Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tips On How To Become Fluent In A Foreign Language

Cover of "Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish...
Cover via Amazon
By Hayden Barrett

Learning a new language doesn't need to be as hard as it seems. With a little patience and lots of practice, you could be fluent and offering your technical translation services in a foreign country in less time than you imagined.


Many language classes use immersion because it's so effective at forcing you to learn new things. If you're in the country where they speak the language, this is easy to do, but you can do it in an immersion class as well. Learning through the immersion method forces you to think on the spot, which means that rather than learning the same thing over and over again, you're forced to develop your skills.


While imitating a native speaker may make you feel a little foolish, it can help you learn a lot more of the language than you may think. You will pick up new phrases and words simply by copying people. It will also help with your pronunciation, as you will naturally learn the little inflections and intricacies of a language such as intonation and the differences in pronunciation of vowels and consonants.

Be a local

If you're in the country, getting involved with a community or the people around you and their culture and way of life will teach you how to think like them and will help your fluency. If this means watching shows or listening to music that you don't understand for awhile, it will all help in the long run.

Oddly enough, even imitating fashion and the culture can help you get more acquainted with the language. If you look, act and talk like a foreigner, it's harder for you to learn the language, as the default will be for native speakers to try to help you out by speaking English (assuming they understand it). They may even avoid talking to you, as they might be scared it will be a struggle.

Study the subtleties

Pick up new phrases or words by writing them down and studying them later. Learning grammar is always a good idea. Unfortunately, many native English speakers have not learnt grammar but it will help you understand why things are done the way they are (and hopefully not confuse you more!).

Practicing lots

Practice makes perfect, as they say. Practicing what you have learnt solidifies things in your mind. Even if you do not always have the time to speak or use the language daily, there are other ways of practicing. Read websites, or watch TV or movies. Getting acquainted with a language means finding as many opportunities as you can to use it.

Be an explorer

If you have a chance, get to a place where they speak the language. It will help with a number of these tips. Even if you can't travel, you can develop the mind-set of an explorer. Be curious about the world around you and try to discover new things about the language. This is almost how a child learns a language for the first time; they're often not scared of making mistakes and are very curious about their surroundings..

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