Parlez-vous francais? Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Lei parla italiano?
There are lots of great reasons, whether personal or professional, for having the ability to respond “Oui,” “Ja,” or “Si.” And if it’s been years since you last attempted conjugating a verb, there’s good news. Knowing vocabulary and grammar will always be needed but when the goal of learning a language is to be understood in that language, instead of taking language tests in high school, the process to fluency can be a lot more fun.
Advances in both technology and the scientific analysis of how we learn or develop means that we can now find a way to learn a language without taking too much out of our pocket. For example, lots of choices are online. While this has actually made language lessons more available than ever before, it can be hard to determine the quality of those lessons when you do not know the language in the first place.
Another crucial thing to bear in mind is that you will not learn how to listen, read, speak and write in a new idiom overnight – and you might never master all four of those language aspects. Some individuals are naturally talented and others have a tin ear. Despite that, there is a direct connection between the hours and dollars we spend on learning and the result. It is essential, for that reason, to be clear from the start about your budget plan and the level of competency that you desire or will end up having. For example, whether it’s a level where you can casually talk to family members from your home country, or only a few sentences as the keynote speaker of a seminar in which you are expected to speak any language but your mother tongue.
A guaranteed way to become proficient is to live in a place where you are forced to speak the local language of your choice. This option is best for those with plenty of time. For others, participating in a language school that provides one-week or longer programs is more reasonable. Readily available in numerous locations, such programs integrate class guideline with chances to experience the regional culture. Some likewise provide classes with popular leisure activities, from the art history of Berlin to cooking Kiev food to appreciating wine from the Yarra Valley.
Discovering a language is definitely among those “use it or lose it” problems. Thankfully, there are a lot of free alternatives that also enable you to practice between lessons. Have a listen to podcasts from all over the world or watch foreign-language cable programs. Look up grammar books from your public library or experiment with online dictionaries. Meet a native speaker of the language and take turns teaching one another face-to-face. You can also do this with somebody on the other side of the world through Skype. You can discover a global language partner on a site where free online forums have lists of casual discussion topics. Or you can take the classic tradition of practicing your writing by finding a penpal. Whatever works best for you, stick to it.