Sources

Sources

These are just suggestions of different tools and mediums to help you learn and hopefully keep things interesting. Variation is key because doing the same thing repeatedly can be demotivating and may have a diminishing effect.

  • Music – This is an enjoyable way not to necessarily learn a lot but to get used to the way it sounds and see if you can pick anything up. If you manage to understand some words, you’d probably be able to pick them up in conversations. Whilst listening to music hopefully it’ll do something subconsciously.

 

  • Interviews – Find an actor or celebrity, someone you’re interested who’s a native in that language and find some interviews. These are a good way to observe a normal or sometimes slightly formal conversation and get used to the flow. It will also be very interesting to you and may motivate you to study some more! Keep in mind that whatever they’re talking about, it’s likely to be on one topic so be sure to study others.

 

  • Short Stories – Depending on your level of study, these may be children or adult short stories. Nevertheless they help you with reading, grammar and are short enough to keep your attention because doing things in another language takes more effort. If these are on audio, you can also do some dictation practice with them.

 

  • Youtubers – Youtube is an unlimited world for language practice. You can probably find people from any country and they are the best examples in daily conversational language. You’ll also find a lot of different people who speak that language, so you can get used to the difference in the way they talk.

 

  • Documentaries – This is probably for more advanced learners as the pace is often quite fast and the vocab quite advanced. They are really good for practicing your listening skills and learning something new. They will be more official and formal than a conversation so when you’re speaking you probably don’t want to imitate them too much, you might come off as stand offish.

 

  • Movies – Movies are again a good way to learn about the culture, way of life and how normal conversations are conducted. You can learn a lot about their slang and how it may differ from the textbooks. Try to watch without any subtitles then with subtitles in that language and study it through the movie. Your aim is to learn but maybe you could watch it first in your native language before studying it, which makes it easier. Watching with your native subtitles will do little to help so don’t bother with that.

 

  • Exams – Past papers are a good way to practice your reading, listening and writing. They have different levels of difficulty and answers are often given so you can follow along easily. They usually cover a general range of topics that can get you up to a conversational level.

 

  • Cartoons – This may be tedious and boring to a lot of learners but at the end of the day, if your language is at the level of a child, you’ll have to learn at that stage. It isn’t as boring as you think because you’ll be too busy trying to understand everything that’s being said regardless of the story. This will also encourage you to move on to a higher level quicker!

 

  • Books – This again depends on your level in the language. If you’re a beginner, you will be looking for books catered towards young children. They help a lot with vocab, grammar and are often quite short. If you are at a more advance level, obviously there is a wider choice.

 

Till our next meeting,

Anon Online.

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Vocab and Grammar

Vocab and Grammar

Vocab is often separated under different topics so it is easy to work through and you’re able to associate the different words together. There are many ways of learning vocab depending on your preferred method but the key is repetition. This can be done through the use of flash cards or simply writing them repeatedly. I find that using them in sentences helps a lot. This reinforces their meaning and their use. The key is not to overload your mind with so many new words within a short period of time. As your vocab grows, you will need to revisit the older words from time to time. Obviously the words that you use the most often are being practiced there and then.

It can be quite daunting know where to start, having to learn a new word for everything. There are the obvious sections such as family, home, food etc. After that it is really up to you where you want to go. This is one of the great things about learning languages on your own. You can choose what to learn according to your interests. By learning according to your interests, it gives you motivation to remember the words and won’t be as tiresome. You will always be picking up new words in whatever you do within that language. The important thing is to look up a word that you don’t understand when you come across it. That way, you can build up words that you wouldn’t think to learn or slang/ common phrases.

One of the things that put people off from starting a new language is the tiresome task of learning of grammar. It is one of the most demotivating things that has to be done and that is never ending (in its practice). When starting your grammar, it’s pretty essential to start early. With so much to cover, there has to be a plan of what to learn otherwise you’d just be lost and give up. Another important thing that doesn’t occur to a lot of people is to learn the meaning of each tense and how it’s used. Through this, you’ll have made a start and it won’t seem so alien to you. Obviously we first learn the present tense and then the past and future. We’re clear on what they mean and how they’re used…or we should be. After that, there isn’t a strict list to follow.

A crucial thing to note is that you’re learning as new language and so its grammar rules and other various rules do NOT have to fit into what you know within your native language. By trying to learn a new language within the parameters of what you’ve learnt for your own language will hinder your progress. Obviously when you’re learning a language that’s close to your own (for me – English), such as French, Spanish etc, then it’s possible to follow along and learn grammar according to what you know.

Anyway that’s enough for now I think.. Good luck!

Till we next meet,

Anon Online.