"To have another language is to possess a second soul"
Those were the words that Charlemagne used when describing learning a second language and, while we may not take it so literally anymore, being able to speak multiple languages is definitely a pro for travel and can be a rewarding journey. With that in mind, and considering that it is one of the most popular New Years’ resolutions, we’re giving you a run-down of our top 5 tips to get you fluent in no time…
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(This post first appeared on Rakbo! Go check them out!)
Let’s be honest, when you think of learning a language the first image that pops into your head is hours in front of a book tediously trying to work out a poorly-explained grammatical rule that makes no sense. Thankfully, that is no longer the case as apps such as Duolingo have worked to almost gamify the process! By focusing on short lessons that can be squeezed into the shortest of commutes, apps like Duolingo and Memrise (free) as well as Living Language (paid) not only make it accessible, but largely enjoyable too. Now who said our journeys into work couldn’t be productive?!
Schools in session...
If apps aren’t your cup of tea, there is always the tried and trusted method of taking lessons. While arguably the most expensive option ($20 per hour minimum) on this list, there is a lot to be said for having someone who can identify and explain mistakes to you and personalise your learning experience. With most universities offering foundation language courses to students as extra credit, you may even be able to kill two birds with one stone by upping your GPA at the same time!
Book a trip!
Okay so maybe this one says more about us looking for any and every excuse to book flights to far-flung places across the globe, but there is some method to our madness… Not only can booking an adventure give you the extra motivation to learn a new language, but it is surprising just how much your understanding can grow when communicating in English is simply not an option! Forced to try your hand in the local dialect, a trip is the perfect situation to pick up on key phrases that you’ll need every day and hey, if it goes wrong you’ll have some very interesting stories to tell your friends when you get back!
Choose a page-turner...
Sometimes you may just need a little help with grammar without the over-complicated answers often given online, and that is where these simple grammar guides come in. Originally designed for students doing their A-Levels in the UK, these workbooks split complex grammatical ideas into simple steps that are followed up by a series of exercises for you to practice with. With the answers at the back, these short tasks are a fantastic way to isolate the areas you need to work on and helps you nail them.
Practice makes perfect!
It may be a cliche but it doesn’t make it any less true. For many, the hardest part of learning a new language is the actual practice part, with many too nervous to openly give it a try in public (as identified in Duolingo’s pals feature). With that in mind, don’t be afraid to start off slowly, speaking to foreign friends in their native tongue or leaving the English at home next time you find yourself abroad!!!
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