Methods that Help You Learn and Retain a Language of Choice
by Amanda Carlson
Learning a new language is more than adding something to your repertoire for bragging rights at parties. It can be a fun family activity and could be greatly useful if you are planning on going on vacation to a specific country that speaks the language. That is, unless you are planning to learn ancient Egyptian so that you can keep up with television shows such as "Stargate: SG1." You could even learn Klingon as many Trekkies have built a whole society around the ever popular master of sci-fi.
Regardless of the language you would like to learn, there are many ways that can help you retain the knowledge. This is incredibly helpful and could mean the difference between ordering a "sword-fish for dinner" and having a "sword in your face to make you thinner." Misunderstandings could be very troublesome for the foreigner who doesn't know his or her vowel structures.
1. A Family Affair
One method that many people employ is learning a new language as a family activity. For a predetermined amount of time, families will pick a language and speak nothing but in the home. Depending on how long the family practices this exercise, the language can easily become a part of their lives. It's one thing to take a language course and be done with it, but it is completely different when your daily activities within the home rely on your command of the language.
Many people have been able to learn a language at a rapid pace by subjecting themselves to the culture and location. While this may be counter-productive if your intentions are to learn the language prior to your arrival, surrounding yourself with those who speak it fluently as their native tongue can help you learn where to add emphasis to syllables and the differences in verbal meanings.
3. Video and Music
Listen to music and watch movies either dubbed in your language of choice or spoken natively. If you truly want to understand the meaning of the preferred form of entertainment, you'll have to concentrate in order to translate it in your head. This is actually quite an easy exercise as the Internet allows for a grand variety of languages that you can learn from through media. Even a mundane chore such as watching the news in the native language can help you retain what you have learned so far.
No one expects you to be fluent in a language after a single course. It takes practice in order to develop a knowledge of how sentence structures are developed. Practice reading websites or books that are developed in the language you are studying and try to translate as much of it as you can. Do this a few times per week and you can keep your linguistic skills sharpened.
Use the power of the Internet to help you develop your language skills. Join forums written in specific languages and interact with those people. If you want to share your knowledge about a given subject, you'll have to keep your skills at a respectable level. Develop a blog written in your specific language and entice others to help you learn more. Join clubs where the language spoken is the native tongue. Learning a new language can help you begin to understand the culture. Whether you want to learn the language prior to a vacation or simply want to have a greater understanding of the people residing on the planet, there is nothing wrong with broadening your horizons. You never know when you'll be in a Klingon restaurant and looking forward to a plate of fresh Gagh.
About the writer
Amanda Carlson, a blogger as well as a former newborn care nurse contributed this post. To stay connected to her previous career and share the knowledge she gained, she began writing for www.newborncare.com. You can reach her at amanda.newborncare @ gmail.com.