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The 5 keys to perfect language learning

Have you ever felt a sense of frustration during a meeting with someone from a different culture, who speaks a different language, when you realise how the experience could be significantly enhanced by knowing, understanding and speaking that person’s language?

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We all know that speaking a foreign language can often be disconcerting. Pronouncing new sounds can be notably difficult. One thing is for sure; learning a new language opens up a ton of career chances.

Not just freelancing or working on your own either; although these are great ideas in themselves. There are lots of different ways that speaking two or more languages can improve and upgrade your life and employment possibilities. The question is, what are the keys to language learning?

So what are some of the good and fun ways to learn a new language?

1. Think of language learning as your open door to new experiences

Meeting new friends becomes easier. Speaking a new language, and interacting in that language with others becomes less demanding. English, for example, opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

It allows you to socialise with mostly everyone especially if you happened to be visiting a new country, it enables you to meet interesting new people and learn something about their lifestyle. This is a great way, to easily meet new people and establish new relationships.

“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” ‒Rita Mae Brown

2. Get musical

Most people who enjoy music listen to their favourite songs over and over again until they know them by heart; this repetition, combined with a catchy tune, is the perfect formula to get words stuck into your head. Almost without knowing it, you have new words added to your vocabulary with no effort put in - no grammar streams required!

Unlike textbooks or conversation partners, you can take music anywhere.

Always keep a playlist on your phone to listen to your favourite songs anytime you have a few minutes free, pay attention to words and pronunciation for perfect learning.

3. Watch movies

Imagine walking along the Champs Elysee in Paris or Oxford Street in London trying to understand the words and signs around you and listening to people's voices and conversations in your favourite coffee shop.

All of a sudden everything you learned from all those years of language learning is ‘sneaking off’ and you wonder why can’t you understand anything “That’s not what I learned “! I learnt much of my English by going to the movies and wow what an amazing way to develop your language skills.

In every country of the world, you will hear different types of accents and dialects. Watching a movie in a foreign language gives you time and space. You will hear plenty of new, everyday words that you can add to your vocabulary to speak like a local.

In fact, watching a movie in the language you want to learn can be one of the most enjoyable ways to learn your new language and to learn it quickly. It will help you pick up expressions and idioms and you will find that they get added to your memory without even knowing. Turn on those subtitles then turn them off again and see how much you can understand and remember!

4. Communicate with native speakers

Finding conversation partners can be another great way to learn a language and improve your conversational skills. Indeed, one of the biggest problems for those learning a language at school or those who are self-taught is how to pronounce words correctly with the right intonation.

Start slowly, and pronounce words by yourself so you won’t feel self-conscious about messing up. Repeat until you make sure you’re pronouncing everything correctly! Listening is just as important as talking if you want to have an effective dialogue.

Simply listening to a native speaker talk can improve your speech and diction. If you're talking to a native speaker always pay attention to how they pronounce the words and how they use gestures to get their message across.

5. Travel

Meeting new people and talking with locals are two of the most important experiences you can have while travelling. One of the major reasons why I wanted to learn new languages is that when I travel I won't have to be standing there, not knowing what the conversation is about.

With traveling you can easily learn the language because you can instantly see and enjoy the benefits of learning more, since you are able to communicate better with the people around you.

Also, you get to meet new people, with some of them being fellow travellers and students trying to learn the language that you are learning.

This is a great way to learn together; whether you learn by attending a class-based language course or whether you have the focus to learn a new language on your own both can be incredibly fulfilling. My advice is to let yourself go and enjoy the experience to the fullest!

‘To have a second language is to possess a second soul.' - Charlemagne

‘Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can; there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.’ - Heroditus

© Farah Bangui

Damian breen
Damian Breen Managing Director

Damian spent some 22 years living and working in various different countries in Africa and the Middle East, for several different leading international airlines, in senior country and regional manager roles.