There are countless benefits to learning a foreign language like making your resume more appealing to potential employers, understanding cross-cultural references, and becoming a better learner overall. Here are 6 easy tips that will help you to become fluent in no time.
1. Learn as much vocabulary as you can.
To be able to speak and understand a language you need the words to be able to express yourself in that language. There are plenty of online resources that will help you with this. For example, study websites like Quizlet and Fluencia will help teach you vocabulary words and their context. Once you have learned these words, go throughout your day and act like a kid who has just learned how to read. Examine your surroundings and try to translate everything that you have the vocabulary to say. Additionally, practice writing the words so you can pay attention to detail and understand common spelling rules.
2. Immerse yourself in the language.
Many researchers suggest the best way to learn the language is to travel to a country where the language is predominantly spoken. However, in some cases this can seem like a daunting and sometimes expensive task. You can immerse yourself in the language by making a few simple changes to your daily routine. Listen to music, watch popular television shows and movies in the language you are trying to learn. Start off with help from English subtitles, and then watch with subtitles in that language once you have learned enough vocabulary. This method of immersion is very inexpensive and helps your to learn expressions and figures of speech quickly.
3. Speak the language.
There are plenty of online chat rooms and learning tools that will help you to get over the fear of sounding new to the language. Try to find a local class to sit in on to help you learn the language. Sing a song in the language to improve your pronunciation skills, and read a book. Don’t be afraid of starting off with children’s books and working your way up to magazines and articles as your vocabulary expands. Read the words aloud so that you can gain confidence using the language.
4. Go to restaurants and cultural events.
Facebook is a great place to scope out cultural events and outings where the language is spoken. This will give you an opportunity to converse with others, and broaden your horizons to meet new people. If you are a little nervous about starting off at a cultural event, begin at a restaurant. You can practice ordering using the language and enjoying foreign cuisine. Also, take the time to practice asking your waiter questions about the restaurant, the menu, and the different options the restaurant has to offer.
5. Get an accountability partner!
Learning a new language is just like trying to lose weight or working on saving money, sometimes you need a friend to hold you accountable. If you have a friend that is a native speaker, once you get comfortable enough ask for them to only speak to you in the foreign language. If you and your friend are both learning the language at the same time teach each other vocabulary, read books with one another, and practice small talk in the language. Every time that you meet up, try to reach a small goal together and practice translating each other’s sentences.
6. Think in the foreign language.
This last tip may seem a little odd, but it is the most important. Humans are always thinking and talking to themselves in their thought. While learning a foreign language, make a conscientious effort to think using the language you are learning. The easiest way to start this habit is to talk to yourself out loud in the foreign language and then gradually transition to inner dialogue. This will help you to translate concepts and ideas in the future, and it will also help you to form sentences ahead of time while you are conversing with others.