How to Make Progress in Your Second Language Learning

Posted by Asian Language School on December 23, 2016

How to Make Progress in Your Second Language Learning
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Many of us are interested in learning a second language. It is usually on many people’s top 10 New Year’s resolution list. When we first started, we were greatly motivated. But many language learners do not go beyond the Beginner level. Why is that?

One of the main reasons is that language learners often feel discouraged when they feel like they are not progressing. Often, we set an unrealistic expectations on the timeframe to achieve fluency in the second language. It takes kids a few years before they can learn to speak their first language coherently with daily guidance and encouragement from adults at home. Similarly, language learners must be patient, at the same time, exert continued effort in studying the second language.

Relying on once-a-week language lessons and a textbook is not enough to master a second language. Outside classroom hours, learners need to set aside some time to review the lessons and go through additional materials to build their language skills.

Here are 5 easy ways you can do to quickly improve your language skills:

1. Commit to watch foreign language movies at least once a week

The main benefits of watching movies of the language you are learning are to quickly learn new vocabularies and help your listening skills. As beginner learners, you should not try too hard to understand everything. Instead, memorise a few words or phrases that interest you. If you do this every week, imagine the number of words and phrases you have available after one year.

2. Listen often to foreign language songs

Study shows that melody actually helps the brain recall better. If you like singing, this is a golden way to learn new vocabularies. Your local radio channel may not air foreign language songs. But with YouTube and iTunes, you can easily gain access to foreign language songs. Play your favourite songs often, know the lyrics and their meaning, memorise them, and sing to the tunes.

3. Write in foreign language

It may be just one paragraph, one sentence, or even one word. Write in your diary, in your social media posts, or in your personal notes. The main point is to get you used to writing in the second language and help recall the lessons learnt, be it the grammar or the vocabularies, to be able to express yourself in the second language.

4. Visit foreign language websites

If the three activities above help improve your listening and writing skills, visiting foreign language websites will help boost your reading skills. For beginner learners, blogs are better sources than news because their language is simpler. You can also follow foreign social media in the areas that interest you.

5. Find a native speaker to practice conversation with

And finally, speaking. This is probably an area that language learners are most frustrated with. Firstly, because traditional classroom teaching does not equip students with enough conversation practice with native speakers. Secondly, it is not easy to find a regular practice partner who is a native speaker that is as committed as you to improve your language skills. Both difficulties can be addressed if you have private language lessons with a professional native speaker. Your private language teacher can also make recommendations on good movies, songs, books and websites suit your skills.

If you have set a resolution to learn a language this year, visit our website to learn more about our Japanese Language Course or Chinese Language Course


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