by Carl A Frie
In today's globalized world it is increasingly common for people to need to learn a second, third or even fourth language. Unfortunately, traditional methods of language learning are often time consuming and ineffective.
Here are five ways to improve and speed up your ability to learn a new language.
This is an old summer abroad trick that tends to be forgotten - give yourself a name in the language learning and become that person. \
For example, if you are a Westerner learning Thai you might choose "Lek," which means short. Because you are likely to be taller than the average Thai you've already got something to break the ice with.
Take it further by choosing favorite foods, cultural sites and cities you enjoy. Building up this simple biography will quickly expand your vocabulary with useful phrases.
Surround yourself with the language as much as possible. Find blogs, songs and videos in your target language. YouTube is an excellent resource that you can access 24/7.
This doesn't have to be intensive study, in fact it can be equally effective to use authentic media as background noise while you are working at your desk or at the gym. The goal is tune your brain to the sounds and rhythms of the language.
Hundreds of studies show that long-term memory is linked directly to physical activity. Think back to your own learning experience.
How is that you can recall the words to a song you learned when you were in pre-school? Probably because you also learned a dance to match the song. Language teachers call this TPR - Total Physical Response.
While you can't always sing and dance, you can use your hands to express direction, emotion and sensation. Try it, it works!
While two heads are better than one, sadly, you are limited to only using your brain. But that doesn't mean you can't tap someone else as a study partner or mentor. Learning together with someone else can be a great motivational tool to stay on track and reach goals.
Researchers have proven that learners who work with a study partner achieve more long-term success than those who study alone. So buddy up, you don't have to go it alone.
Learning specific phrases you need and will use is a great way to make fast gains on your way to fluency. Preparing for a train trip through Europe? Then get cracking on phrases you will need to buy tickets and will see on signs at stations and on the train.
Going to Taiwan to secure a manufacturing contract? While you're unlikely to learn engineering jargon, you could easily learn how to invite a manager out for dinner and impress him with your knowledge of the national cuisine.
Learning functional language will prove to be extremely useful and motivating, not to mention impressive to those around you.
Whether it is for a business trip abroad or a highly anticipated vacation, learning a new language can give you the extra edge you're looking for. Use these tips to upgrade your language abilities and stay ahead of the pack.
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