Monday, 5 September 2011

Learning a Foreign Language is an Art

1) Spend the time!

By far the most important factor is how much time you are immersed in the language. The more time you spend with the language, the faster you will learn. This means listening, reading, writing, speaking, and studying words and phrases. This does not mean sitting in class looking out the window, nor listening to other students who do not speak well, nor getting explanations in your own language about how the language works. This means spending time enjoyably connected to the language you are learning.

In real life the brain is going be triggered to remember something that is either tragic or fun and comical. The brain is not as interested in the medium stage of something being just satisfied. Think of it this way for example. When you go to see fireworks are you more interested in the little firecrackers and is that what you most remember or do you remember the grand finale at the end and all of it's greatness? Most likely you will remember the grand finale and even the approximate time it lasted.

2) Listen and read every day!

Listen wherever you are on your MP3 player. Read what you are listening to. Listen to and read things that you like, things that you can mostly understand, or even partly understand. If you keep listening and reading you will get used to the language. One hour of listening or reading is more effective than many hours of class time.

Watch short films on the youtube with subtitles so you can get used to the language. Read newspaper articles. Read short blog articles. Comic books are always very helpful and fun in remember and trigger the brain with funny expressions just as cartoons also are. Watch the news in a foreign language of which you are learning.

3) Focus on words and phrases!

Build up your vocabulary, you’ll need lots. Start to notice words and how they come together as phrases. Learn these words and phrases through your listening and reading. Read online, using online dictionaries, and make your own vocabulary lists for review. Soon you will run into your new words and phrases elsewhere. Gradually you will be able to use them. Do not worry about how accurately you speak until you have accumulated a plenty of words through listening and reading. It may be even helpful for you to place a sticky note on a few objects are the house or office with the name of the object on the note written in the foreign language you are trying to learn.

4.) Write but make it fun. Many people now these days enjoy blogging. Write a short blog article (post) on a subject that interests you or something you enjoyed doing in your native language. Then rewrite (use google translate to help you) the article in the foreign language you are trying to learn. Now for one week read that article to yourself of which you have written in the new language. Don't forget the mind remembers a lot when listening also so listen to it being read to you on google translate. The following week write another one.


5.) Take responsibility for your own learning!

If you do not want to learn the language, you won’t. If you do want to learn the language, take control. Choose content of interest, that you want to listen to and read. Seek out the words and phrases that you need to understand your listening and reading. Do not wait for someone else to show you the language, nor to tell you what to do. Discover the language by yourself, like a child growing up. Talk when you feel like it. Write when you feel like it. A teacher cannot teach you to become fluent, but you can learn to become fluent if you want to.

6.) Relax and enjoy yourself!

Do not worry about what you cannot remember, or cannot yet understand, or cannot yet say. It does not matter. You are learning and improving. The language will gradually become clearer in your brain, but this will happen on a schedule that you cannot control. So sit back and enjoy. Just make sure you spend enough time with the language. That is the greatest guarantee of success.