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Advanced Language Learning - Language Exposure, Multiple Sources, Keeping Your Language Alive

Aug 31, 2007
Once you set up learning a new language, you'll have to pass through several steps, such as building a basic vocabulary, learning the new grammar and so forth. Most language enthusiasts and polyglots agree that this is the hardest part of the language learning process, since you have nothing to build your knowledge upon. The following tips and tricks assume that you've already passed these hard times and have moderate control over your new language and want to improve it or improve certain parts of it such as pronunciation, spelling and so on.

Get Constant Language Exposure

This is extremely important in the latter stages of your language learning process. Try exposing yourself to the new language as much as possible. For example, if you're on a journey to learn Spanish, watch Spanish TV channels, listen to Spanish radio, Spanish music, read Spanish newspapers, comics, books and so on. Obviously, other languages might be harder to get exposure to than Spanish, but try and get everything you can.

If you have a supportive friend or family member that already knows the language you're trying to learn, ask him if you could (seriously) talk in that language during your normal conversations. It might sound silly at first, but it's very effective and after the "LOL we're talking a foreign language in our own house" comedy passes away, you'll be left with some good practice.

Language exposure isn't just a means to test yourself. It's also an incredible exercise for your pronunciation and vocabulary. It will also be easier for you to make yourself understood and at the same time, understand what the others are talking to you. If you can, try visiting the (a) country where the language you're trying to learn is the native language. Even a 1 week stay there will do wonders to your foreign language skills. Being surrounding by nothing other than that language, forcing you to handle yourself using it is an intense exercise that will prove enormously helpful.

Learn and Practice Using Various Sources

I really don't like the idea of learning a language from a single book course, online lesson bundle and so forth. I think if you want to cover up the entire complexity of the language you're trying to learn, than you need to do so from several sources and through various methods. This will also add up some diversity to your language learning process and take the boredom and frustration away (boredom and frustration are two of the main reasons people quit in the middle of learning a new language). Here are a couple of methods that you can use to improve your learning process:

- Free language lessons online - The Internet is a wonderful place for language enthusiasts and polyglots. Although language learning sites were on the web early on, it's only recently that they have become so efficient, with newer web browsers allowing interactivity.
- Playing educational games - These games are always fun, regardless of your age. However, they mostly work in the earlier stages of your language lessons.
- Flashcards - One of the best ways to improve vocabulary and memorize words is through the use of flashcards. If you can buy them that's great, but if you can spare some time, try making them yourself.
- Translations - Translated texts (that can be compared to the original of course) can prove to be very useful, because you can see how grammar rules differ from your native language to the ones of the language you're learning at the moment. They can also clear up some vocabulary issues, since you'll see how words are being used figurately. But don't rely on translations alone, since they can be misleading sometimes, since there are certain structures or even words that can't be translated accurately, so the author of the translation probably replaced them with something having the same meaning.

Don't let Your Foreign Language Rot

Even if you manage to become fluent in the foreign language you were studying, you'll need to keep practicing if you want to be able to use it in the future. Otherwise, it will simply fade away and after a while you'll have trouble remembering basic structures, you'll lose your hard-earned pronunciation skills and so forth.

That's about it folks, if you follow these tips and if you have a little ambition, then that language should be grasped faster than you can say "I'm a polyglot". Well not really, it will still take a while to become fluent in any new language (at least 4 to 6 months), but it will still be faster than those year long courses that you take and end up not knowing how to say hello in the foreign language you've studied.
About the Author
Increase your foreign language vocabulary at online language lessons and games at Internet Polyglot. The site contains thousands of lessons in different languages from English, Spanish, French, Russian to Hindi, Turkish, Ukrainian and many others.
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