The benefits of learning a second language are endless, whether the purpose is business or pleasure. However, some people feel daunted at the prospect of starting to learn a new language, especially if it has been a while since school or university.
In today’s increasingly globalised world it is easier than ever before to gain the practice you need, conversing with native speakers of the language that you are learning. Here are some tips that should get you off to a flying start.
Choose Your Words Carefully
When you start, it will be easier for you to learn, and remember, words that are important to you. Having control over what you learn allows you to choose words that you would use in everyday life, whether that be requesting a skinny latte in a café or instructing the dog to fetch. This makes the language more relevant to you.
Add a Little Drama
The reason that many people fail to speak fluently in a foreign language is not their inability to learn, but rather a lack of confidence to say the words out loud. The pronunciation is as important as the words, yet some people feel embarrassed to give it a go. Remember, the more you speak out loud, the less foolish you’ll feel – why not imagine it as a drama lesson as well as language learning?
Find a Pen Pal
The Internet allows us to connect with people from all over the world, and as you begin to learn a language you’ll find an array of new opportunities for friendships opening up. Be present on foreign forums and join online groups to get some practice with your newfound skills.
The easiest way to learn a language is to live in the thick of it. We understand that this may not always be viable, but even a holiday to the native country is highly recommended. You can learn the dialect from watching videos online, or talking over the phone, but nothing beats being fully immersed in the language.
You can also choose a book to read in your favourite genre – you’ll be surprised how many words you recognise after just a few weeks or months of learning the language. When you come across vocabulary that you don’t know, make a note of it, and then look it up at the end of a chapter.