This post was submitted by the team at TLG Hannover.
When it comes to learning a new language, there are a lot of different ways to approach. The best way to learn any language is to practise it as much as possible with native speakers.
To be able to communicate with them, you need to start off by learning some basics before, which you can do in various ways depending on your individual learning style. Some people are fine attending a language class with a group of other people, some need a private teacher to focus on the language properly, and some prefer learning just on their own.
Go where the language is spoken
After acquiring some basics it is very helpful to be surrounded by the new language as much as possible. The best way to achieve that is – of course – to go to the country where the language is spoken. This way, you are not only improving your vocabulary and grammar knowledge, as you do from language exercise books, but you also get used to the way native speakers use their language in terms of intonation, accents, and slang. Also, you will get a better understanding of the whole culture if you are among native speakers. Once you immerse yourself in the culture you will soon be able to understand jokes, proverbs, or even puns.
Listen to foreign radio
It can be hard to get in touch with native speakers if you have just moved to a foreign country and don’t know anyone there. To bridge the period of time until you make native friends, there are still many ways to improve your language skills (outside of the classroom). For instance, listening to music in the foreign language. The easiest way to get access to that is by switching on the radio or looking on the internet for famous artists using the language you want to learn. By listening to the radio, you are getting used to the sound of the new language and the way native speakers are using it in real life, as well as extending your vocabulary, maybe due to a catchy song.
Watch foreign movies
Another, and maybe even better, way to experience everyday language is to watch movies in the foreign language. In contrast to the radio, movies give you the opportunity to see facial expressions and gestures too, which can help to teach you new vocabulary or common expressions. Besides, a lot of movies deal with everyday situations, so you can adopt a lot of words and expressions which might be very helpful for your day to day life in the foreign country. Another advantage of movies compared to the radio is the possibility to switch on subtitles that can support your understanding while listening.
Use a language learning app
A more modern method to increase your language knowledge is to use a language learning app on your mobile phone. This is a great and sometimes amusing way to spend your time while, for instance, sitting on the bus or train or waiting in line somewhere. A famous app is called Babbel which includes German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Dutch, Polish, Indonesian, and Swedish. Vocabulary and proverbs are taught step by step in a very enjoyable way. The app also provides listening and speaking tasks. In addition, you can join the Babbel-Community to talk to lots of other people from all over the world in a new language.
Do you want to start learning a new language? Take a look at the different courses on offer at TLG and begin today!