Five Tips for Learning a Foreign Language

different language booksMany students have to take a foreign language class or two as part of the general education requirements. These classes can be a real challenge, especially if you are just going to class a few times a week and not really studying outside of class. So if that’s the problem, then start using those flashcards and learning a foreign language!

However, if you are studying and just can’t get the foreign language vocabulary words to stick in your mind, here are some tips and tricks for learning a foreign language.

1. Listen to music. Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head and can’t get it out no matter what you do? For many people, words put to music are much easier to remember than just words, so if you are trying to learn some new vocabulary or memorize something in a foreign language, try making a song to go along with the things you are trying to learn. You can also listen to popular songs in the foreign language you are studying in order to become more familiar with the pronunciation of words and grammar structure.

2. Read one of your favorite books in the foreign language. Personally, I love the Harry Potter books and have read them at least several times each. Therefore, reading them in Spanish is pretty easy for me because I know the stories by heart and if I do not know a particular vocabulary word, I can still figure out what is going on in the story. This is a great way to learn new vocabulary words while also seeing the grammatical structure that the author uses.

3. Watch a movie or television show in the language with subtitles.
By hearing and seeing the words at the same time, you are giving yourself two chances to understand what the characters are saying. This is a great way to learn a foreign language if you are a visual or auditory learner.

4. Use an outside source. There are many companies that cater to people who want to learn a foreign language. So if the problems you are having are related to the way your teacher is teaching the foreign language or the way your textbook is oriented, consider investing in some secondary sources, such as Pimsleur, Praxis Podcasts, or Rosetta Stone.

5. Study abroad. If you are really interested in learning a foreign language, studying abroad is a great way to immerse yourself in the language. We also have a great resource section for How to Study Abroad that you can learn about the various locations where you can study abroad to learn a language.

Learning a foreign language can be very difficult. However, if you really apply yourself and continue studying a foreign language, it can have great long-term benefits. Some real-life benefits to speaking  a foreign language include increases in salaries, greater multi-cultural awareness, more travel opportunities to various locations where the language is spoken, and the ability to eavesdrop on other people who do not realize you speak the language.

Do you speak a foreign language? How did you learn? How does this skill make an impact on your daily life? Share your thoughts with us the in comments section below.

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