Learn a Foreign Language Quickly and Easily
Bonjour! Hola! Aloha! Shalom! With the importance of second language acquisition becoming more necessary, we sometimes find our selves struggling with how to not only learn but comprehend another language. The most difficult part of learning another language is speaking the language and comprehending when someone speaks to you. Once you learn the basics of one language, it becomes easier to learn more languages.
Learning to speak Hebrew was one of the hardest things I have ever learned to do. I went to Israel with the concept in my mind that if I immerse myself in Israeli culture and take all my required language courses in the university, then I would be fluent in no time.
How wrong I was. Not only did I not become fluent after a year, but I could barely hold a basic conversation. I had plenty of book knowledge but limited comprehension. My program, called Mechina, was designed specifically for students who wanted to study in the Hebrew University in the national language. However, there was one problem. The program had been designed for students who already spoke more than one language! At the beginning of the program there were around 30 Americans, after a year, I was the last American to drop out of the program. None of us could make it.
After dropping out I decided to take language courses in the city center. My friend suggested a place called Ulpan Or. Their motto is literally Hebrew at the speed of light. The course is two weeks long, and much of the study you do is independent. You come into Ulpan Or once a day for thirty mins to an hour (except on Shabbat or Saturday). They claimed you would learn one level to half a level in two weeks. Yeah right! I had been studying Hebrew for a year and learned three levels but could speak nothing.
Ulpan Or sounded like a fantastic infomercial, but I gave it a shot. Joining Ulpan Or was the best thing I have ever done to learn another language. It was designed by Orly and her husband specifically for Americans. The Hebrew I remember the most now is the Hebrew I learned from Ulpan Or. After the Hebrew all the teachers in the place would say, "Wow! When you came in here you couldn't speak at all and now you are speaking faster than an Israeli!"
There was no difficulty in comprehension or speaking. It was natural and like speaking English after my lessons. I learned many tips on how to acquire another language as a primary English speaking person. You can find the tips I have learned from Orly and Ulpan Or below. I have written the tips so that it is possible for anyone to learn any language.
Tips To Learn A Foreign Language
Tip # 1:Listen! Listen! Listen! Okay, so listening sounds very obvious, right? Wrong. This tip is one of the hardest ones to master. Learning a new language is based solely off listening. If you think about it, how does a child learn to speak? They listen to the people raising them and then repeat what they hear. It is very difficult to listen while holding a conversation in a different language or meeting a stranger (it is for me at least!). The best thing to do is grab a CD of music or a dialogue on a television commercial and put it in your computer or a radio. If you happen to have a CD that is a dialogue between two people, this is what you really need! Put the CD in a CD player and just listen to it for a couple of times. Don't try hard to comprehend or understand every word.
Tip # 2: Listen! Write! Listen! Write! Now that you have listened to the dialogue a couple of times, write down exactly what you are hearing in the language you are studying. This will help your brain comprehend and in effect memorize exactly what it is hearing. After listening and writing it down in the spoken language, translate it into your language while listening to it in the spoken language i.e. if you are listening in Hebrew, translate into English.
Tip # 3: Have a dialogue about the dialogue. This tip is only effective if you know someone who is fluent or nearly fluent in the language. Also, have this person translate the dialogue into English and into the given language. When you are reviewing the dialogue with them, read the English version aloud but read it in the spoken language (i.e read in English but speak aloud in Hebrew). Then do the opposite for the Hebrew (i.e. read the Hebrew version but translate into English). The purpose of this method is to speed up comprehension and translating ability. This has to be done quickly and will not work if done slowly.
Tip # 4: Listen to as much cultural music and movies as possible. While it is great being able to read a dialogue written specifically for a book, it often leaves out cultural sayings and speech habits. Watching a movie in Hebrew or music in Hebrew really is effective. To learn a new language you have to immerse yourself in their culture. Total immersion may be difficult if, for example, you do not live there. Just make sure you set aside a time each day to try to immerse yourself in the culture.
Tip # 5: Relax! Don't worry about comprehending every word or every conversation, it will come with time. When you aren't relaxed it is more difficult for your mind to take in what is being said and comprehend.
Good luck on learning a new language!
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