Here are a few quick tips for those people learning a language. Wait. Stop! Actually, all of us are learning a language all the time. And that is the first tip. Even if we are not learning a second, third or fourth language, we are still constantly learning our first language. We read and hear new words and new word patterns, almost every day. Taking note of this can help us improve our language skills. The more aware we are that we are learning, the more we can focus on new words we are hearing, etc., so that we might put them into use.
Whether it is your primary language or a language you are in the process of learning, creating some kind of structured approach to learning is better than working to improve your language skills in a haphazard way. What might be the best course of action? School is always a possibility. Take a course in the language that you are learning or want to learn. If you dedicate yourself to your studies, you will find your linguistic prowess improves. This will probably lead to more school and better language acquisition.
Self-study is always an option as well. However, it is imperative that you create your own structure if you go this route. The benefit of going to school is that professionals help guide you according to a method that works. If you go the self-study route, you will need to check out some reliable resources. You might find some online. Also, you can borrow or buy some quality books that will guide you in learning the language you are focused on.
Personally, based on experience, I prefer school as a foundation for language learning, yet other people have been successful on their own. These methods need not, and should not, be mutually exclusive, however.
Use the language you are learning. I am sure many of us are timid when it comes to speaking in a new language. I think this tendency is common, but we must work to overcome it. No matter how many books and materials we study and no matter how much time we spend in school, if we do not actually utilize the language we are learning, then it will be extraordinarily hard to improve.
Imagine if you wanted to get into great physical condition and all you did was read about it. Without doing the exercises, not much is going to happen. Work having conversations with as many people as possible, in the language you are learning. If possible, speak frequently with native speakers of that language. Oh, and watch television and movies, listen to radio and songs in the language you are concentrating on.
Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at CYInterview.com. For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.
You can reach me with your questions and comments at Jay@CYinterview.com Like today’s column? Check back frequently.