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Learning a foreign language can be daunting, especially when you're a beginner and don't have the vocabulary to express yourself. Rote memorization works in the short term, but if that's how you're learning your vocabulary then your brain is more likely to forget the information later. I've studied a variety of foreign languages (though I'm not fluent in any of them (yet)): Spanish, French, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese. In all my years of study, I've only found one method that allows me to really internalize the words: Context.   The only way to really learn a new word is to use it in its own context. I'm not saying that saying, "Es un perro" (That is a dog) once will allow you to internalize "perro" (dog). You will need to use that word in context multiple times. One of my cousins lived in Spain for ten years, and she needed to use a word in context twenty (20) times before she had it down. For me, it depends on the word. If it's something... read more

10 Tips to Advance Your Second-language Learning Process Speaking a second language is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal. Not only is it fun and cool, but it opens doors to experience another culture in new, exciting and personal ways. And if you're working on speaking a language that others speak in your community, it can also open doors for you professionally. So, if you're itching for some tips to help advance your language learning process, have no fear…I'm here to share with you 10 of my trusty tips for how I learned to speak my second language! (How well do I speak it, you ask? Well, native Spanish speakers often think I’m a native Spanish speaker, just to give you some context.) These are all things that I did myself, so I’m confident in recommending them all to you! :) Let’s get started with some specific tips, and then move on to my more “philosophical” and general advice: 1. Watch television shows, movies and videos in your target language For those working... read more

Five major tips to making learning a foreign language fun:   1. Make it applicable to your life. Learn stuff that you think is important to you, things that you'll use the most often, and things that will stick.   2. Integrate the culture. Learning a language is more than just learning how to speak. You want to learn how to understand other people, and how they think.   3. Make it a part of your routine. Try to do something that you normally do in English in your target language, though you should keep it simple in the beginning. Read a short story in Italian, instead of a novel in English. Follow a recipe for a simple cake in French instead of a recipe for a cake with fondant decorations in English.   4. Get your friends in on the fun. Learning a language is undeniably a social activity. There's nothing more entertaining than trying to learn a language with your friends, and messing up while you do it... read more

Are you taking a foreign language in school? Maybe it is Spanish, or Japanese, or French? Well, that's great! However, summer is typically the time that most of what you have learned in these second languages during the school year wears away, and very fast too.   That's why it's recommended that you keep practicing reading, writing, listening, and speaking in your second (or third) language throughout the summer months. That way, you'll be prepared not only for the next class in the series in the fall, but also keep you from forgetting all of the intricate details that you have mastered already. Don't know how? Well here are some tips to get you started:   Ask your teacher or school librarian to see if you can borrow a used copy of your foreign language book, or perhaps loan out a copy of next year's book early. This way, you can review everything that you have already studied during last school year and even start looking ahead into what's coming up... read more

My favorite website to learn a foreign language is DuoLingo. It is an entertaining way to learn a new language. Completing one skill unlocks other skills, which allow you progress from basic words all the way through various verb tenses and abstract ideas. When you click on a lesson you’ll see a series of tips and common questions.   Another neat app that might be interesting for people who want to learn German is TuneIn radio. It's a radio app with many German radio stations on it. It helps to understand the language better and plays great music. It's probably the cheapest way to hear real examples of Germans talking and singing.

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