How to make the most out of a Language Learning Program?


language learning
Knowledge of a foreign language opens a diversity of opportunities for one's personal and professional life. Lots of people start learning a foreign language in adulthood, when they are faced with life or career changing circumstances: a better-paid job, moving to another country, traveling etc.

Numerous language learning programs are now available. Yet, despite good manuals and complex lessons, the learning process may go more roughly than expected. The following tips could help you overcome some language learning difficulties.

Listen to the language spoken by natives!

1) Get used to the sounds and rhythms of a foreign language by listening to radio and TV shows or watching movies without subtitles.

2) Listen to native speakers in your neighborhood if you have the chance. - Some languages, such as Spanish or French, sound differently, depending on the part of the world where they are spoken.

3) Even when you don't understand anything, try to identify word and sentence boundaries.

4) Don't watch or listen for too long, it might feel difficult and discouraging at some point.

Familiar and unfamiliar associations!

These learning tips work great when you learn new vocabulary and you find it difficult or boring to just memorize words.

1) Associate a new word with another one from your native tongue based on the similarity of the pronunciation.

2) Always learn words in context. Think of when you are most likely to use the new vocabulary and apply it to such situations. Good dictionaries provide usage examples that may help you with this task.

3) Learn related words and phrases. For example, when you learn the word head, continue with the parts of the head, other body parts, things that you wear on the head and so on.

Reading improves language acquisition!

1) Use dual-language books in addition to the regular learning materials that you may have available as part of the language learning program. The parallel texts in such books save you the trouble of checking the dictionary all the time.

2) Always choose books that match your learning level, otherwise the text will be too difficult to follow even with translation.

3) Read the same book several times, for 5 days, and you'll be surprised to discover that many of the word phrases have stuck to your mind.

Improving Grammar

1) Lots of language learning programs rely on a comparative approach to grammar. This often applies to word order, for instance, which varies greatly from one language to another. The learner can notice the similarities and differences by comparing a sentence in his/her native tongue with the same sentence in the foreign language.

2) To make grammar learning easier, you should learn lots of sentences, from various sources (books, songs, manuals, the Internet etc). Thus, you'll absorb the grammar structures without making a conscious effort in the process.

3) Focus on the regular not on the irregular patterns of the language, and you'll find it easier to apply the rule and make yourself understood.
e.g. The -s and -es ending for plural nouns is a regular pattern for English. But it is similar in Spanish, for instance.

New Writing Systems

Learning a new alphabet, a new syllabary or a new writing system poses great challenges.

1) Always learn just a few letters at a time, and not all in one go.
2) Practice writing the letters to memorize them more quickly.
3) A pen-pal who knows the language could be of great help for learning a new writing system.

You can use any of the above tips for a variety of language learning options:

1) group courses;
2) individual lessons;
3) self-teaching;
4) language exchange;
5) online classes.

No matter what learning option you may choose, practice is the key to language acquisition. The important thing is to cover: speaking, listening-comprehension, reading and writing.

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice