Bonjour! Ciao! hola! guten tag! konnichiwa!
As a young kid I always wanted to learn a foreign language. Learning a foreign language can be a lot of fun and there are tons of ways to do it. I was born in the U.S. so English is my first language. As a child I picked up a little bit of Italian from my grandfather and his brothers and sisters who were immigrants from Italy. However, even being around them speaking it quite often together I was unable to follow. Although I am not fluent in French, I took six years of French classes from 7th grade through high school. I’m totally not fluent in French, but from time to time I find myself dreaming in the language (crazy, I know). Taking a language in school is one way to learn it, yet there are many other ways to conquer a language. You may not be able to speak it fluently, but you will be able to navigate the country if and when you decide to visit.
There are a ton of different mobile apps and games that teach you how to speak another language. You can explore by topic and before you know it, you’ll be counting in a foreign tongue! The apps range from free to a couple dollars to download, but they are well worth it. You will learn so much and there are many different types of apps. Some apps allow you to play games, others are full of flash cards, and some simply teach you phrases. A lot of the apps have play-back so that you can even hear how the words should be pronounced.
If you are the type of person that learns best through reading, then picking up a simple dictionary or book can help you learn a foreign language easy. You can check out your local bookstore and see if you can spot any good ones. Barnes & Noble has a great selection. Make sure that you make some flash cards though, the best way to learn a language is to practice out loud. I definitely recommend at least buying a book to teach you the grammar or help you form phrases.
This sounds really weird, but there are some cool videos on You tube that can help you learn a language. The ones I find that help me most are ones that use song to help you learn. WORDPIE is the channel I use. They have a ton of different languages and about 40 songs for each language to help you learn.
This one if my favorite. You can totally change your view on google to show everything in another language. Start to just search google under whatever language you want to learn. Using a few translation tools and having a little knowledge of the language will help you navigate the sites and you will learn a ton.
What about Rosetta Stone and other teaching devices like it?:
Rosetta Stone is a great product and it can really help you learn quickly. I bought the Italian version and learned a lot on the first 2 discs. My computer ended up crashing and when I tried to download it on my new computer it did not work. You will need to keep the little card that you find in the box the disc comes in, this has the number you need to download it to your computer. If you lose that card you will not be able to download the discs and unfortunately the company can not help you. I had paid over $400 for the first few sets and I was completely out of my money. They refused to help and claimed that they did not have a record of my purchase a few months earlier even though I bought it through their site. I was informed I would need to repurchase everything. I was extremely disappointed in their customer service, but if you want to learn a foreign language quick this is a great way to do it. The product is amazing and I still recommend it, but buyer beware.
un peu de tout
(a little of everything!)
The best way to learn a foreign language is to immerse yourself in the culture the best you can. If you can visit that country then you will learn more than a book could ever teach you. Use all of the tricks I listed above and try to find anything in that language and read it. I am guilty of reading the instructions and warnings in French on the labels of soaps and sanitizers. Read the inserts of your new electronics, chances are it came in at least 2-3 different languages. The more you expose yourself to, the more familiar with the language you become. Before you know it, you’ll be holding full conversations.
Have any other suggestions? Comment below!
Leaving for a trip soon and wondering what to pack in your carry on bag? See my post here