How to study a foreign language
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How to study a foreign language
In the same way that you learn mathematics, geography, astronomy and many other subjects, studying a foreign language is also a cumulative process. What you learn during a lesson or study session builds on what you previously learned. Therefore, if you lack consistency, if you are not able to keep up with your studies, it will be difficult if not impossible for you to develop the sufficient bases of language learning.
Through this article we are going to provide you with the necessary advice, to move forward and avoid neglect. We will explore the four main aspects of language learning: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Listen and pronounce
Listen, pay attention. In this aspect we must be very repetitive because sound is the basis of communication in all spoken languages . Whatever language you decide to study, the first thing you have to learn is to listen carefully when the language is spoken, in order to learn to pronounce each word correctly.
There is a close correlation between listening and learning. Learning to listen when the language is spoken by native speakers is naturally the key to being able to pronounce the words correctly.
To pronounce properly you have to tune your ear and not act in a hurry that can betray you . One of the biggest mistakes new learners make when trying to acquire a new language is sacrificing accuracy in favor of speed. Be aware that proper pronunciation doesn’t just take practice, it also requires patience. So slow down and you will learn to correctly perform the movements that the lips and tongue require to pronounce well. When you speak, take all the time you need to ensure correct diction, that is when your interlocutor will understand you.
Practice makes perfect
The best exercise to learn to listen critically and pronounce words correctly is to hear the language spoken by native speakers in real life situations. Listen to natives, records, movies and TV shows. Repeat what you hear, reproducing the words, phrases, and sentences as accurately as possible.
Hear the meaning
In addition to learning to listen with regard to pronunciation, always pay close attention to meaning. Because it will be when you are able to understand what is being spoken, when you will improve both your comprehension skills and your pronunciation. Naturally, in order for you to achieve self-confidence, you have to know the object that we specifically describe very well.
Now listen to yourself speak
It is not enough to hear native speakers speak the language . You need to hear yourself speak the language as well. Record yourself speaking words of the language you have chosen. Compare your pronunciation of words, phrases and sentences with that of native speakers. Repeat this exercise over and over again until your pronunciation is close to that of native speakers.
Focus on precision
New language learners tend to sacrifice accuracy for speed . In short, they speak faster than they can. By doing so, they are picking up a habit of bad pronunciation. This habit tends to be stronger among people who barely understand the language to speak somewhat conversationally, but not fluently. Slow down, pay attention, and pronounce each word correctly. As you learn to speak properly, your ability to speak faster will become second nature.
Learn the correct sentence structure
It helps to know a lot of vocabulary, unless you can’t use it to form meaningful phrases and sentences. Take the time you need to learn correct sentence structure and use of words.
Practice is the key to learning to speak any language. Listening to the language and speaking the language consistently will lead to fluency. When reading the language, read aloud whenever possible. Converse with others (preferably native speakers) as much as possible exclusively in the language.
Go to the source
If you want to learn to speak like the natives, then you need to speak with the natives, because there is no substitute for practical experience and for practice. Practicing a language with a native speaker will always help you to learn the correct pronunciation and what is very important the nuances of speech that are difficult to learn elsewhere.
We know that at the center of any language is grammar . Understanding the rules of your own language will be of great help in understanding the grammar of the new language you are learning. For this reason, it is often easier for language learners to learn a third language after they have learned the grammar rules associated with the second foreign language. It would be nice to have a grammar reference guide handy as you strive to learn a new language.
Read for meaning
When learning a new language, it is tempting to look up unfamiliar words as you read. While you need to have a basic vocabulary to read, avoid constantly consulting a dictionary every time you come across a word you don’t recognize. Instead, try to figure out the meaning of the word from the context of the sentence. As you read passages and sentences, read for meaning. Focus on the overall message that is communicated through a passage or sentence.
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