There are two styles of foreign language learning: First, learning the language by learning the grammar of the foreign language in your own language. Second, learning a foreign language by living among the native speakers and without the help of the grammar.
What if I say you have got the third option too? This is what I’m going to show you today. But first, let’s talk about why do you need to learn a foreign language?
There are many beautiful logics attached to this. And learning a foreign language is integral if you are traveling abroad, living & studying in a foreign country. Adding many charms in your personality, it always returns a ‘true’ for multiple values (reasons), i.e.
“To be able to interact with the locals, competent to carry out some creativity in another language, understanding that employers like it and importantly becoming smarter to influence abroad.”
It’s a Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes. Overall, you can say it is a beneficial investment to spend your time in a foreign language learning.
Gearing Up Your Foreign Language Learning
I use to relate this example very often, in fact, I always do. My Chemistry teacher was having (I haven’t met him for years) a brother with a craze of learning English as a second language. Because he was living in a non-English speaking country, it was very rare to find an English speaker throughout his town. Means, minimal chances to speak to a native or any other English speaker.
This man began with the learning English grammar. And then he started speaking in broken words (as much as he knew). With non-English speakers around, he used to speak by himself, with his pillow, or an American’s dummy (a giant poster of Tom Cruise) which he had glued to a wall in his room.
His motivation wasn’t coming to an end, he had been struggling hard, using all the available sources (usually very low) at that time. During cricket matches, he put his Television on mute and used to entertain his family/friends with his broken commentary in English. He was getting good and then he happened to meet an Englishman in his town. He threw his bicycle and run off to catch that Englishman. It was the happiest day of his life when he happened to talk to a real and native English speaker in English for a few seconds. That’s it.
It was quite motivating for me and I’m sure it will work for most of you self-guided learners too. Alright, so here are a couple of lessons you could extract from the above:
An Easy Four Step Mantra
You can take the following steps to enhance your foreign language learning.
Step No.1: Let Your Passion Drive You
You have to realize yourself how much do you need it. How important is it for you to walk on that track too.
And for this, you can try anything that comes into your mind at first. For me, I’ll go open my laptop and log into my language learning website. I’ll spend enough of hours in learning the fundamentals of that language, let say, French. After that, when I’ll feel saturated, I’ll go to my Facebook page to find if someone in my friend list speaks French (The language I’m currently trying to learn). I’ll update my status:
“If someone want to chat in French?”
Hopefully, if I find one or more (being lucky) we’ll be exchanging ideas for the next few minutes. Who knows, if I get to meet my language buddy during that. Meanwhile, I may have to go through a little struggle to translate the text from French to English to make it understandable for me. And to translate from English to French back to make it understandable for him/her too. It’ll be a little fun and I’ll have fallen in love with French (the language I’m learning) so far. Which will be a good thing BTW?
And for the next few weeks, I’ll be repeating that routine until to make French, mine. Though it’ll turn in different phases, sometimes good, sometimes bad. But my passion will be motivating me, driving me to get it done. And I’m sure I’ll get new ideas organically if I keep sticking to it.
Along with that, there will be a little change in my other activities too accordingly. I’ll try to react as if I belong to French, totally.
Music: If I’m listening to a song, I’ll be listening to it in the language I’m currently learning, and you know that it’s French. Don’t you? Ha-ha! Alright.
Movie: Watching the movies in the French language. Obviously!
Outfits: Warning a t-shirt having a sentence or a word of the French language on it. Keeping a wallet with the roots of that language (French).
Researching: I’ll be researching who is who in French. Some notables, celebrities, singers, writers, politicians, some interesting facts about the language and other connected stories. Like, Paris is the most beautiful city in France, and it is considered the most romantic place on the planet. I’ll go fetch some handy information about it too.
All this will hook me up more deeply with the French language.
Step No.2: Learn The Basics And Bring Them In Use
To get a start and trap yourself in the love of that foreign language you are learning is to learn the very basic words first. Like a few abusive words that the native speakers use to insult some other. You may be thinking I’m crazy, but trust me, this is magnetic. This is absolutely Fu_kingly charismatic.
Because it attaches our emotions, our curiosity with it. We are so much thrilled to know what do people used to say it in France for it. Like how do people say “F_ck You” in France, like in French? What do they say when they are angry? How do they react when they are extremely, overwhelmingly happy? Etc, etc.
You can just add them to your current language and hook those words in your daily routine. It may sound a kind of obsession but it works.
This will give you an extra push towards learning it much more. And then more words of that language. Kind of a way to increase your vocabulary.
It is because, I am presuming, you are a 21st century’s generation who is going through the year two thousand and sixteen. If you do not feel that, or you think this is nonsense or gross. Or it might be a little unhealthy, (or) you are just not comfortable with that, then go for this:
Try thinking in that language you’re learning. Thinking is a process that is directly attached to the language. We humans think in one language or the other. Most probably, Frances thinks in French, English in English and Malaysians in Malay.
When you try to think in the language you are learning, it lubricates the process of learning and understanding that language. It gets the rhythm and gives it a flow. Sometimes you’ll feel that the words are sticking in your throat and all you want to do is to utter them right in front of you. So,
a. Try to write an article
b. Poetry maybe
c. Any other genre
Say you have started learning French as your second language and you have learned only 10 words of it so far. What would you do with those 10 words? Let’s imagine doing a little fun with those ten buddies:
Step No.3: Listen to Others Who Speak That Language
This will unveil much of the secrets of the language you are learning. You’ll be able to know the correct pronunciation. The special events when special words are spoken. The rise and fall of the speech, the facial expressions, and the dialogue delivery.
Speaking is a little different than writing. Words are often omitted, untold, or modified when speaking and talking. If you are a non-English speaker, and you have never ever been among the native English speakers you can’t guess that the word ‘goin’ is actually the word “Going” and “ge in” is the word “get in” OR “getin” is “Getting”. I.e. and some other stuff like that.
You’ll not be able to get all those kind of words or phrases until your mind gets familiar with that. To do this, try having your evening coffee in a coffee bar filled with the native speakers. Gradually you’ll get familiar with the voices, accents, and articulations.
Watch movies with subtitles. Normally subtitles are written in the same manner as the dialogue is delivered. To make it sense to you clearly, you can always pause, backward or repeat the process.
Step No.4: Speak As Much As You Can
Talk to others, talk in the air, talk too much in a day. It is said, the better way to learn a language is to talk in the language.
To get it done, listen to a song (obviously in the language you’re learning) and try to sing it in your voice, in your way. Sing it loudly, or maybe you want to put it into the recorder. See how it work, and if you come up with some interesting stuff put it on your social media. This will (sharing with friends) build a silent confidence (on getting good or bad remarks from them) in you.
While I’m writing this article I’m still thinking in the background if what language should I start learning next. OK, I’m sure you guys are also pretty inspired so far. What about you? What language are you going to learn next? Put it in the comments, say ‘Hi’ and tell me what are you up to?