The Best Way to Learn a Language, by Jessica Kane

I recently received this article via email, from a writer.  I thought it was worth publishing, as she makes some good points 🙂

The Best Way to Learn a Language

Learning a language has multiple benefits for your personal, academic and work life. Studies have shown that language learning increases cognitive abilities, academic achievement and cultural awareness. However, learning a language is also challenging and time consuming. Below introduces the five best ways to learn a language.

Constant Practice

Most language learners are confused or frustrated when they cannot learn a language after regularly attending a language class and doing homework. However, language learning requires constant focus and awareness throughout the day. Carry a pocket dictionary and notebook with you at all times. Use this to review, write down new words and study throughout the day. The first step in language learning is getting your mind to think in the foreign language and this cannot be done through only a few hours a week. Practice in your head through having fake conversations with yourself.

Interactive Language Learning

These websites combine free lessons with the ability to chat with native speakers. These websites blend learning systems within a social network platform. As a result, anyone around the world can learn a language through formal lessons and informal chatting with native speakers. In fact, being able to casually chat with others, ask questions and make friends is essential to all language learning. Some of the most popular interactive language learning websites includes Livemocha, Italki and Busuu. On the other hand, Duolingo and Babble primarily offer language learning lessons and activities.

Movies and TV Shows

Movies and TV shows are one of the best ways to learn a foreign language. Doing so allows the learner to get used to the rhythm of the language, increase their listening skills and understand the culture. Most language learners are in their native country and thus do not have contact with native speakers of their target language. However, watching movies and TV shows allows the learner to create a pseudo-linguistic environment that will increase their linguistic and cultural exposure and understanding. In fact, one of the biggest obstacles that language learners face is that they only learn stiff and formal vocabulary, grammar and dialogues from language books, tapes and videos. Movies and TV shows deliver a constant stream of modern, conversational phrases and idioms that will accelerate your language comprehension and fluency.

Practice with Native Speakers

One of the benefits of diversity is that language learners can interact with foreign language speakers. There are different local options that you can pursue. Propose a “language exchange” meeting with a native speaker of your target language that you know. Many local libraries offer language practice opportunities for popular languages. Enroll in language class at your local community college. Attend local cultural fairs or festivals to meet people. Use an online resource, such as Meetup, to find a local language group in your area. Finally, use internet forums or popular sites to advertise for a local language partner.

Travel Abroad

The ultimate way to learn a foreign language is to travel abroad. Doing so will broaden your worldview, encourage you to mature and provide ample opportunities to practice your language skills. Instead of staying within the safety of a tour group, consider traveling on your own. While most people are naturally nervous about traveling abroad, they will be surprised to find how helpful and hospitable foreigners can be. The internet allows anyone to easily plan a trip and reserve transportation, lodging and other activities well in advance.

To summarize, constant practice, interactive websites, movies and TV shows, practicing with native speakers and traveling abroad are excellent ways to develop and improve your language skills. Learn more about the proven benefits of language learning from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), here.

Jessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in interior design and home decor. She currently writes for Designer Drapery Hardware, a leading vendor of all types of drapery hardware such as rods, finials, and brackets.