Techniques of Learning Foreign Languages

Today more and more people are interested in learning foreign languages all because of the expanding economies following globalization. There are many institutions teaching foreign language courses. This article is meant as a guide to help you understand basic techniques of learning foreign languages.
| Monday, December 01, 2008
Increasing competition has resulted in many businesses going global and this in turn has increased the need for multi lingual work force. Learning languages can not only be a fun activity but also give you the added edge when you look for a job. It is a well accepted fact that a person who is well versed in a foreign language earns more than one who is not. There are several companies offering foreign language learning courses and several learning techniques are also propounded by industry experts that allow people to learn foreign languages easily. If certain techniques of learning foreign languages are followed then mastery of different languages can be easily achieved.

How to Learn Foreign Languages:
  • The most basic technique of learning a foreign language is to repeat a word in your own language and the associated word for it in the foreign language again and again.

  • One of the effective learning strategies include using images so as to associate or link between the words in your language and the foreign language. E.g.: For the English word rug the French counterpart word is tapis. In this case the learner can use his imagination by thinking of a carpet with a picture of a tap on it. This technique called as the ‘LinkWord’ technique is among the most effective learning techniques and was developed Dr. Michael Gruneberg.

  • Learning vocabulary in any language can be simplified by using items for association that are easily found in the city or town. E.g.: To recollect the word for vegetables in the foreign language one may use the image of the vegetables put on display in the greengrocer’s shop in your town. This technique allows you to find associations for adjectives, verbs and even genders since you use associations and images in your town and are most familiar with them.

  • Learning new words is easier when you understand their context and meaning. Likewise grammar is best learned through examples and practice so that the learner can distinguish between what is right and what isn’t.

  • While learning vocabulary it is important to understand that there are around 100 words that are actually used and these cover about 50% of the words used in the foreign language. This aspect was pointed out by Tony Buzan in his book ‘Using your Memory’. Learning these 100 words can help you to understand and put to practice the basics of the foreign language.

  • Foreign language learning can become a fun activity if you have some friends that are native speakers of that language. That way you can understand the culture of the country and the language itself. You can also put to practice your understanding and your friends can always guide you about the ways to authentically master the foreign language.

  • Foreign language learning can of course become easy if you enroll in some part time or full time course. With professional guidance, learning languages becomes easier since you often have tutors who provide instruction along with several tools such as notes, audio tapes and so on. Regular feedback is also provided along with tests and assignments so that an appraisal of the progress can be done.

  • You can also choose to study the language in the country where it is spoken. The biggest advantage in this is that you can be completely immersed in understanding the language and learning the language will be a full time activity and not just for a few hours like that in a class.

  • There are also several online courses offering foreign language learning. These paid courses come equipped with tutors that interact with the students through email, chat and even video conferencing. There are also several books and other self study material available for learning languages. CD's, cassettes and videos are also available in the market that aims to teach languages.

  • It is important to understand that foreign language learning can prove to be effective only when the learner spends adequate time in listening, studying, reading, speaking and writing in that language. Patience and a love for that language is equally important because it takes time to learn a new language.
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