We live in a melting pot. We are surrounded by different nations, people and cultures and yet we find it very difficult to learn a foreign language. Why does the ability to speak a foreign language seem to be always limited to the most eloquent and studious of people? School doesn't always help while living and travelling abroad can be a pretty expensive business. So, what else can we do to learn a foreign language ? The next tips will hopefully make this seemingly difficult task appear a lot easier without even having to leave the comfort of our own house.
1) Socialize. Form a circle of foreign-speaking friends, bilingual friends if possible. Ask them to speak their language in front of you while they translate and make easy examples at the same time. That way you’ll be able to pick up some basic words and easy phrases.
2) Read. Go to your local newsstand or bookstore. Start with easy learners and books for foreigners and evolve progressively. Get some good dictionaries. It’s important that you don’t hurry to change levels, as this will discourage you. Visit some of the online bookstores, like Borders, BN, and Amazon, where you can find a lot of books in the language they were written in.
3) Get satellite television. It’s important that you hear the foreign language as much as you can and in its correct pronunciation. Record some of the programs and watch them again and again. Try to pick up some words, which may seem familiar to you and with the help of your dictionary try to form small phrases. Compare them with what is being heard on TV.
4) Interact online. I can never emphasize the importance of interacting with other people. Luckily, those who don’t have the luxury of travelling abroad and meeting foreign people can now interact from the comfort of their own house. How? Through online chat rooms.There are various foreign chat rooms on the net where natives go to speak with their "compatriots". One example is 'Enlaces de chat Espanoles' (http://usuarios.lycos.es/hicarus/photoalbum0.html ) which offers various chat services for Spanish speakers. www.cum.fr is another very famous chat room in France for French speakers who want to meet other people for friendship and more. Similarly, it is worth checking the websites of all major TV channels as the majority of them offer chat services for the diaspora living abroad. Use Google to find chat rooms in your preferred language and you might be surprised by what you are going to come up with. www.studentsoftheworld.info is another very interesting site for foreign language students who want to make new friends from all over the world.
5) Listen to online radio. Radio-locator is a very interesting site for those who want to listen to radio from the four corners of the world. Give it a try at www.radio-locator.com and listen to everything from cultural programs in Paraguay to Australian folk songs to Italian language programmes.
6) Pronounce correctly. Pronunciation is equally important when it comes to learning a foreign language correctly. Fortunately, there are some very good audio-visual programs today which can assist you in this vocation. There are of course various language kits in the market today as well as language programmes on TV but you can do that online, also. When it comes to picking up a foreign language via the Internet, be aware that there are websites that offer Real Audio files to help you learn a language in its correct pronunciation. One website with such resources is Wanna Learn (http://www.wannalearn.com/Academic_Subjects/World_Languages/ ) where you can choose from 32 different languages.
During the communication process between two people there are two actions that take place: the encoding of a person’s ideas and feelings into a message (symbols) and its direct decoding into new ideas and feelings, which will be received by the second person. Conversation is the means by which people draw near to one another with sympathy and pleasure and it is obvious that this procedure can become a bit more complicated when the language you speak is not your own.