Download PDF Effective Language Learning (Modern Languages in Practice, 6)

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Exercises are tailored to help you learn and review vocabulary effectively. Receive immediate grading Instantly see which answers you get correct. When you miss a challenge, we'll quickly show you how to improve. Stay motivated with rewards Earn virtual coins, unlock new levels, and watch your fluency score rise as you master new words, phrases, and grammar.

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Improve quickly Duolingo works. A study has shown that 34 hours of Duolingo are equal to 1 university semester of language courses. Boost your learning with Duolingo Plus Learning a language on Duolingo is completely free, but you can remove ads and support free education with Plus. First 7 days on us! Learn anytime, anywhere. Make your breaks and commutes more productive with our iPhone and Android apps. Download them and see why Apple and Google gave us their highest accolades. For an upcoming trip? Now consider the four practical language skills. What level do you need to reach in each to make this vision a reality?

You can find these in the appendix. What are the main barriers we face? The only way to eat an elephant is piece by piece. But sometimes they can feel so daunting that we end up procrastinating to avoid them. It could be looking at a single website, asking a question or downloading a new app. Keep it small, write it down now, tick it off. Rinse and repeat. Sometimes all it takes to regain momentum is a little push. Second: switch your focus to process instead of product. Commit to making whatever progress you can in the next 25 minutes. Then have a 5-minute break.

Then repeat. Process goals are a great way to bring us back to the present moment and break big goals into manageable chunks see the Pomodoro Technique. The single most valuable tip I can share with you is to learn how to learn. There are many fantastic language learning guides and books out there. Read some. A small time investment up front could save you years of frustration down the line.

Focus 1: Speak from the very first day. One-on-one with a local is preferable see below for tips. Book your first lesson even if you only know 5 words. Speaking early helps you progress faster and keeps you motivated. One of the greatest things about languages are the people you meet and new friends you make along the way. Focus 2: Pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

Second-language acquisition

Early focus here will pay big dividends later on. Pronunciation, in particular, is very difficult to reverse and correct once in place.

Focus 3: The remaining three practical skills: listening, reading, writing. As you advance it is more interesting and fun to learn a language as naturally as possible. Which of these you focus on will depend on your goals and preferences. By this time you should also have a good few weeks or months of speaking and grammar under your belt. Spaced Repetition Systems SRSs are hands down the quickest way to learn almost anything and make it stick.

The premise is simple. Imagine a basic paper flashcard with a question on one side and an answer on the other. SRSs handle this scheduling for you but for thousands of flashcards at a time. Unlike paper, they also let you include sound files, photos or even movies on the flashcards you create. Its customisability means you can use it to learn almost anything fast — from science to history of art.

There are plenty of alternative systems out there that are well built and user-friendly. These include Rosetta Stone , Memrise and Duolingo. The latter two are great free options for beginners or dipping a toe into a new language. In the long run, they lack the power and flexibility of Anki that will become important to you as you advance. Aside from Anki and other SRSs there are hundreds of great language learning websites, apps and tools on the internet.

1. Don’t miss the importance of being able to paraphrase and describe

Many are general, some of them are language specific. Amazingly, most of them are totally free. Here is a shortlist of the non-language-specific tools which I use on an almost daily basis. Know of another great tool?

Suggest it in the comments below. I may have tried it and opted for something else but the chances are I may not know about it! Benefits include:. Forvo — An amazing free repository of recordings by native speakers for almost any word in any language. A member of the community will usually fill the gap within 48h.

Almost every flash card I create contains one or more Forvo recordings. Also free. WavePad — Mac only. Superb for breaking up long audio files into smaller chunks.

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The home version of the software is free to use. Skype — Still the easiest and most common platform for online conversations. Perfect for language e-lessons. Google will help you find a plugin to record your sessions. Google Images — An amazing insight into the collective visual consciousness of the internet. YouTube — Great for music, T. Other languages especially Mandarin may offer other alternatives. Spotify — Perfect for creating foreign language music playlists and taking them on the go premium version only. Google Translate — Responsible for hilarious sign, t-shirt and restaurant mis-tranlslations the world over.

Perfect for a quick check but use with caution. In any case, once learned, pronunciation is hard to change. This is one reason an upfront investment is very worthwhile. Pronunciation begins with phonemes — the distinct units of sound that distinguish words. English has 44 phonemes, for example, p, b, d, and t in the words pad, pat, bad, and bat.

As babies we can hear the full possible range of phonemes. This lets us differentiate the sounds of these languages even under heavy distortion. It also makes it harder to hear and memorise them.


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This is why relearning phonemes helps both pronunciation and speeds up learning. Grammar is the framework supporting an entire language. It is the key to turning 1, words into , sentences. It unlocks whole new ways of self-expression in every next conversation.

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