How to start learning a new language

This month we’ll be focussing on languages – bringing you hints and tips on picking up a new language whether you want to learn holiday Spanish or business French.

You’ve decided you’d love to start learning a new language. Maybe you are going to Spain during the summer holidays and for once would love to be able to order something in fluent Spanish. Or maybe you are thinking about investing in a holiday home in France but would like a better grasp of the language before you part with your money.

Learning a new language can be tricky – it does require a lot of time and effort. Just think about how long it took you to become ‘fluent’ in the first language you spoke as a child – usually several years. So you can’t expect to have a few lessons and converse as naturally as a native of the country.  It’s a good idea to have something to keep you focussed to motivate you as time goes on – maybe a picture of your holiday destination?

Here are some top tips for starting to learn a new language:

1.      Get the basics right

Start with either a book or tape of the language you want to learn (or a private tutor if you prefer) and practice some of the basics. These could be commonly used words and phrases (thank you, hello, how are you). Work on pronunciation and the rhythm of the words.  Keep listening and repeating until you feel confident.

2.      Audio books and workbooks

Listening to audio books, iTunes or a native speaker will help both your listening and pronunciation skills.  Workbooks where you can practise exercises will help you ‘think’ in the language.

3.      Grammar matters

If you are going to be understood then you need to get the grammar basics right. The best way to do this is to get a workbook or work with a private tutor. You need to understand how a verb works in all its forms (called verb conjugation) and how the past, present and future tenses work.

4.      One on one tutoring

Private one on one tutoring is one of the fastest and most effective ways to learn a new language and can be tailored to give you the specific language you need. You can work with a private tutor on the basics like grammar and pronunciation but they can also help with general conversation and subject specific knowledge (language you might need for a job).

5.      Practice

Whenever you get the chance to practice then take it. If you are learning Spanish then take a trip down to your local tapas bar and try out your new skills. Don’t be afraid of trying out your language on native speakers, they can help you with pronunciation (and probably appreciate the effort you’ve made to speak in their language).

If you’d like to know more about learning a language such as French, Spanish or German and you live in Manchester or Cheshire (we cover areas including Bramhall, Hale, Wilmslow, Didsbury and Alderley Edge) then contact 121 Home Tutors today.

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