Techniques For Language Practice
So you’ve taken that first step and actually committed to learning a language after considering it for months. That first step may be the hardest, but what about once you've started learning and have gotten to the point where you’re comfortable with utilising your newly learnt language skills? An often overlooked challenge is how do you maintain or continue developing your skills. Language is like any other skill, be it physical or mental. If you’re learning a new language, you need to continually use it or you will risk regressing in your skill levels, and even potentially lose it all together if left unattended for too long.
We understand it’s hard to stay motivated. Purely reading out of a text book is too 1990s. Here’s what we think is the best way for you to keep up with your language!
Our first and favourite way to practice a language is to go out to a restaurant and order food in in your studied language. This may sound like a daunting task for someone starting out, but you’d be surprised at how little vocabulary you need to get away with doing this! Learn a couple of greetings, your dishes of choice and go forth! We often do this at Thai restaurants we visit and, more often than not, fall into full conversations in Thai. Generally, we get to the point where our comprehension skills are caught lacking and have to revert back to English - but no harm done and we all get a good laugh out of it. So even if you’re vocabulary isn’t too extensive, give it a shot! If it gets too advanced, simply use an English word here and there… but make sure you persist!
Subtitles! This often comes as a surprise, but I know of many people who have learnt Chinese by going to karaoke bars often enough. From listening to the bands and singers vocalising the words, reading the subtitles and singing the words out loud - you'll find your vocabulary expanding in no time at all. However, if you’re not one to get up on stage and sing, you can still use this technique. With Netflix having so many foreign films with subtitles and even YouTube implementing subtitles into their videos, there’s a vast amount of videos and movies you can use as a learning resource. Do be aware that sometimes these subtitles may not be 100% accurate, so be sure to do your research on anything you pick up. But how cool, right? Not only are you watching an interesting video or action-packed movie, you’re being productive and helping yourself learn another language!
Travel! Duh. Let’s actually go to the country of origin of the language and immerse ourselves with the people and culture. You’ve mastered learning Spanish, what else would you do but travel to all the Spanish-speaking countries?! Challenge yourself and see how far you can get with only speaking your newly learnt language without reverting back to English. You’ll know you’ve truly mastered Spanish if you can go to Spain and fool the locals into thinking you were born there too.
But, if you’ve learnt Spanish, you will have realised that there are many countries throughout the world that speak the language. So why limit yourself to just Spain? Go to other countries which may have added their own influences to the language. See how different areas differ to traditional Spanish and have added their own lingo and slang. On that note, check out our latest blog for ideas on where to have your next holiday.
Finally, and probably most importantly - take a lesson with one of our passionate tutors. Yes. This may be blatant advertising, but we do truly believe in it! There is no better way to stay motivated than by having someone keep you accountable. It’s human nature to be lazy and defer things. Our tutors are all experienced and will be able to keep you motivated through the use of both conventional and contemporary methods.
Even just knowing that you have a lesson booked in soon will force your mind into thinking about your previous lesson or what you’ve learnt already. Without having someone there accompanying you in your studies, it can be very hard to stay focused and retain everything you’ve learnt.
So hopefully this blog has helped inspire you to go out and get started with your language journey. Keep in mind that this is but a small example of all the different methods that are available out there in terms of learning and practice resources. So whether it’s through a paid service or a free resource, we urge you to stop procrastinating and get started on your language studies now!