese to fool his enemy, or maybe idea of finding an exotic lover excites you. Either way, learning another language can be tough but using these tips below you'll make your learning experience easier and more enjoyable.

The Lovers(107985)
Credit: Pál Szinyei Merse [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sign up for free language lessons online

The internet has made it extremely easy to find resources to learn another language. Just type “learn (YOUR TARGET LANGUAGE) online” and you'll find thousands of links to free podcasts, websites, blogs, and educational resources for your target language. One of the best websites for free language lessons is www.livemocha.com. Offering lessons from basic to advanced, livemocha.com allows you the chance to get yourself familiarized with your target language. Aside from that, many websites now offer podcasts so you can learn everything from the basics to an advanced level.

 

Use all of your senses

In order to learn a language you need to immerse yourself in it, and that means using all of your sense. Listen to it, speak it, touch a book (or a lover!), smell and taste the food. All of your sense will contribute to a better understanding of the language, its people and culture. When you're comfortable, try writing in your target language. I can almost guarantee you that your first few or more writings will be garbage, but they will improve if you stick with it. Writing allows you to see how the letters of the alphabet combine to make the words you are trying to speak. Furthermore, it is proven that the more sense you use in learning a language the more successful you will be. Plus, writing is silent so no one can hear your mistakes. Once you're confident enough, start talking! Listen to what others are saying and how they say it, repeat it, and then try your own sentences.

 

Travel

There is probably no better test for your language skills than travelling to the country of your target language. And will you ever be humbled. Want to learn French? Try Quebec, Canada or Paris, France. Spanish? How about Barcelona, Spain or Buenes Aires, Argentina? Chinese? Hello China or Taiwan! Russian? Try Kyiv, Ukraine or Moscow, Russia! Not only will you be able to experience another culture, you'll learn the difference between what your teacher has been telling you and how the natives speak on a day-to-day basis. Further, by visiting the country of your target language you'll develop a deeper understanding of the nuances of the language and the culture that supports it.

 

Learn The Most Common Words in English

Learning the basics of a language doesn't need to be complicated. As a matter of fact, memory expert Tony Buzan suggests that 50% of all words used are comprised of 100 common words. Words such as "a/an", "after", "I", "please", "same", "sometimes", "they", etc. This list allows you to focus in on a specific goal which, at the end of it, you'll be able to make very simple sentences. After that, try...

 

Tim Ferriss' How to Learn a Language

Tim Ferriss, author of the popular 4-Hour Work Week, offers an amazing method from which you can quickly learn just about any language. Forget about sitting down to study grammar tables or noun declensions, those can come later. The best way to learn a language is to learn something functional and relevant to your life. Mr. Ferriss suggests that the ideal system for learning a language is based on three things: Effectiveness (Priority)Adherence (Interest), and Efficiency (Process). He then provides a list of the 100 most common written and spoken words in English. I urge you to take a look at how he deconstructs the grammar of just about every language in the world. Simply learn the past, present and future tense of a few important verbs combined with some nouns and you'll be able to being making more complex sentences than just knowing words alone.

And with that you should have a pretty good idea of how you can make your dream of learning a foreign language com true. Have fun and good luck!

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Bibliography

  1. Tony Buzan "How To Learn A Foreign Language." Mind Tools. 03/08/2012 <Web >
  2. Tim Ferriss "How to Learn Any Language in 3 Months." Four Hour Work Week. 03/08/2012 <Web >
  3. Tim Ferriss "How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour." Four Hour Work Week. 03/08/2012 <Web >
  4. "Livemocha.com." Livemocha.com. 03/08/2012 <Web >

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