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How To Learn A Foreign Language: Top 5 Tips For A Beginner

Updated on February 28, 2013

Tip 1: Find Someone Who Knows the Language

Firstly, try to search for a friend who knows the language. If there is no one, then it is best to search for a tutor who charges affordable rates for weekly language tuition. The purpose of searching for a person who understands the language is because no matter how detailed a text book or language guide is, it will not be as effective as an explanation from someone who knows the actual language.

Besides that, in most languages there are many nuances and for certain languages like Mandarin and Cantonese, a slight mispronunciation could lead to a vastly different meaning. With someone to correct you, this could be prevented. Another reason is that, learning is also more fun when there's more people. If you can find others who are interested to learn the language, form a group with them. Then, you may even reduce your tuition costs.

Tip 2: Set Aside Time to Study

Similar to studying for other subjects, if you want to truly learn quickly, you need to be consistent in your studies. Set aside a certain time to study the foreign language which you have chosen and make sure that you stick to your schedule. If you are not a disciplined person, get someone to remind you and also stick your study timetable around your room.

Tip 3: Make Studying Fun!

To make things more enjoyable, use media to make your lessons more fun and engaging. If you are learning Spanish, watch some Spanish series with subtitles. If you are learning Korean, then catch up on the latest Korean dramas and learn as you enjoy!

Besides TV, you can also watch movies on DVDs and sing along to foreign songs. Youtube is a great place to search for songs which have been subbed and which you can sing along to like in Karaoke.

Role play is another interesting method. Imagine you are in a particularly situation and try to voice out the entire conversation you would have as if it is really happening. This would be extremely useful if you have a friend who is an expert or native in the foreign language you are learning. If there is no such person near you, there are some online websites which will link you to people who have similar interests. However, be careful with the amount of information you reveal online!

Tip 4: Write in the language

To truly master a language, you need to learn how to write in the language too. Although it is fun to use the media to learn the spoken language, in the case of certain languages like Japanese, writing in the language is very different from speaking in the language. Thus, it is important to write to a friend who knows the language well. This person could be the person in tip #1 or it could be an online friend. In the past, people would write to penpals, now with Internet, it allows messages to reach you instantly. Hence, there is no excuse to write to one another.

Tip 5: Practice! Practice! Practice!

Lastly, the advice of Practice makes Perfect is always true. So even after you have learnt the language, do not slack. Continue to practice with friends so that you can keep what you have learnt fresh in your mind.

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    • lilian_sg profile imageAUTHOR

      lilian_sg 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Definitely like your suggestion. I do know of a friend who is fluent in Japanese. and she picked it up mostly by working in Japan for a few years! Very impressive indeed!

    • Adventure Colorad profile image

      Adventure Colorad 

      7 years ago from Denver,CO

      After you've studied for awhile, I would add another tip, visit that country! I studied German in college, I finally got a chance to go to Germany last year and it was amazing how much you learn from actually interacting with native speakers.

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