Feb 8, 2010

More Ways to Learn a Foreign Language

One of the most popular topics covered here at the HippoCampus student blog is the process of learning a second language. In past posts, we’ve covered some of the benefits that come along with multilingualism, as well as a few methods to consider when pursuing such a talent. This week, we’ll take a look at a few other ways to learn another language.

With the advent of social networks, it should come as no surprise that cyber-immersion is good way to go for a bit of conversational practice. Some sites, like voxswap.com, actually specialize in bringing together like-minded language learners. Becoming a member is free, and in a few minutes you could be browsing through a cornucopia of possible pen-pals. There are even brief video lessons for some supplementary viewing. Of course, it might be a good idea to join such a site with some baseline skill in your target language, as the initial communication barrier will be rather big. Of course, with the right teacher, you might be able to start anywhere. You never know until you look.

Media consumption can also be a huge help. The next time you watch a movie, try switching on the sub-titles for a real-time translation to follow as you are entertained. Other possible supplementary sources include television, talk radio, music, books, news, and even comic strips- if it’s in a language that you wish you knew, try to understand it!

Vocabulary-building is critical to confidence in communication. Try signing up for a word-a-day email, or write down any words you don’t understand to look up later. You could also try pinning small notes with translations for household objects throughout your home. This way, every time you go to the fridge, you’ll be reminded what the word for “refrigerator” is in your target language.

It’s important to remember not to be afraid of making mistakes. While communicating in a perfect accent with flawless grammar is a great goal to have, it will take a while to get there. But like most things, if you break the task into smaller goals, you’ll have more fun and learn faster. Don’t be afraid of looking silly if you stumble through a conversation- most people will be delighted to see you trying to learn their language, and will probably take steps to help you out. Just keep practicing!

1 comment:

Andre said...

thank you for the insight. im currently studying korean (as a native English speaker) and its important to stay motivated. :)