Monday, September 18, 2017

Language Learning Tips

Read Children's Books

Read yourself a bedtime story out loud. It may feel silly at first, but it will help you read more fluently. Books also tend to contain rich vocabulary. They have words not typically used in daily speech. Plus, if you read children's books from the country your in, there's an added culture lesson too. 

Listen To Music

Anything in the target language works. Hang out with some native speakers or go out and I promise you will hear the current hits in the language. Songs are fun and memorable. Singing along with help your pronunciation and fluency.

Use The Language Even When Others Don't

Whenever I tell somebody here that I am from the States, they automatically switch to English. At first I didn't mind, but now I don't appreciate it. I'm here to learn Spanish. I've been trying to stick to Spanish, but it's very difficult. If somebody you're talking to switches to English, that doesn't mean you have to. Continue using Spanish. They will get the idea. There's no point in going abroad to learn a new language if you're only going to use your native language while you're there.

Learn 5 New Words Per Day

My host mom told me to get a little book and write down 5 new words/phrase per day and review them each night before bed. I'm very glad I did. It's like having my own personal dictionary. The words have meaning and context because I heard them while going about my day. That also means they're words I actually use. 

Ask For Corrections

My host mom asked me on the ride home from the airport if I minded her correcting me and of course my answer was no. I gladly accept the corrections people give me because it's the only way I'm going to improve. People don't correct you because they want to embarrass you, though it may happen anyways, they correct you because they want to help you learn. If nobody offers to correct you, ask.

Entertain Yourself in the Target Language

Don't rely on your native language for entertainment. Think of it as free learning. Watch movies, listen to music, read, watch videos, whatever you like to do with your fancy gadgets in only language you're there to learn. I realized that while most of my communication was in Spanish, none of my entertainment was. I was missing out on some easy input and exposure to the language. I've since made the switch and most of my entertainment is in Spanish now. 

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