Effective Foreign Language Training
Foreign languages are always fun and interesting to learn. Aside from the knowledge enhancement that you can bring to yourself, this is actually the first step to understand and eventually take in the culture of the country where that language is spoken. When you know more than the basics of one language, you start to be a part of its communication circle.
Training yourself to learn a foreign language needs persistence and determination from a beginner like you. You can’t speak fluently and confidently right away by just scanning a couple of reading materials about the language. Some people even take related courses in school but still cannot use the language well. Learning a foreign language takes more than just interest and familiarity. You have to put your heart and mind to it as well.
Foreign language training starts by exposing yourself to the language being used by other people. This is done so you can familiarize yourself with the basics and everyday expressions of the language. Watch TV programs and films that use the language with translations of the language you can understand. Watch plays starring characters with accents that are native of the language you are trying to learn.
During this time, you should be able to observe how the native speakers pronounce the language’s sounds, the speed of their dialogues, how they form words and sentences, and when they use certain expressions.
With basic knowledge on the language’s everyday expressions, you can start practicing. Use them as much as you can. For example, instead of saying “good morning” to the people you live with as you wake up everyday, say buenos dias (Spanish) or buongiorno (Italian). They say practice makes perfect. So the more you use the terms, the more you will get used to it.
You can then start reading books and training materials that teach you the foreign language. For better results, purchase books containing exercises (with key to corrections) and audio tapes, if any, in order for you to evaluate how you are doing during your self-study. Don’t forget to have a complete and comprehensive translation dictionary between the language you are trying to learn and a language you understand very well (ex. English-Spanish Dictionary or French-English Dictionary). This way, whenever you encounter a difficult word, you will be able to look it up immediately and understand what it means.
Finally, if you think you have more than enough knowledge about the language after many practice exercises, try watching a film that uses the language (this time, without subtitles and translations) or read a book written purely in that language. For unfamiliar words, don’t hesitate to press the pause button (or you can pause yourself from reading), then consult your dictionary. Do this over and over again until you can finally speak, write, and understand the language very well.
Yes, foreign language training sure needs hard work and determination. But hey, didn’t you notice it can be so much fun?