Useful tips for learning a foreign language 9/13/2015 • Lynda Weappa
We are living in the epoch of globalization and many people come to realize that it's necessary to know more than just one language. But for grown-ups to learn a foreign language is not always an easy task. Here are several tips from polyglots who know the secret of mastering any language in a short time.
1. Many believe that one can learn grammar just from watching films in the target language (if one understands at least something) and notice the expressions and grammar. Perhaps you'll be surprised but it really works, but in order to notice something and then remember it, you should watch films more than once! First time concentrate on the story, after that try to notice grammar and expressions. On the 3rd/4th etc watch, predict some lines that you remember and compare with what the actors say. Some may find it boring to watch the same movie for several times, but the results will surely exceed your expectations!
2. If you learn something new and then do not revise it you'll forget 50 percent of the material in the first 2 days and 100 percent in the first 6 days! So, spend al least 5 minutes every day going through the material you've learnt in the past 4 days. DON'T just go over your notes: test your memory! Write down as much as you remember in 90 seconds and then look through your notes.
3. They say adults are worse at learning languages than kids. It isn't true. Adults are better if the conditions are the same. The only thing kids are better at is learning without noticing (that's why kids don't have problems with grammar if there are no lessons and adults do). But if you know the basics of grammar and regularly practice listening out for grammar and vocabulary, you can compensate for this!
4. Speak the target language from day one! Even if you have memorized only a couple of phrases try to use them. It's a great mistake to think that first you should learn a lot of grammar and vocabulary and only then you may start speaking.
5. Find a 'language buddy' – a person who'll try to understand you and will never correct your mistakes. This will definitely help you overcome the language barrier.
6. Find a person who'll talk to you and who'll correct all your mistakes. This may be also very helpful, but try to put down all your mistakes so that you can revise them once in a while.
7. Speak to yourself in the target language every day (you may do it in the shower or while driving a car etc). Speak about yourself – about how your day went or what else you'd like to do today. The main thing here is to speak!
8. Some teachers say that learners should try to speak without any mistakes. Bad idea! It's better to first say and then think/self-correct – we learn from mistakes. If you notice your mistake, always self-correct – this will help your brain to replace the wrong algorithm with the right one over time.
9. While learning new vocabulary use different memorization techniques, for example, try to visualize it.
10. You need to study the rules of reading and practice pronunciation. If you know how to pronounce things, you'll also understand much more when you listen!
11. It's important to learn to think in the target language. You can do that in the following ways: a) no-English time - listen to a simple story with closed eyes and visualize it. Don't allow yourself to translate anything! b) pick an object in the room. How much can you say about it with the target language you've got? Don't allow any English thoughts into your brain.
12. Relax and enjoy yourself, whatever you do!
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