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10 easy-to-follow tips to learn a foreign language

Learning a foreign language is an exciting experience. And in the beginning the motivation is high... But as time goes by priorities change ;-) Are you getting better and better at avoiding to read that grammar book you should read? Well, what you really need now are strategies to keep the language-wheel spinning in your head. Dicipline is one good way to go, but for those of us who miss that virtue, lets take a look at some good strategies that are more fun...

1. Listen to music:
Find music wirtten in the langeuage you want to learn. Try to memorize the lyrics, sing them along. This will help you a lot in remembering phrases and grammar. Your brain will subconsciously recognize patterns that will just come out when you need them in a conversation. This is especially usefull because you repeat, hear and practice not only the words and the grammar, but also the rythm and sound of the language. As you try to sing along you playfully practice pronunciation. (Note: Purely instrumental music as well as operas are not recommened ;-> )

2. Read comics:
This is especially usefull if you are beginning to learn a language. Its how children learn and practice. Your brain will remember images and make a connection to the vocabulary used. This is much more natural than memorizing a "mathematical equation" word1 = foreignword2.

3. Read books:
Read books written in the language you want to learn. Buy a good dictionary and make notes while you read. The beginning is hard. Dont expect to understand every single word and phrase. But you will see how your vocabulary slowy keeps growing.

4. Read online newspapers:
Read online newspapers (e.g. one short article a day). You can also print it out and read it before going to bed. If you heard the news during the day you maybe know the context already which will make it easier to understand. OR: when you like reading gossip, you will probably have no problem in understanding that Brad Pitt and Angelina have a dirty little secret, even if its written in Burundi ;-) (Just to make sure: The author does not know of any such dirty little secrets)

5. Read slowly:
Give your brain time to produce images. This is one of the main reasons why its easier to learn "while you are young". The older you get, your brain does not bother anymore to imagine situations or to create new associative images. The older you get you just "stick labels" on "information". Allow that the new language creates a new world inside your brain.

6. Dont be afraid of mistakes:
Making mistakes is part of every learning process. Dont be afraid of them. Don't make a difference for yourself between learning (alone in the darkness with your dictionary) and using the language (in a conversation). You don't have to be perfect in a conversation. No matter if its written or spoken. Learn some important phrases first that you can use in a conversation: "What does X mean in your language?", "How do you express X correctly?", "Do I pronounce it right if I say X?". Those and similar questions can help to break the "uncomfortable silence" when trying to express something in a foreign language.

7. Watch foreign movies:
With or without subtitles. Try to find one of your favourite movies in the language you want to learn. This will not be possible for all languages, but there is youtube. Look for small funny clips or comedy. Learning a language can be fun - it always should be :-)

8. Listen to podcasts:
There are podcasts out there in every language on every topic. Get a podcast guide in the language you want to learn and start downlaoding. Start diving headfirst into not only into the foreign language but also the culture.

9. Find a personal trainer:
The most efficient, but also most expensive way of learning a language is to find a native speaking personal trainer for private conversations. HEY WAIT. Expensive? Its free. There is somebody out there who wants to learn your language. Somebody who can teach you his/hers. Find a native speaker. Here. Right now. Register...

10. Find a pen friend:
Find someone around the world who can teach you and whom you can teach. A short conversation on your favourite Instant Messenger or even via email every day keeps you in touch with the language you want to learn. What about a good morning from Rome or Paris when you're about to go to bed in New York or San Francisco? Think global ;->

Comments

Thank you very very very

Thank you very very very much for this useful article.

Thanks man, now I have to

Thanks man, now I have to find out anybody :)