The Most Effective Ways to Learn a Foreign Language

Learning foreign languages can be spontaneous and fun. A lot of effort is often required, but results can be seen in a quite short time. From my point of view the most effective methods of acquiring a new language are:

  1. LISTENING (the absolute winner)
  2. READING and
  3. SPEAKING to a native speaker (if you have the possibility)

Why listening?

  • because you develop a sense for a language
  • you can hear and practice a correct pronunciation
  • you acquire an accent

By listening you eventually memorize phrases, not just individual words. So, listening to the radio, watching TV shows and movies aid faster learning of a language.

You can find a list of Slovenian radio stations here to help you.

And here are also some Slovenian TV channels available online.

Why reading?

  • the easiest way to learn most new words and expand your vocabulary
  • learning a words meaning from a context, not from a dictionary – in that way you memorize words more quickly
  • learning phrases and better understanding of grammatical structures

Reading at least 15 minutes per day significantly improves your results, and it is better than reading just once a week two hours consecutively. For complete beginners children’s books or very simple texts are most appropriate. On the internet you will find a large collection of e-books, you can also search for some Slovenian news websites or even better, you can visit a library if you live in Slovenia.

I still have some children’s books from my childhood, which I also lent to Paddy, when he started to learn Slovenian.

I have found these three methods of learning foreign languages very useful. In my case they help me to constantly improve my English and French. I read now more »serious« books, listen to music, and watch some TV programmes in these two languages. Occasionally, if I’m lucky, I also get to speak in person with native speakers.

Everyone can acquire a new language regardless age. We should all learn carefreely, spontaneously – like children. They don’t have prejudices, expectations, but they have something that most adults don’t – a child-like curiosity, which helps them to learn and explore a language in a fun and enjoyable way.

I am sure you all remember how you learned your mother tongue. It was something like this: listening your parents and repeating after them, all the time. And surprisingly, you actually learned to speak fluently, without a fear that you maybe spoke wrong.

Paddy and I have created an online Slovenian course, which also contains a great amount of phrases, which are very indispensable in everyday conversation and will help you on your way to learning Slovenian.

Positive effects of learning foreign languages

Researches show that people who speak more languages are more creative and better at solving complex problems. Learning languages favourably effects our brains, by encouraging more cell production. It is also said to extend life expectancy, improve memory, make you smarter, and there is more – polyglots or multi-linguists are supposed to be more attractive according to studies. Definitely good encouragement for all intending to learn a second or more languages!

What about you, what approaches do you use to learn foreign languages?

Published on April 1, 2014