5 Easy Steps to Become Fluent in a New Language - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, April 22, 2012

5 Easy Steps to Become Fluent in a New Language

In the modern society it seems that a lot of us are stressing around, either it is school or work that is demanding our time there is simply always something that needs to be done. Even when one has decided to learn a new language it is not always easy to find the time or the right method to actually go through with it, and therefore I have collected some of my favorite ways of learning languages in this post, in hope that it might benefit some of my readers as well.

1. Use your useless time
My father always told me that the ones that gets really good at something, are the ones who practices when others don't. Do you want to learn a new language, but feel that you don't have time? Well, then let me ask you this: Don't you commute to school/work almost every day? Do you clean your house? Do you cook your own dinner? If your answer is yes to any of these questions it means that you certainly have time to learn a foreign language too. All you need, is a listening device, such as an iPod. There are many good programs out there, both pricey ones such as Pimsleur, but also totally free ones too. If you have access to iTunes you should check out their language learning podcasts, which comes in many different languages.
Exchange the music on your iPod for a language podcast, and you can start learning a new language right away!

2. Have fun with it!
There are many ways you can add a bit of language learning to time that would otherwise have been waisted. You can easily use a fun activity, such as watching a movie, to learn a language. Avoid dubbed movies, and go for the real thing! If you need subtitles at first, that's of course fine. It will still make you used to hear the new language, and eventually you will start recognizing words as well. When I was younger I liked to watch English movies with English subtitles. That way I could hear the English words at the same time as I could see how they were written. Nowadays I use http://www.cuevana.tv to watch English dramas with Spanish subtitles, and it gives me a satisfaction knowing that I can pick up new words at the same time I'm enjoying for example a new episode of How I Met Your Mother..

3. Get a tutor!
Learning a new language can be even more fun if you have a friend or a tutor who can help you a bit along the way. Especially if you are in a country where you don't have the chance to practice your desired language on a daily basis, it might be a good thing to get to know somebody who is fluent in the language you want to learn, so that you can ask him/her questions or even have somebody to talk to in the other language. If, however, there is no such person in your vicinity, then don't panic - there is still hope. Livemocha is another great Internet page where you can practice new languages at the same time as you have the chance to communicate with other members from all over the world. This gives you an unique opportunity to get to know people who are willing to help you getting better in whichever language you are interested in.!

4. Drill the vocabulary
However, sooner or later you have to face the fact that you need a lot of vocabulary in order to speak another language. For some languages this part might be easy, especially a lot of European languages are related, and if you already are fluent in Spanish you'll probably find learning French, Italian or Portuguese just a few steps away. However, there will still be new words to learn, and if you - like me - are aiming at completely different languages such as Japanese, Korean or Chinese, then you definitely should make sure you have a good flashcard-program to drill the new words.
Here I would recommend Mnemosyne, which might seem like a normal flashcard program, but where you can rate your answers from 1-6, and the program will automatically repeat the words you are bad at more often. For those out there with iPhone etc, check out the iSRS-application.
With these programs it is possible both making your own flashcards, or to download ready-made vocabulary packs from Mnemosyne's Internet page.

5. Don't be afraid to speak up!
..Which might be easier said then done for a lot of people out there. But the truth is, NOBODY becomes fluent in a foreign language without making mistakes along the way. Just admit it, you will make mistakes along the way whether you like it or not. If you don't try, you'll never make it.

Do you have any other advices for learning foreign languages, or do you simply have a comment about the learning methods mentioned above? Either way, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment!

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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