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Learning a language: a guide to self-learning

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Part I Getting started

 

Principles

 

Learning a community's local language will always give you an advantatge in that community. It's a matter of basic respect . If you have made an effort before you interact with locals, they will for sure appreciate it and this will result in a benefit to you.

Learn their language, observe them, pay attention to their behaviours, be respectful of their traditions and beliefs and enjoy the differences. This will help you to get into the community and learn the language faster, and, at the same time, you will be accepted sooner.

 

Attitude and tricks

 

You're not the first one going through this. Some people who have already done it might help you.

I especially admire Kató Lomb, a Hungarian interpreter, that approaches languages the same way I do. In her books and principles, I found motivation and guidance.

 

My recommendations

 

  • Motivation is very important to succeed in your commitment.
  • The main purpose of language learning is communication. Think of all the new relationships you can make using a new language.
  • Look for good material to start with. If it's not good, change it.
  • Everybody can learn languages. It's a matter of time and good practices.
  • Study every day for at least 20 minutes. If it's possible study in the morning. No holidays.
  • Always carry a learning book. You can study on public transport or in a line.
  • Try to get the language as it is. Enjoy the different perspectives of a language.
  • Try to find a way to produce the language and be corrected. Don't learn wrong structures.
  • Don't be afraid to speak or write and ask others to correct you.
  • Choose a good novel or book in the language you are trying to learn and buy it in order to write on it as you learn with it. Try to find the audio book at the same time.
  • Pay attention to pronunciation. Looking at the lips and the mouth will help you to improve your pronunciation.
  • Look at films, tv, internet sources, newspapers... In TV and films use subtitles, at the very beginning in your language, right after in the language you want to learn.
  • Find a good teacher, otherwise change it or you better learn by yourself if you can't find one. A bad teacher can damage your learning.
  • Try to look for a community near where you live.
  • Don't get obsessed with grammar. Grammar comes afterwards.

 

How to recognize a good language teacher

 

  • Seldom speaks in another language than the target language
  • Acts a lot
  • Changes his/her voice intonation a lot.
  • Smiles
  • You feel comfortable in the class and you don't mind making mistakes
  • You are willing to to the homework
  • You look forward to the next class.
  • The proposed activities seem easy.

 

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