At the beginning of the year, one of the most common resolutions people make is to learn a language. But, how to achieve a good level in the language in just one year?
Even though it seems a short period of time, a year is enough to learn a language and to communicate in the country where the language is spoken.
So if you want to learn French this year, here are my tips so that, at the end of the year, you spend the holidays in Paris speaking French.
Start with the basics
To know a new language can be scary, so the best way to get started is through an amusing and easy course. Duolingo is the most successful app in the area of language learning and there is a reason for that. It’s free, easy to use, fun and has constant updates to keep you engaged. Continue reading
English-speakers have the great luxury of knowing the most in-demand language in the world. When Europeans are sitting down for business or for recreation, the common language spoken is often English. The same is true in Africa and in Asia. So, if you are a native speaker of a language that many people around the world wish to learn, you might ask yourself – why would I learn a different language? There are dozens of reasons, but let’s focus on four of them.
Work and travel opportunities
Speaking another language opens doors to visit other countries and parts of the world that wouldn’t be open to Continue reading
#HonorYourself, #HonorOthers, #HonorThePlanet, these principles permeate the works of singer-songwriter and author Haikaa. From Brazil, Japan and the US, Haikaa promotes the celebration of diversity as a catalyst for change through music and writing. You can find her on her website, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
- Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello, first of all, it’s great to be here talking to you. I’m a singer-songwriter and author and I write and sing about love in its many forms. I have lived in three different countries – Brazil, Japan, US – and one of my passions is to celebrate diversity. I think that’s one form of love. I’m a language nerd too so combining music and languages is another way in which I express love. And I have many, many songs about love, self-love, romantic love, universal love because I think it’s a wonderful way to share this feeling.
- What languages do you speak and at what level?
Are you tired of learning a language? Tired of the same advice about language learning?
Don’t worry, I have the solution!
- Study only grammar
Why waste your time talking, listening, reading the language when you can just study grammar? Study only grammar and you will, probably, have more knowledge of the language grammatical structures than any native speaker will! And, who doesn’t want to know more than a native? Continue reading
Today, I will interview the Irish student Laura Fitzgerald. To know more about her, visit shootabluejay.
1) Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Laura, I’m 19 years old, and I’m from Dublin, Ireland. I’m studying Spanish and Japanese full-time in university. I like listening to music/singing and playing video games.
2) What languages do you speak and at what level?
I’m a native English speaker, fluent in Irish and Spanish (non-native speaker of both). I can also speak basic conversational Japanese. Continue reading
I don’t know about the other polyglots, but I can’t keep myself motivated all the time while learning a language.
In June, I had a big problem to keep me motivated to study German. Like everyone else, when I start to learn a language I get very excited, I search for thousands of information about the language, materials and methods.
Learning a language is to know a new world. Despite the difficult task ahead of us, every little step is a big step forward. By learning a word, you have improved 100% in your language. Every word learned is a victory. The feeling of understanding for the first time a word in a sentence and after a sentence in context is indescribable. However, the better you get, the lower the returns.
Suddenly, to understand a phrase is normal, to read an article is no longer difficult. You are not fluent, but manages to get by in the language. The language is no longer a novelty for you. Your curiosity fades, you become fascinated with some other language, focused on some other task, goal or challenge of your life and gradually abandon the language. The result? Days, weeks or even months without studying the language.
Students with different personalities have one thing in common, whether learning a language alone or in a classroom: shame/fear of speaking. The reason for this is always the same: shyness and/or introversion.
Well, I have a confession to make; I am shy and introverted. But, what these words mean and what is the difference between them?
Introversion is closely related to energy. An extrovert feels energized around other people, an introvert feels drained, so often he/she prefers to be alone. Introverts are more sensitive to external stimuli, so when he gets too much of it, he needs to be alone to recover.
Shyness is the fear of being judged negatively, it is a kind of social anxiety. In the head of a shy person, everything is going to be bad. This fear happens not only around strangers; a shy may become anxious even with friends or relatives. Many shy people like to socialize (probably more than introverts), but fear prevents them from doing it. In cases of extreme shyness, treatment for anxiety is necessary, since extreme shyness can have catastrophic consequences in personal and professional relationships.
Everyone has moments of shyness and introversion. Even the most friendly, outgoing and confident people are afraid of being judged and need occasionally a quiet time to recover. Continue reading
Learning a language is one of the most common resolutions in the beginning of the year. And, I always get emails from people asking for advice. To help these people to learn a language in 2016, here are the resources I recommend.
Assimil is always the first course feature on my list; Assimil took the first place on my list after I finished the French course, see the review here. The course is simple; the lessons are short and progressive. Grammar is explained, but it is not the focus of the course and the vocabulary is fairly extensive.
All FSI courses are alike, but some are better than others. They are old, some more fitted to diplomatic situations. The courses are dense, sometimes difficult and boring. Take a look at my review of the FSI French course here and decide whether to use it or not. For me, is the perfect complement to Assimil. Here you can find the courses for free.
Grammar is part of a language, and to speak and write well you need to know at least the basics. There is a wide range of books; I made a post about the books that I know here. But don’t overdo it. One grammar book is often enough.
There are several websites that offer linguistic exchanges. The most famous of them is italki. Vladimir Skultety who was interviewed here, created another option the website SharedLingo.
Vocabulary & Writing
Use an application for learning vocabulary, as Duolingo, Anki or Memrise. Each has its own style and you can customize your own phrases with photos, audio, etc. Moreover, what about to train your new vocabulary writing a bit? Two good options are Lang-8 and again, Italki.
There are many more resources. But to get start and achieve a good level (B1, maybe B2) these resources are more than enough.
When we begin to study a new language, we make a lot of mistakes. Today, I will talk about one of the most common errors: the search for the perfect method/material.
The perfect material/method does not exist
Image from: https://larspsyll.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/monthly-sharpe-header.jpg
There are good and bad materials/methods. Some are better than others. Some will be better for you and your goals, but none is perfect. You will not learn a language well, using only one method. Of course, you can learn the general basis of a language from one method, but learning it well? I doubt it, and you should also be suspicious of any material or method that promises you a good level without effort and using only one material/method. Continue reading
As I said before, I don’t like to study two languages at the same time. Personally, I need to dedicate as much time as possible to the language I’m learning and it’s hard to do that with two languages at the same time. But, that doesn’t mean that I stay away from the languages I don’t actively study. I try to keep a minimum contact with the languages that are inactive, but in a way that they don’t interfere in the language that I am studying. The way I found to do that is using my “dead” time, leisure time or at work (if that don’t disturb me). Below, I list how. Continue reading