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My 5 Tips For Learning a Language

There are lots of tips out there to help you learn your new language. Most of the tips are quite useful but some are not. Everyone is different, so what works for me may not work for you.

  1. Time

Try to set aside some time every day to practise or learn something new. For me, the best time is in the morning but choose what works for you.

  1. Listen

Listen to radio, TV., podcasts or videos. The more variety of sounds (accents) you hear the easier it will be in the real world.

  1. Read

When reading, read out loud. This will help you with your speaking skills and help you to gain confidence when speaking with other people. It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake or you don’t understand a word, that will change in time.

When learning English there are lots of reading resources out there, when learning other languages, not so much. Youtube has many songs with lyrics so that you can hear the words while reading. Lryicstraining also has videos where you fill in the missing word. You can choose your level and also choose the choice mode, where you are given a choice of words, or write mode, where you guess the correct word. Many websites have a choice of language, so next time you need to look up a website see if it also has the language you are learning. Online newspapers are a very good source as the grammar used should be correct. You can also choose the stories that are of interest to you.

  1. Write

When it comes to learning a language most people don’t think about writing. Sometimes this is because they just haven’t thought about it, but often it is because they just don’t want to.

Writing helps you to get used to putting words into the correct order before you start speaking. If you are used to writing a sentence then it will be easier when it comes to speaking that same sentence.

  1. Speak

This is probably the most difficult to do. It’s not always easy to find someone to practice your speaking skills with. There are many websites for language exchange such as Italki or Conversation Exchange. Another way to practise is, as I have already said above, read out loud or sing along with a music video. For the more adventurous of you there is Sound Cloud or Vocaroo where you can record yourself speaking. If you want to get really adventurous you can make a video of something and add a commentary to it.

 

Now you have read my 5 tips for learning a new language you can see if they work for you. Maybe something else will work better for you. I would love to hear what works best for you.

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What is your reason?

There are many reasons for learning a language. Many people start to learn a language not because they want to but because they have to in school. This was certainly the case for me.

As an Irish person, English is my native language but we also have Irish as an official language. I started learning Irish in Primary School and became quite good at it but when I started Secondary School Irish wasn’t considered important so very few students put any effort into learning it. It was seen as a subject that you only needed if you wanted to teach it or if you wanted to go into politics, although I’m sure that there were probably more reasons too. The other languages taught in this particular school were Latin (compulsory for the first year), French and German. Most people only took one language for the Junior Cycle but I took French for six years (yes our school did six years) and German for three years. Although I didn’t have a choice to start learning a language I am very glad that I did otherwise I may never have discovered that it was something that I really enjoyed and I was good at.

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I think my experience in school is what sparked my interest in languages and other cultures. Most of my life I have been around people from other countries and I just wanted to learn and experience more. However, life took me on a different path for a number of years but for the last eleven years or so that curiosity has been reignited. I have travelled for fun, study and work. I have lived in Australia and the UK and I am currently planning my next adventure living abroad.

You may have noticed that so far I have only lived in English speaking countries. There was no particular reason for that, it was just the way it worked out for me. So, where next? The plan is to move to Portugal because my daughter lives there.

It can be difficult to go to a country where you don’t speak the language even if you are only there to visit. This happened to me the first time I went to Portugal to visit my daughter. At the time she was working all day so I was left to entertain myself during the day. (Now she works for herself so I can go to work with her.) I very quickly realised that she lived in an area where very few people spoke English. As a result of this, I decided that I would have to learn Portuguese even if it was only enough to ask for directions or order a meal. Now she has been living in Portugal for almost five years and has a Portuguese boyfriend and her own business I want to become fluent in the language. The more I learn about Portugal, its people and culture the more I want to learn. It has also sparked an interest in learning other languages too. Currently, I have a good understanding of Portuguese (both European and Brazilian), Spanish (from Spain), Italian and French and a basic knowledge of German. I will tell you about my learning journey for these languages but that can wait for another blog.

So, tell me, what is your reason for learning a language?