After you’ve established a basic vocabulary in the language you’re studying and feel confident enough that you can pass on to some more complex jobs, it’s time to put what you know to practice. The following tips and tricks are meant for people who have already achieved a basic level of understanding in a foreign language and want to improve areas such as speaking, writing, vocabulary improvement and so forth.
Study with a Friend or Form a Study Group
If you’re studying the new foreign language in class, it will be easy for you to grab a classmate and start studying together. Otherwise, if you’re learning the new language on your own, you could try looking for someone with the same interest or someone that wants to improve that specific language and help each other out. Studying with a friend is an incredibly powerful way of stimulating the learning process and you’ll be able to improve your vocabulary a lot faster. Most importantly, you’ll not just learn the words, or just understand the language you’re studying, as soon enough you’ll be able to handle conversations with your study-buddy, which will be far more helpful in allowing you to reach fluency in that language.
Evaluate Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Each person has his strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning a foreign language. Some may be better at memorizing words, others will understand grammar rules faster, or get a good grip on pronunciation with ease. To the same extent, one person might have troubles with any of the above mentioned areas. But language lessons and course books don’t care about this. They have straight on, step-by-step requirements that you need to follow, however you should adapt your own strengths and weaknesses to this learning process.
For example, if you’re having problems with the grammar and you can’t really get a correct sentence without checking the book, but the course has already passed on to, say, vocabulary, do you continue? Of course not, you should make sure you have covered everything up before moving on, or you might end up with serious holes in your learning that can prove important later on.
However, if you find yourself flying through a chapter and you’ve already got a good grasp on what they’re trying to explain, but the course goes on and on for 20 more pages about the same thing, you should skip them. It’s all about making your language lessons efficient and evaluating your own strengths and weaknesses so that you know what to emphasize on or what to lay low with.
Find Your Own Language Learning Pace
This is sort of complementary to No. 5 since your pace will mostly be determined by your strengths and weaknesses. The most important thing to know is that you should set your own boundaries. Don’t let a course book or a free online language lesson tell you “It’s time to move on to the next chapter”. You’ll have to decide when to move on and you should only do so when you’re fully confident that you got everything right so far. Remember, skipping or not fully understanding a part of your new language is like taking a card out of the base of your card castle. Sure, there’s a chance it will still hold based on the other cards, but you’ll be left with quite a shaky castle..
Practice Consistently and Efficiently
One thing I don’t like about course books is that they give you set time limits for studying. “Study 1 hour each day for 2 months” and the likes. I’d say you will be better off simply studying consistently, as much as you feel comfortable with, otherwise it won’t be efficient. If you’re going to go study for 1 hour simply because you’ll “ruin the program your course book gave you” then that right there is very inefficient. If that’s your only motivation, you’ll probably be very unfocused, thus inefficient when studying.
You should always study when you’re in the mood to do so and not forced by any other factors. Otherwise you’ll lose a lot of time mindlessly reading stuff in your new language, but not assimilating anything. In addition, frustration and nuisance will build up and when that happens, many people simply quit. If you study consistently and efficiently and you’ll actually see some results, that will give you enough motivation to study the next day and the next and so forth. One last note regarding language learning efficiency: follow tip number 3 and eat the information with a small spoon. You don’t want to overwhelm your brain with new information.
Increase your foreign language vocabulary at online language 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.