Teach Yourself a Foreign Language

For some people the thought of learning a foreign language is overwhelming. As children we learn quickly but as adults the challenge can be quite a hurdle. Programs designed to teach adults to speak a foreign language are expensive but you can begin to learn a chosen language all on your own by following a few suggestions.

First and foremost make a list of words which are the same in English as they are in the chosen language you’ll be studying. You can get assistance with this by visiting web sites. For instance, type “list of words that are the same in Spanish as they are in English” or similar phrases into a search engine to find web sites that feature lists of common words. Memorize these words and you’ll already know many words in a foreign language, even if they are the same in your own tongue.

In foreign languages most items are considered either feminine or masculine. It’s important to understand this because you many verbs change depending upon if you are talking about a feminine or masculine object. Just as we change certain vowels in English when we speak (I am, he is), words change in other languages depending upon the gender of the person that is speaking and of what they are speaking.

Online translators are a tremendous help during the course of learning the new language. Simply type or paste in words and phrases then select the language you want to translate to and the computer will do the hard work for you. Keep in mind that certain phrases, even when translated, make no sense to someone who speaks a different language. One example is the phrase “Way to go!” meaning someone has done a good job. In another language it would refer to giving or asking for directions. Use the translator especially for conjugating verbs, one of the hardest parts of language-learning. The best way to do this is to make a sentence in several different ways: 1) I am going to the store. 2) He is going to the store. 3) They are going to the store. This way it’s easier to see the differences in the verbs and how they relate to masculine or feminine phrasing.

During the course of learning a new language it’s important that you incorporate the new words into everyday language as a practice method. Replacing even one word of an English sentence with the same word in the foreign language builds memory and skill. Next, learn simple lists of words such as colors, numbers or animals. Start with the basics then add less common words to the list as you move along in learning. Replace English words with these words as often as possible. Other quick lists are parts of the body, things found in a kitchen, furniture, toiletries or foods.

Make cue cards to attach to cabinet doors, furniture, food products, appliances, clothing, toiletries and other items around the home. These visuals will help you learn the words even quicker.

Pronunciation can be a real problem. Mispronunciation can result in insulting someone or simply confusing them. Rent foreign movies that have English subtitles. Not only do the subtitles help you to understand what they’re saying, the voices in the film give you an idea of certain inflections and pronunciations. Renting movies you’ve seen before are a big help since you already know what is going on in the movie and you remember many of the lines throughout the scenes. This makes it easier to learn entire sentences quickly.

In addition to cue cards, lists and movies there are many books at your local library which can help you get started learning the language of your choice. Adding new languages to your repertoire become even easier as some languages vary only slightly. Pool together all your resources and you’ll be speaking other languages in no time.

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