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How to Speak Different Languages

Updated on March 2, 2013

Just learning one foreign language can be hard enough for the average English speaking person so you would think that learn multiple languages would be extremely challenging. Well in fact it can be quite the opposite, meaning that once you have learnt one language, it is easier to learn additional languages. The reason why, is because once you have learned to speak a second language, your brain has already adopted to the skill of automatically recognizing and translating words and sounds of a foreign language, this skill only needs to be learnt once and then can be applied to multiple languages. When you learn to speak a language for the first time, it can be difficult to distinguish where words start and end. This is because your are unfamiliar with not only the vocab but the flow of the language as it will be different from you mother tongue.

Learning to speak different languages

Most of us have studied a foreign language as a mandatory subject at school for around 5 years, but how many of us have become fluent from that? Almost nobody. I suppose if you put more effort into your homework your vocab would be a little better but still very far from fluent.

The reason why? Because you will have studied the language for an academic purpose and not for a practical use. The only way to speak different languages and became fluent is to immerse yourself in the spoken language environment the following ways:

  • Mix with friends that speak the languages you want to learn. They may actually want to speak English with you however your be eventually be introduced to other friends / family of that Nationality that do not speak English. Being in the community will help you speak the language faster than you studying grammar.
  • Date somebody. It doesn't meet to date somebody just to learn the language however if you have an interest in a certain culture it doesn't hurt to date somebody from that country. This is a very good opportunity to practice speaking the new language. Even if your partner's English is better than your seconds language, don't let it put you off and keep going.
  • Stay with a host family abroad, host families in Europe may be happy to take people in and you should be able to find many good sources online. Host families are never usually too fluent in English so this will be a great opportunity to learn to speak the local language by engaging in everyday conversation.
  • Teach English abroad. Even though you will be teaching your own language, it is a very good opportunity to mix with the locals and learn to speak the local language. The danger here though is getting into foreigner circles where you only use English with fellow English teachers because it's comfortable to do so. It is very important to break out of the circle.


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    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      Yes, that was the way I learned Japanese, mixing with the local instead of hanging out in the famous "foreigner circles".

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 4 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      I just got back from Germany and picked up some of the language while I was there. I am continuing to work on it since I am back in Canada, I am only interested in learning to speak it conversationally and not proper grammar and such. I am going to try your suggestion of meeting and conversing with German's here. Thanks for the tip!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      This is great info, I remember learning French at school, uk too, and I only remember some of it now, it was too cold and calculating, voted up!

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      Thank you. The education system in Japan here is slowly making an effort to change that by introducing foreign teaching into classes.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I think the problem with a lot of foreign languages in school is that they teach you all the theory and grammar, instead of teaching you conversational skills. Your suggestions for improving conversation are excellent. For me, immersing myself in another culture is the best way of learning languages. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 5 years ago from Japan

      That sounds about right, simple exposure to the language is worth much more than academic study.

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 5 years ago from New York

      Living in the community would definitely be a big help. I found it was nearly impossible to learn much in a classroom setting. I probably learned as much French during a quick visit to Paris as in two years of classroom learning!