Learning a new language is an added skill for a person of any age, especially young students who can implement learning to business and social settings of the future. In the past, pathways to learning was limited; either one had access to a bilingual party at home or one learned a new language in school. Later, additional learning tools became commercially available.
Today, people glean tips from digital videos, newspapers and actual people, even if they’re miles away. Consider the tools available to new language learners.
Teachers admit ‘seeing’ a language in action helps with reading and writing. Google Translate takes the script of a Web page, transforming text into any language desired. Read blog posts, newspapers, books and other text to enhance reading and writing a foreign language.
YouTube is one of the most-popular Web sites on the planet, offering multimedia learning experiences for those seeking education on (just about) any topic imaginable, including languages. As with ‘seeing’ text, it’s incredibly important to ‘hear’ language spoken appropriately from experienced speakers, helping listeners craft their tongue and ear to the foreign language. Use a YouTube converter to place videos on different devices or a cloud service. Make sure you remember to respect intellectual property.
Limited time is a popular excuse of those who want to learn a new language but don’t dedicate necessary resources. Podcasts allow learners to listen on-the-go, whether in the car, train, bus, on break at work, etc. Again, podcasts offer the opportunity to ‘hear’ the language spoken, an integral element of learning any language.
Use Craigslist as well as other social-centered sites to unearth opportunities to meet others with a similar passion to learn a specific language. Hearing a language is great; hearing and seeing it spoken is better. But actually engaging in a conversation is truly the best for learning a new language. Therefore, seek opportunities to interact with native speakers or those learning your target language as well. Additionally, consider volunteering at homes for the elderly; some elders would love the company and appreciate the opportunity to lend tutoring assistance.
Listen to songs of foreign languages. Often, like lines of poetry, song lyrics have rhythm, aiding in remembering words and associations. In addition to helping with learning language, listening to songs helps a listener gain perspective on cultures, found in lyrics or felt through instrument choice and music tempo.
Target and visit restaurants in your immediate area and beyond that feature culture-focused foods and (possibly) native speakers. In some languages, it’s not only what you say but how you say it. For instance, Italians are not only verbally excited, but often use gesticulations to emphasize opinions and accentuation. In other cultures, eye contact and body language is very important in addition to tone used and how one addresses people of different ages. For example, Koreans have high regard for elders, treating elders with superiority in speech, tone and mannerism. Hearing spoken words as well as observing customs helps facilitate learning.
Watch movies in the desired language that have subtitles. Like going to restaurants, watching movies allows an observer to glean an all-around style of language speakers as well as words exchanged. In addition to didactic features, use YouTube and other online video resources to watch movies and foreign shorts.
Twitter, like Facebook, is a social sharing site used by people all over the world. One can easily target a specific location like France to unearth a number of personalities living there. It’s encouraged to follow others and kindle friendships, but if nothing at all, use Twitter like a newspaper to read the foreign language and how it’s used by people in real-time social situations. As many may recall from learning textbook Spanish, there’s a difference between how a language is represented in books and how it’s actually spoken.
Google Plus is like Facebook but offers an added video feature. One may video conference with up to nine other people at once. Even if you cannot find a learning circle in your area, you may be able to recruit a number of individuals interested in video conferencing for group learning in another city, state or continent.
Learning a new language has never been easier given today’s vast amount of resources and free admission. Use YouTube, Google Translate, Google Plus and scores of free on and offline tools to introduce another language and culture into your life.
Lisa Harold is an experienced foreign language instructor. She enjoys blogging about effective techniques to linguistic success.