We’ve posted some serious blogs about learning a new language or improving your grasp of a language for business purposes. But language is not all hard work, it can also be fun. Which is why, for this article, we spoke to a few of our trainers for some fun AND effective tips on how to improve your language use:
- Date A Native Speaker
There’s nothing like the power of love to motivate you to practice often, to be able to express how you think and feel and generally improve your language use. Dating a native speaker also means you will learn to use your new language in all sorts of situations and at all times of day. This is much better than a scheduled 2 or 3 hours of lessons once a week. Of course if you’re already involved, this isn’t very helpful. But maybe seek out a native speaker as a friend who you can do things with and talk your new language.
- Learn To Sing
We tend to forget that music is also language: words, ideas, sentences. Study songs, translate their meaning and practice them by singing them. Singing is great because you really have to get the shape of your mouth right to be able to copy a song. This is great for pronunciation where new speakers often have to learn to make the right shapes with their mouths to make the new sounds of their target language. It’s like gym for your mouth, and it’s fun too.
- Record Yourself
Often we don’t improve because we really don’t actually hear the mistakes that we are making. A kind of internal sensor adjusts everything and we remember what we MEANT and not always what we said. Try using the voice recorder on your cell phone to record yourself leaving voicemail messages, making every-day work related requests or asking for information. At first it feels awkward and a bit weird, but you’ll be amazed at how much you can now really hear about how you are using the language. You can use this to help correct pronunciation, conjugate verbs better, or just adjust the tempo of your speaking pattern.
- Trust Yourself and the Time Your Putting In
You need to accept that learning a language is just like learning to play golf or a new software programme. It takes time. And if you put the time in, you WILL see results. Just like everything else you have learned in your life, you will be able to master this new language you have chosen to develop. You just need to focus on continuing to put consistent time into your efforts and trust yourself. Go easy, stop second-guessing yourself and keep practicing.
- Big Picture, Small Picture
Language is a system. If you’re mathematical, learn the system first and colour in the areas in between after. If you not a maths person, learn what you like and enjoy yourself and then colour the rest in later. There is no one way of learning a language. You are allowed to approach it according to the strengths and weaknesses of your everyday life. You can learn it anyway you feel comfortable and as long as you feel like you are making progress.
TalenInstituut Free Tip:
Just remember the biggest tip of all: Keep practicing. Don’t be scared to make mistakes, you will learn from them. Oh, and have some fun while you’re doing it too, ok?
At TalenInstituut Nederland (The Dutch Language Institute) we understand the needs that companies face as well as the fears individual learners feel. This is why we offer flexible, fully customised Business language courses to businesses and individuals. Through a process of interviews and meetings we establish the unique needs and competence of our clients and design each and every course around those. To find out more about our Business Language courses, visit our website and ask us for a quote:
By: David Chislett
Senior Trainer Business English
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