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10 language learning techniques

Apart from the standard textbook and classroom learning, here are some other techniques I have tried using or have heard of other people using.

1. Pick a word of the day and learn it, use it in sentences throughout the day so by the end of the week you’ve learnt 7 new words.

2. Use a whiteboard to write down words you’ve just learnt or words you want to learn. Having it visible will make you be able to remember it better.

3. Stick words up around the house/room. Change them once you’ve felt like you can remember them.

4. Read the newspaper in that language. If you’re still not that fluent, concentrate on a few articles (or 1) and try to learn as many words as you can.

5. Listen to the radio. If you don’t know about the TuneIn Radio app, it lets you listen in to other radio stations from around the world.

6. Watch the news on TV. I think the language used in news reports are a lot harder because of the types of words used but i feel it helps with listening.

7. Have shower conversations to yourself so that you can use the question and answer part of the conversation.

8. Kids books. I’m still struggling with reading kids books but small steps. Even better if you’ve read the book in your own language.

9. Find someone who is native in the language you want to learn who is currently in your city that you can have a casual conversation with so you’re using the language. One of the sites I use is conversationexchange.com

10. DUOLINGO. It’s one of my favourite apps of ALL TIME which you can use on the computer through their website and also on the app on your phone. It goes through vocab, listening, translating and some speaking.

Got anymore tips? Let me know by tweeting to @sof_cloud or in the messaging box at the top of the page.

-S.

10 things that happen when you start learning another language

1. You start accumulating books in that language in the hopes that you’ll be fluent enough to read them one day. Or maybe it’s just me.

2. You will start to edge your new language into as much everyday conversations in your native language as you can. Some friends part take in this leisurely past-time. Whilst others just don’t understand what you’ve just said.

3. You start to become really fascinated with the culture, food, people and country. (if you weren’t already)

4. You will look lovingly at your colourful textbook with pretty pictures more than you ever did with high school compulsory reading books.

5. Your room starts to become adorned with lists of new words that you want to learn. This may creep into your bathroom as well.

6. When you hear that language you’re learning on the streets, you’ll immediately tune in to see if you can understand what they’re talking about. For me, that is usually no.

7. There will come a point where you decide it’s all too hard. And you no longer look lovingly at your textbook.

8. You get over it and push through until you reach another point where you think it’s all too hard again. This is where you try and find more fun and interactive ways to learn with varying degrees of success.

9. You dream of retiring in that country with your perfect idea of a perfect house with perfect food and a perfect lifestyle. Maybe that’s just me again but surely not?

10. You’re still learning new words and phases X number of years later. It’s a continual learning journey.

-S.

10 things that happen to you in a country where you don’t speak the language

Here is my list of 10 things.

1. You don’t know what you’re buying at the supermarket. Sometimes, you can generally figure it out but other times, you either buy the wrong thing or something that you weren’t looking for.

2. You’re afraid a local will laugh at your silly question. I would suggest you ask anyway. Or end up lathering on body wash thinking that you’ve bought body cream.

3. You don’t know where you’re going. You have no idea which way is north or south, you swear your place of residence was around this corner and walking to main roads to see a street sign become routine.

3. Directions take 10x longer to figure out. Even if you do know where you’re going, the first time you take that route requires some research and memorization and even then, you may not make it without taking an extra 1/2hr detour.

4. You notice how many words you mispronounce with your ‘home’ accent. As an Australian, this is really noticeable due to us having our own special accent and our own set of words that no-one in the rest of the world uses.

5. You start to get upset or frustrated that you don’t know the local tongue and you stick out…..like a tourist.

6. Ordering food becomes challenging if there is only local language on the menu. Then you proceed to ask the waiter/waitress to translate every meal and its contents to you.

7. You are secretly on the look out for people who will ask you for directions and hope they don’t. Let’s be honest, you don’t even know where the street you’re on will take you.

8. You have mixed emotions when you over hear a conversation in your native language. Yes, I understand them and then No, i did not travel all this way to meet people from the same country as I.

9. You feel like a phoney when you start saying small phrases in the local language. Please do not engage in conversation with me because the extent of my knowledge of the local tongue does not extend past hello, good thank you and thank you.

10. You return home wanting to learn that local language. Then once you start, you come to realise that you don’t know anyone you can speak to on a daily basis to practise the language.

Do any of these happen to you too?

-S.