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If you took a foreign language in grade school, you might recall what it was like to try to master the ins and outs of a language that was completely and totally unnatural to you. “Obscure” doesn’t even begin to cover it. (Though to some, for whatever reason, it seemed to come quite easily.) As an adult, learning a language as a non-native speaker can be even more difficult. We have had decades to become settled and comfortable in the language with which we were raised.
There are, of course, ways to get around this resistance to learning something new. First and foremost, your frame of mind will have a lot to do with it. Below you will find a few methods that have served others well when it comes to learning English when English is not your native tongue.
There’s an App for That!
This is something you hear more and more these days, but it’s true. There is an application that will fit on your phone, laptop, or tablet which will enable you to learn almost any foreign language imaginable. There are several characteristics of online learning that make it an attractive alternative. This is something that you can do in the privacy of your home. You don’t have to worry about how silly you sound trying to pronounce a word that your mouth was never made to pronounce (or at least that’s how it seems). You can also do it at your own pace. If you’re busy this week, you can hit your learning schedule hard next week to make up for it. And you can do it almost anywhere – as long as you have Wi-Fi. What’s not to love about online foreign language learning?
On the topic of online learning, there are also classes that you can take through educational facilities that deal entirely with online classes. Again, it’s nice to do this in the privacy of your home, but there may be one or two more applied restrictions (a set curriculum) than simply learning through an app that you downloaded on your own. Some people work better that way – it’s all up to the individual.
Visit The Library
This is something you may want to do sooner than later. For lovers of old-school techniques, there are books that walk you through learning a foreign language step-by-step. Not quite so old school, but still falling short of online activity, are tapes and CDs that accomplish the same thing. Spend time in the quiet solitude of the library or check these items out and take them home to study at your leisure.
It’s Not All About The Course
Finding a course, tape, CD, book, or app from which to learn English is only part of the struggle. As suggested earlier, your frame of mind is going to have a lot to do with it. There are also tips and techniques suggested by those who have already learned a foreign language that may be helpful. The top 10 of those are as follows:
- Study for no more than 30 minutes at a time and take breaks to stretch your legs and breathe in some fresh air
- Always take time to review what you’ve already learned
- Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help
- Figure out which learning method is best for you – i.e. summarizing, speaking, reading & memorizing
- Once you find a strategy that works well, stick with it
- Learn because you want to, not because you have to
- Reward yourself for achieving short-term goals
- Don’t hurry – concentrate on what’s in front of you
- Keep a notebook of words you have learned and try to use them in everyday speaking
- Concentrating not just on talking but listening, speaking, writing, and reading the language you are studying
And don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Again, with online learning in private, you don’t have to worry about sounding silly or how long it takes you to grasp certain words or phrases. Pocket dictionaries from your language to English are one of the handiest items to have with you at all times. These can also be found as apps for smartphones and tablets.
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