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When Learning a Foreign Language

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/between-cultures/201708/when-learning-foreign-language

psychologytoday.com

When Learning a Foreign Language
Suppose you decided to start learning a new language-let's say Italian. In the beginning stages of your language-learning journey, the Italian speech you'll hear will likely sound like a stream of indecipherable (albeit beautiful) syllables. Sometimes, you wouldn't even be able to tell where one word ended and the next one began.

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Listen

Listen

The more you expose yourself to the new language, the sooner you will become familiar with its sounds and structures. Familiarity, in turn, will speed understanding.

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VIEW

Copy

Repeating the sounds (out loud or in your head) will give you a feel for the language. Memorize not just words, but sentences and even songs to get the rhythm and intonation of the language.

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Read

Read words, sentences, children’s books, newspaper articles. Read as far and near as you can, whether out loud to an audience or quietly to yourself.

Seeing the language in print helps you understand word structures. It also anchors the new sounds, and helps them get imprinted in your mind.

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Talk

Create the need to talk in your new language. Regularly, seek opportunities for conversations, brief and long, with old neighbors and new friends.

Start with short sentences. Be prepared to make mistakes. Welcome when someone corrects you.

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Learning a new language: knowing the most used words

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Learning cognates

Cognates are “true friends” of words you recognize from your native language that mean the same thing in another language.

For instance:

  • Words like Action, nation, precipitation, solution, frustration, and thousands of other -tion words are spelled exactly the same in French, and you can quickly get used to the different pronunciation. Change that -tion to a -ción and you have the same words in Spanish. Italian is -zione and Portuguese is -ção.
  • Many languages also have words that share a common (Greek/Latin or other) root.
  • Even languages as different as Japanese can have heaps of very familiar vocabulary.

Interact in your new language daily

  • To hear the language consistently spoken, you can check out TuneIn.com for a vast selection of live-streamed radio from your country of choice.
  • To watch the language consistently, see what’s trending on Youtube in that country right now.
  • To read the language consistently, you can find cool blogs and other popular sites on Alexa’s ranking of top sites per country.

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Make realistic, specific goals

Language learning is best when broken down into manageable goals that are achievable over a few months.” -- Donavan Whyte

Aiming to be fluent is not necessarily the best idea. “...

Remind yourself why you are learning

“Motivation is usually the first thing to go, especially among students who are teaching themselves.” To keep the momentum going he suggests writing down 10 reasons you are learning a language and sticking it to the front of the file you are using.

Focus on substance

When signing up to a particular method or approach, think about the substance behind the style or technology. “Ultimately,” Aaron Ralby says, “the learning takes place inside you rather that outside, regardless of whether it’s a computer or book or a teacher in front of you.

When You Can’t Travel to Study A New Language

You can choose a friend who also wants to learn the language. Agree to talk in your language of choice at least once per day or whenever you talk to each other.

Your friend does not have to...

When To Hire A Tutor For New Language

If you cannot find a learning buddy ( a partner that is willing to commit to only speaking in a foreign language with you), hire a tutor.

You can also opt for language exchange with people who want to learn your language.

Learning a New Language: Preparation Time

  • Don't wait too long before you start practicing. Most people find it uncomfortable to speak a language poorly and avoid it. Don't think you will wait until you're "ready".
  • Going from zero to 100% will require some preparation. 25 - 50 hours are usually enough for a European language, 100 hours for harder Asian languages.