Getting to Fluent: Five Easy Ways Finally to Master a Foreign Language

Five Easy Ways Finally to Master a Foreign Language

Years of classroom study of a foreign language may have gotten us to the point where we are able to puzzle out the correct answers to exam questions, hold our own in a face-to-face conversation with a native speaker, and even read a novel, but sure there are anything that has left us scratching our heads after watching a film or listening in at political rally in a country where our second language is spoken.

This is so because formal language education rarely provides sufficient exposure to idiomatic expression and informal speech patterns.

To claim true fluency, one must be able to understand all types of speech. Reading and writing skills in a foreign language are generally mastered far ahead of listening comprehension skills for a number of very good reasons.

However, unless we have been fortunate enough to live in a country where our second, third, or fourth language is spoken, it can seem next to impossible to achieve the level of fluency that would allow us to understand a disc jockey, pick up the nuances of a film, join an authentic roundtable discussion, or understand the lyrics of a popular song.

These are skills we must acquire as we acquired our native language as children — by listening a great deal and piecing things together through context.

FIVE EASY WAYS TO FIT FIRST-RATE LISTENING PRACTICE INTO OUR DAY:

Use The Foreign Subtitle Options on Your DVD When Watching Films in your native tongue 

When watching a rented movie at home, check the language options on the DVD menu.  Often, you will be able to select subtitles in your second language.   This is a great tool, because good subtitles are rarely direct translations of the script.  Instead, a skilled subtitle writer will rephrase the dialogue to match the way in which the same idea would be expressed in the language of the subtitles.  Because of this, foreign subtitles on an American or British film can be a better learning tool than English subtitles on a foreign film.  So while you’re relaxing and watching the latest hot release, you can also painlessly pick up lots of idiomatic expressions and common methods of phrasing that you probably didn’t learn in the classroom.

Make Sound  Recordings of Your Favorite Foreign Films

If you are not yet truly fluent in a foreign language, you will probably need subtitles in order to enjoy films in that language.  While those subtitles provide useful reading practice, they are less helpful when it comes to honing your listening skills.  In fact, they are actually something of a distraction. 

On the other hand, once you have watched a favorite foreign film once or more so that you are familiar with the plot and the visuals that go along with it, your memory of those visuals will usually provide enough support when you later listen to the sound recording in your car, to allow you to hear words and phrases that otherwise would have been lost. 

Aha, so that’s what they were saying!

Stream  Audio From Foreign Radio Stations While You Work on Other Things

There are now so many options available for streaming foreign broadcasts that we all have the opportunity to set a foreign language as our background noise of choice while we are online.  Rather than listening to instrumental music, or popular songs from your own culture, filling the environment with constant prattle in a foreign language will allow an increasing level of comfort with the sounds and meter of that language and will increase your familiarity and level of comfort with the language in a way that conscious study cannot.  You will be able to focus in and out as the demands of your primary activity allows, but whether or not you give the broadcast your undivided attention, you will be building skills.

Memorize Song Lyrics

The lyrics to popular songs from all cultures and in all languages are widely available on line.  In order to find them, you need only learn a few simple search phrases in the language you are learning.  Then comb your music collection for songs you enjoy in another language and listen to them again with lyrics in hand.  Soon you will not need to refer to the lyrics as you sing along.  Moreover, you will own every single word, phrase, contraction, and expression in the lyrics you have learned.

Get Your News From Another Country

News broadcasts from foreign countries are widely available both on cable television and online.  News programming is usually formatted in a predictable way with an introduction to the story followed by reporting from site of the news-making event often coupled with footage of the event itself.

 

Not only will watching news broadcast from another country improve your language and listening skills, it will give you a new perspective on the way in which global events are viewed outside of your own country and culture.

 

Just as we never stop learning and improving our language skills in our native tongue, learning a foreign language is an ongoing process that never ceases to be rewarding, especially if we have some fun in the process.

Author: allo3

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6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Which Language to Learn

We are often advised to learn a second language by our teachers, families, and peers. If you’ve never learned a language before, the usual recommendation is to focus on learning one first, just until you’re familiar with the language learning process. But if there are several that have caught your attention, how do you decide which one to choose? Compare the languages you’re interested in with the guide below to identify the one that may be better for you to focus on for now.

How Much Time Do You Have to Study?

If you don’t have much free time to dedicate to studying, then choose a language that is similar to your native tongue. It will take less time for you to become comfortable using a new language if it has linguistic features or vocabulary with which you’re already familiar. An excellent choice is something in the same language family or one that is closely related. Languages that are massively different to your native one will require more time and dedication from you to reach basic functionality, and it will take even longer to become fluent. For example, it would take native English speakers longer to learn Mandarin than French.

What Employment Opportunities Are There?

Some languages are more in demand than others, depending on your career goals. If there’s a specific industry you want to work in, you may find that the major employers based in a different country to your own. In this case, it would be beneficial for you to find out what languages these companies do most of their business activities in and which locations you would likely be working from if you joined them. Travel, hospitality, and international relations are some of the major industry sectors that seek to recruit multilingual individuals. For some roles, they offer it may even be a requirement to speak more than one language fluently, rather than just a bonus or advantage.

What Languages Are Used Where You Live?

Languages spoken in your local area are good ones to learn, especially if you don’t currently have any plans to travel the world at some point. It will be easier for you to find people to practice with and you’ll get more use out of the language in your day-to-day life.

