Learning a new language is something we should all strive to do at some point in our lives. Language learning is a particularly good exercise for the brain and it also helps in getting a better understanding of cultures from across the world.
However, it is a daunting task for most of us. The American school system has unfortunately tainted the experience of learning a foreign language for most people. The focus is on repetitive rote learning and memorization so students can pass exams and make their schools look good. Instead, the focus should be on being able to communicate appropriately in a foreign language because why else would anyone need to learn one?
The good news is that we now do not need to learn foreign languages the way they were taught in school. No one is going to grade us if we take a language course today, and even if it is graded, it will not show up on the official educational documents. We can test our language skills by communicating with a native speaker of the language we are learning. The internet has opened up multiple interactive avenues for learning foreign languages. And with these amazing cable and internet bundles, there has never been a better time to pick up a new foreign language.
Here are some ways you can effectively learn a new language without having to go through the stress your school probably made you go through.
Have a Purpose for Learning the Language
You can’t achieve much without having a purpose. The same applies to learning foreign languages. If you don’t have a solid objective behind learning a new language, you will never be good at it. So don’t just learn a foreign language for its own sake. Tie up a practical objective that will be impossible to achieve without learning the language. For example, you could fall in love with a girl who doesn’t speak your language, so you will be doubly motivated to learn her language in order to communicate with her.
This is a very specific purpose for learning a new language. Having a specific purpose helps a lot in achieving your desired objective. If you truly love her, chances are you will excel at learning the language she speaks.
Learn to Convey Greetings in a Natural Flow
Greetings like hello and goodbye are invariably the first thing anyone would come across when learning a new language. However, it is better to not sound like a person learning a foreign language when conveying these greetings. You should try to emulate how native speakers of a foreign language say hello and goodbye and not necessarily how it may be taught in a formal language class by a non-native speaker.
If you are working in Italy for example, and if you are learning Italian, being able to greet people like a native speaker will make them appreciate your learning effort. This will go a long way in boosting your confidence and making you learn Italian quickly.
If you are physically not in an environment where people don’t speak the language you are trying to learn, then watch content in that language on YouTube. Observe how native speakers convey greetings and try emulating them.
Get a Language Buddy
Until about 20 years back, the only realistic way to befriend a foreigner was to first physically meet one, either in their country or your own. Now with Facebook and other social media applications, making foreign friends is easier than ever before. You can make a friend from any corner of the world without even stepping outside your bedroom. When you are learning a new language, use the internet to get a language buddy. This person should be a native speaker of the language you are learning.
There are some obvious advantages of having a language buddy. You will have someone with whom you can practice your language skills. By hearing a native speaker in real-time, you can easily observe the correct pronunciation of different words. Your language buddy will also correct you whenever you make mistakes. So having a language buddy is like having a full-time language tutor for free.
Learning a new language used to be quite an ordeal. You had to find the appropriate textbooks with the right learning material to effectively learn a foreign language. Today we are blessed to be living in an environment where technology has made this process far more practical and easy than ever before. All you need is a working internet connection to become an expert multi-linguist.