Have you already learned a foreign language and wondering why you are not fluent enough? Believe me, you are not alone. This is one of the most common problems that foreign language enthusiasts face.
But we need to remember, when there is a problem, there is a solution. Here are 5 tips for people who have already reached an intermediate level in any foreign language.
1. Look, Listen and Imitate
The first and foremost thing which we tend to ignore is to ‘listen’. Where listening is the most important skill to learn and master pronunciation. Watching mother tongue speakers carefully helps to understand the art of pronunciation. It takes some patience initially to watch the movement of facial muscles and lips. Then Imitate. Train your mouth and facial muscles to produce the exact sound of an alphabet or a word.
2. Watch Movies: Indulge in the Language
One of the most effective methods of foreign language teaching and learning is called ‘Immersion method’. A student is provided with the circumstances/environment where the foreign language is spoken. The student starts living the language.
Of course, it is supposed to be a wonderful method. But is it possible for everyone to go to Germany to learn German or to France to learn French?
No, it is not. The best alternative to create little Germany or France around you at least for two hours is to watch a movie. You can watch it with subtitles. That does not harm the process.
Understand the actors, hear what they have to say, feel emotional, laugh, cry and live the language.
3. Stop Translating: Think
What makes a language someone’s mother tongue? When you learn a language without translating it to another one, that language becomes the primary medium to express yourself. You can compare your mother tongue as the OS (operating system) of your brain. So as you know that there can be multiple operating systems installed on your computer. But no two of them can work together. There can be only one at a time. Only then it can function flawlessly.
4. Listen to Podcasts and repeat after
Yes, sure. But why? Here is why. Given that you have learned the language theories, most of us face problems when it comes to using them in real life. We don’t come up with the right grammar and right vocabulary at the right time. Listening to podcasts and repeating them after trains the brain to learn the vocabulary and the right grammar with it. Do it for five days, you will see the difference.
5. Expose yourself to the language: Speak
After the above four steps, I believe you are already getting better at your vocabulary and grammar. You are almost there. Only one thing is holding you back now. Lack of confidence. You need to trust me on this. It doesn’t matter. Everyone makes mistakes while trying anything new. But if you give up on trying, then fear has won over you. Would you really want that to happen? After all your efforts to come till here? Let it go. Remember what Rocky Balboa said? “Keep moving forward.”
Even if you do all the above and do not step out there and start speaking, the work will go in vain. Use every opportunity to speak. Be it a native speaker or a fellow student or simply someone who speaks the language. You will get better at speaking in no time. I promise you that.
Saborni Mondal (Teacher)