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5 Secrets to Foreign Language Fluency

by Laura Buckler

Have you ever stopped to think about how we were able to learn the language that we speak? How is it that it seems so natural to come to us to speak in our mother tongue, but when it comes to learning a new language, we’re at a loss for words? Here are the 5 Secrets to foreign language fluency which may help you in your dilemma.

1. Know what motivates you and keep that motivation going

Why do you want to learn a new language? What compels you to do it?

For example, when I was younger, I used to watch a lot of anime. One might say that I got obsessed with it to the point that I watched those Japanese animated shows without subtitles, or even if they’re not translated in English.

I was so obsessed with anime that I studied the Japanese language to better understand the shows that I am watching. This interest prompted me to learn Nihonggo in college and take foreign language classes. Learning a foreign language is difficult enough as it is and you might still need help from professional service if you plan to pursue advanced language learning in the university. However, you need to keep in mind why you are doing what you are doing.

2. Binge watch television shows on Netflix

Watching television shows in a foreign language is a fun and relaxing way to absorb and learn new words and phrases. By doing so, you get to be exposed to your target language while having fun at the same time. It’s both entertaining and productive. Plus, it gives you a justifiable excuse for procrastinating on what it is that you are supposed to be doing. The best thing about this learning tactic is that you also learn about cultures of other countries through the characters and story arcs in the series.

You can check out this list to see what good shows are up for marathon viewing. The countries of origin range from Brazil and Belgium to Japan and France. I personally like Hibana: Spark as it takes me to a whole new dimension of dramedy in an Asian flavor.

3. Read children’s books

Another effective tactic is to read children’s books written in the language of your choice. These are great practice books for beginners, not to mention, way more fun to read rather than textbooks. Doing so exposes you to more sentence constructions and vocabulary words so that you can expand your lexicon and get a better feel of target language’s syntax.

Wouldn’t it make for a more interesting read if you could get hold of Le Petit Prince and follow the journey of Saint-Exupéry's characters in French? You can also give the classics like The Three Little Pigs or Dr. Seuss books in Spanish a try and see how you fare. You can check out Amazon’s Best Sellers in Children’s Foreign Language Books list.

4. Go Karaoke singing

Learn a new language in an entertaining way by belting your heart out in karaoke. Learn some new songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in German or a folk song from your foreign country of choice. You can download songs over the internet and save them on your mobile devices so you can listen to them. This way, you become more familiar as to how certain words are pronounced. For the musically-inclined, you have the added bonus of having good background music to boot.

A study published at Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences explores the potentials and prospects of using karaoke in language classrooms as this involves linguistic processing and language articulation. Aside from familiarization, this activity will develop involvement among language learners.

5. Leverage technology and use language apps

These days, you need not have face-to-face access to native speakers of your target foreign language of choice. In fact, you can simply check out various apps that will help facilitate your language learning. Here are some of the useful ones you can check out:

The Takeaway: Language Learning Can be Fun

While there are several challenges to effective language learning as an adult, there are several ways and methodologies that adults can adapt to make the process easier for them. Learning should not just be confined in the four corners or the room nor be done in traditional approach. Use these unconventional tips and tricks to make the activity fun for you. The important thing is the constant exposure to the target language and the conscious effort to learn and become better at it.

About the writer

Laura Buckler is a freelance writer who loves reading books and learning languages. She learned Spanish and a little Italian. In her free time she works with foreign students to teach them ESL. Follow her on twitter.

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