First things first, you are going to need positive feedback. That means you need a way to measure your goal of learning the new language. Whether this includes tracking your progress or actually trying to speak the language with someone fluent in it doesnít matter. What does matter is that you have a way to gauge that youíre really learning. Otherwise you may get frustrated and give up long before you get anywhere at all.
Secondly, you need to follow a step-by-step course that progresses from easy to hard. It should also do this slowly. Again, the reason you want to learn a foreign language in this manner is so you do not get too frustrated.
The problem with early frustration is that it steers people toward giving up. If you donít see any progress in the early stages, you may not feel like you can accomplish your goal at all. Obviously, if you donít think your goal is achievable after all, chances are good youíll give up.
So minimizing the amount of frustration (especially early on) is a big part of learning a foreign language. On another note, you want to make learning a foreign language as interesting as possible.
As Iím sure youíve experienced, learning from a textbook can be monotonous. Not only is reading from a textbook boring, but your chances of sticking with it are slim to none. Besides, merely learning vocabulary and grammar is not going to prepare you for a real-life conversation in a foreign language.
Interaction is the best way to learn anything. You canít just passively read, listen or watch as someone explains everything to you. You need to get involved.
By turning learning a new language into a game, youíll stick with it and actually remember more of what you learn.
You need to actually listen (not just read from a book) and then speak lots of foreign words and phrases. Turn the words into something familiar by associating them with their actual meaning.
You need to practice the new language with fluent speakers, all the while listening to it as itís properly spoken. Many foreign languages are spoken very quickly, therefore you need to make sure you can keep up with the pace and actually hear it spoken correctly.
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Article Added on Monday, April 24, 2006
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