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When Learning a Foreign Language

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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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When Learning a Foreign Language

When Learning a Foreign Language

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

psychologytoday.com

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Key Ideas

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.

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. 

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.

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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First words to learn

In English, just 300 words make up 65% of all written material. We use those words a lot, and that’s the case in every other language as well.

Use flash cards of the mo...

Learn 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 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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The Best Strategy
  • Go to a country that speaks the language.
  • Get a phrasebook and learn a few basic expressions.
  • Commit to only speaking in that language from Day One.
  • Use a ...
  • If You Can’t Travel to Learn

    Pick a friend who also wants to learn the language. Agree to talk in the target language at least once per day or whenever you do talk.

    The friend does not have to be a native speaker. Whenever you are stuck, use a dictionary or Google translate. But, 10% of your time should be speaking with an advanced or native speaker.

    You Can’t Find a Partner

    If you cannot find someone willing to commit to only speaking that language, hire a tutor.

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

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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.

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