Imagine yourself at your destination country in a grocery store describing to the greengrocer what you are looking for, only to realize that he is just staring at you.
Or maybe you just finished explaining to your kid’s teacher some important issues regarding your child’s behavior, but she just nods her head, and you are not sure if she understood what you were trying to say.
How would you feel?
Frustrated, Upset, Lonely, Angry?
This is definitely not how you pictured your life overseas.
Some of you might think that knowing how to speak English can help you avoid these situations and there is no need learning foreign language in order to get along at your destination country.
Well, to some extent that is true – In most non English speaking countries people do speak and understand English, at least the educated ones do.
But in your daily routine you will meet different individuals – taxi driver, waiter, sales person, co-workers etc’. Not all of them will know English, and many times even those that understand English prefer to speak their own language.
Now, let’s assume you know a little of the destination country formal language and try to picture yourself speaking it on the street, at the grocery shop, with your neighbors, etc’.
Could you visualize the face expression of your interlocutor?
You just won his respect. He is flattered as you honored him and made an effort to speak the formal language. He will most probably show his appreciation by assisting you with whatever you need. Aaron Handel a Thai Language course author explains this well in his interview.
Even better, by learning foreign language you win the opportunity of having a comprehensive experience of the life overseas. The culture, T.V, Newspapers, talks on the street, everything gets a different meaning.
Making the effort to learn the language can help you feel truly involved in the daily life of your destination country, and your overseas experience is enriched like you could have never predicted.
How Difficult Is It to learn a foreign Language?
Why is it so difficult?
Just think how long it takes for small kids to acquire their first language ?
During their first year babies listen and learn to understand the words. At their second year they start to speak – one word at a time. Later on their vocabulary increases and they are able to take an active part in conversation using correct grammar. Only when they reach the age of six and enter school they start to acquire reading and writing skills.
Six years, and it is just the beginning, as those kids will be involved in acquiring their first language for many more years.
So, you can relax, as no one is expecting you to be fluent in the foreign language right away.
You should take your time and try to have fun learning foreign language; do some research and find the best language learning methods that are right for you.
What is The Best Way to Learn Foreign Languages?
There is no best language learning method. Each person has different preferences. Some of us learn better by listening, others by watching. Some would rather use only one language learning method while others might mix and try a few methods. Some even treat language as music.
One thing you might want to consider before choosing a language learning method is what purpose are you looking to achieve by learning foreign language ? Do you need it mostly for writing? Talking? Business?
So, the key to enjoy learning foreign language and to be successful at it is to find which language learning methods are appropriate for you and at the same time can assist you to achieve your predetermined goals.
Language Learning Methods
If you take the time to go over the language learning methods and study them thoroughly, you will be on the right track to a successful foreign language acquisition.
There are many language software’s to choose from –
Rosetta stone, Tell me more, BYKI etc’.
Or even better – How about traveling abroad and learning foreign language at a language school in the country where it is spoken. LanguageCourse.net offers some great options.
No problem – Language tapes are a great alternative. You can play them anywhere – in the car, at home, relaxing on the beach? wherever you like.
Pimsleur all audio language courses is an example for a comprehensive program.
Why not join a language exchange community where two or more people who speak different languages practice each other’s language via voice and text chats.
Then maybe finding a tutor is the best option for you.
Then you can choose to study a new language with language books.
The most important thing is – Enjoy and have fun.
Language Learning Aids
Phrase Books – These are books containing common expressions in a foreign language along with a translation, indexed and often in the form of questions and answers.
Language Dictionary – An absolute must have. Today with the advanced technology you can use any kind of dictionary that is comfortable for you and that meets your needs? Traditional dictionaries, pocket dictionary, online dictionaries, electronic dictionaries, and dictionary software that can be installed on your palm, blackberry, I Pod, I phone, etc’.
Thesauruses – Want to increase your vocabulary? Using thesauruses is a great way of doing it. Thesaurus contains lists of words with similar meanings often including related and contrasting words and antonyms.
Flashcards – Are you a visual learner that prefers using images, pictures, and colors, to organize information and communicate with others? Then flashcards would be a great tool for you.
Language games – There is a huge variety of games ? crosswords, hangman, scrabbles, etc.’ You should really try them; they are so much fun, and entertaining.
Spell checker – Do you write letters or e-mails in a foreign language on a daily basis? Do you worry if they are misspelled? With today’s technology you can use a spell checker program to correct your spelling.
Language books, Magazines and Newspapers – Reading books and Magazines in the foreign language can help you learn about your destination country; culture, way of living, politics, etc’.
Essential Tips for Understanding the New Language
to be continually fearing you will make one”
You decided on your language learning method and are using some of the language learning aids, but somewhere in the back of your mind you are still feeling insecure. You are not sure that you will be able to communicate in the foreign language at your destination country.
How can you reach a better sense of confidence and assurance in your foreign language skills?
One of the important things to do is to practice your accent and improve your words pronunciation. Doing this can make a huge difference, as people at your destination country will be able to understand you, and therefore you will feel more comfortable.
Same goes for learning slang expressions that are used regularly in your foreign language. People often use slang in their daily communication. Being able to understand the slang will make you feel much more at ease in your new surrounding.
Other than that, learn reading body language and face expressions. People give so much information with their body language. However you must learn how to interpret the body language in the context of the culture of your destination country, otherwise you might make some embarrassing mistakes.
Most important speak, speak, speak, even if you don’t know the exact words or phrases. Try improvising ways of getting your meaning across when speaking; Use your intuition and try some guesswork. You will be surprised to see how good it works