Overcoming Foreign Language Obstacles

in Foreign

You might come across certain people in your life being experts at several foreign languages, including those languages which people regard as 'difficult to learn'. Actually, what makes them willing to and able to learn these foreign languages?

What do we get by learning foreign languages?

There are many benefits from learning foreign languages. Knowledge or one or more foreign languages helps in work, it's an extra point while applying for jobs, and would help dealing with clients in work.

Knowledge of foreign languages help in studies, in case one would like to study abroad for a degree, or as an exchange student.

Learning foreign languages also serves as a drill for your left and right brain. In learning languages, both left and right brain are playing equal roles.

I don't think I can learn any foreign language, I'm not talented in languages / I think it's difficult / I'm too old for it

Despite of the advantages of learning foreign languages, people still are not interested, mostly because people are afraid of the difficulties in learning.

The principle that applies in learning foreign languages is the same as when you're learning other things such as cooking, drawing, etc. There are people who are gifted with the talent in languages - such people may find it easier to learn new languages compared to others.

However, not having the talent would not be an obstacle in learning languages, or any other things, because for every learning of new skills, what is most important is effort. If you have a strong will and put a lot of efforts to learn the things, then you can. Age or background of a person doesn't matter at all.

In learning foreign languages, since you are learning something new and unfamiliar, you have to be active in the learning process. Do not just do whatever is told by your foreign language instructor, do more than that.

A simple example is, doing the homework given by the instructor is not enough. As an active learner, you need to find other exercises from other resources, such as the internet, and do them.

A significant benefit from this, is that you will learn new vocabularies, because each exercise from each different resource would be having different vocabularies in it, even if they are in the same level of difficulties.

Preview and review is the simplest way of combating difficulties in learning foreign languages. Simply go through the lesson before you're being taught of it, and go through it once more after you're being taught of it. Note down briefly of what knowledge (grammar, vocabulary, etc) you gain from that particular lesson.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes. It doesn't matter even if your grammar or spelling is wrong, because after making a mistake and being corrected, you will surely never going to forget that and it is most likely that you won't make the same mistake again. Besides, you won't be sitting inside a class, learning the language if you're already an expert in it, isn't it?

I think I've been hardworking and have put a lot of efforts, but why is my foreign language skill not improving?

If you are willing to put a lot of efforts towards the learning of foreign languages, you should also note how to put your efforts in an effective way, to extract the maximum output. You don't want to yield a minimum output from a maximum input, do you?

There are a few simple ways to learn foreign languages effectively. Firstly the grammar part. The instructor in class has told you everything about the grammar rules. You have understood. How come you keep making grammar mistakes in tests?

The answer is, perhaps you don't practice enough. You're know the rules but you're not used to them. How to make you get used to them? It's easy, the simplest thing is to write a journal every night, writing in simple language of what activities you have done the whole day.

By writing simple daily journals, not only exercising your grammar, but you vocabularies will also increase since you need to use different vocabularies for different daily activities, also this activity is likely to train your memory skills.

Secondly, the vocabulary part. In every foreign language class, you learn new vocabularies - from what your instructor says, from the book, from the listening drill, etc. Out of these vocabularies, you may find some are easy to memorize - just by reading it you get to memorize it, some are hard to memorize.

Note down at most twelve vocabularies which you find hard to memorize, and put them in a box. Read them, and try to remember them. Do this everyday for another twelve new vocabularies, discarding any of the vocabularies which you already remember.

By the end of the week, revise these vocabularies, discard any vocab which you already remember, and put back those vocabularies which haven't remembered into the box.

For the speaking part, it is advisable for you to read out the texts out loud. This will train your pronunciation. You can also select a simple topic, for example 'what did you do during the weekend?' and then make a dialogue out of it, but it's you playing both the roles.

Basically you ask and answer the questions yourself. This may seem like a 'crazy' method, but when you're already into it, it's actually an interesting and normal one, for the sake of learning.

Listening has also been a problem, especially when listening to a native speaker speaking. Besides listening to the cassette or CD which usually comes along with your textbook, listening to songs is also an alternative and perhaps is the most interesting method to improve your listening.

Supposing you are learning Spanish, you can browse Spanish songs which suit your favorite genre, and get them. Search for the lyrics and their translations. By doing this, not only your listening skill is polished, but also your vocabularies are enriched.

This listening to songs method is more or less the same as watching movies. By watching foreign movies, you learn new vocabularies, even grammatical structures. There are people who are able to speak basic, simple Chinese just by watching Chinese drama series!

I think my foreign language skill has improved, what do I have to do to improve it further or at least maintain it?

Keep practicing. Practice makes perfect, but even the perfect ones still have to perfect, because there's not exact measure of how perfect is 'perfect', right?

Help others. By help explaining to others part of the foreign language they don't understand, not only he/she benefits but you also benefit out of it, since your memory recalls what you've learnt and this acts as a drill too for you.

Learning something, not only foreign languages, is like making coffee.
You need a cup - strong will to learn - as a support.
You need the coffee - effort - which contributes most to the output.
And you add hot water - effective practice - to make it a whole cup of coffee.
Without any of them, would it be possible that a cup of good coffee is made?

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Felicia Surya Pranata has 1 articles online

Article Source: http://ezineseeker.com/?expert=Felicia_Surya_Pranata

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Overcoming Foreign Language Obstacles

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This article was published on 2010/04/02