Availability of Suitable Learning Resources

You need to be able to get hold of learning materials that can teach the language to you, such as pronunciation guides, video lectures, and phrase books. For popular languages, there will be lots of books and courses to choose from, but there might not be much choice for regional or smaller languages. If you’re learning a language for the first time, it is usually better to choose a language that has a large selection of learning resources. That way you can experiment with different learning materials to discover which ones you learn from best.

Access to Native Speakers and Materials

Thanks to the internet it is much easier nowadays to get hold of materials written in a language you are trying to learn, even if you don’t live near a dedicated bookstore or in a country that uses your target language. The general idea is that you want to seek out content initially written in the language you are learning so that you expose yourself to it as much as possible. Ideally, you should try to practice your speaking skills regularly with native speakers too, which is easier to arrange if you have friends or relatives that can help you with this. But again, the internet is an excellent resource for finding native speakers if you don’t know any.

Personal Interest

If you have a compelling reason to use your target language, then you are more likely to stay engaged in the language learning process and not give up when you hit a difficult patch. For example, you might want to be able to read an author’s novels in their original language or understand your favorite television shows without subtitles. Another common reason people decide to learn a specific language is that they are planning to travel through a region where the people speak it.

Ultimately which language you learn first is up to you, even if it doesn’t meet all the criteria above. If it’s the one you find most inspiring, then go for it!

Author: N. Lewis

Once you’ve decided which language would you like to start learning, the best option to learn it is to take an abroad language course. Discover the benefits of studying abroad and make your dreams come true with Ynsitu, your best website to compare through all the different types of courses, languages, schools, desitinations and acommodations!

Best 10 Movies to Learn Spanish

Have you ever wanted to learn Spanish? And if you did, do you know that one of the most effective ways of learning the language is to watch Spanish movies? Thanks to modern streaming platforms like Netflix, you can find lots of Spanish movies to listen to tons of new words, phrases, and sentences to add to your Spanish vocabulary. In this post, you’ll find out about 10 of the best movies to learn Spanish, which have been divided into three levels, depending on your level of expertise in the language.

Spanish beginner

  1. El Laberinto del fauno

Set in war-torn Spain in 1944, El Laberinto del fauno or “Pan’s Labyrinth” is about the young Ofelia, who is told about her true identity by the faun Pan as she is exploring a maze from ancient times. The movie is as much a war story as it is a fairy tale, which makes it one of the most unique movies to get started on your Spanish-learning adventures, as it covers a great deal of vocab about fantasy, rebellion, and war. Some sections of the movie maybe a bit difficult to follow, so remember to turn on those subtitles.

  1. El orfanato

If you like horror movies that have a fair degree of drama and mystery as well, be sure to watch El orfanato or “The Orphanage”. Laura spent her childhood years in an orphanage and she has fond memories of that time. Along with her husband, she buys it to transform it into a facility/home for sick and ailing children. Not long after, her adopted son Simon, who is critically ill, disappears. The appearance of Benigna, a social worker, starts to reveal the orphanage’s horrific past.

  1. A tres metros sobre el cielo

After your war and horror experiences, why not tread the path of romance by watching A tres metros Sobre el Cielo or “Three meters above the sky”? The movie, which went on to become one of 2010’s highest-grossing Spanish movies, is in many ways like a modern-day Romeo and Juliet. It’s the perfect movie to learn numerous commonly used romantic phrases.

Spanish intermediate

  1. Volver

Volver or “Return” is a Spanish cult classic, directed by the legendary Pedro Almovodar. Starring Penelope Cruz, the movie’s story is many-layered and spans three generations. The movie is known for loads of cultural references and you’ll get to learn a lot of colloquial Spanish words and phrases, which you can then use for conversing.

  1. Perfectos desconocidos

Perfectos desconocidos or “Perfect Strangers” is a comedy movie from 2017 that was a massive critical and commercial success. Directed by Alex de la Iglesia, the movie revolves around seven friends who have come together for a dinner party. To make the party exciting, the seven of them play a game that involves each one of them reading aloud incoming messages or put incoming phone calls on speaker so that everyone can hear. Just like Volver, it’s a perfect movie to brush up on your colloquial Spanish skills.

  1. Perdiendo el Norte

Here’s another comedy film to complete the list of intermediate movies for Spanish learners. Perdiendo el Norte or “Off Course” revolves around two young Spanish men, who move to Germany to make something out of their lives. Some of the themes that the movie touches on include youth unemployment, estrangement, economic emigration, language barriers, infertility, and Alzheimer’s. So you can expect to hear tons of interesting Spanish phrases and words about different subjects.

Spanish advanced

  1. Mar Adentro

Mar Adentro or “The Sea Inside” is a drama that was awarded the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The movie revolves around the true story of Ramon Sampedro, a man who was paralyzed after an accident. Sampedro led a 28-year campaign to end his life legally and it is well-documented in the movie, which features a lot of heavy Spanish vocabulary. It’s recommended for advanced Spanish learners who want to challenge and take themselves beyond intermediate Spanish use.

  1. Ocho apellidos vascos

Released in 2014, Ocho Apellidos vascos or “Spanish Affair” is a romantic comedy movie that touches on various Spanish familial and marital traditions. Some of the themes of the movie include xenophobia, prejudices, and stereotypes. It’s one of the best movies you can watch to learn about how Spanish is spoken in Spain’s Basque region.

  1. Padre no hay mas que uno

A comedy film through and through, Padre no hay mas que uno or “Father There is Only One”, directed by Santiago Segura, revolves around a man called Javier. Javier is a husband and a father to five children who barely gives attention to his family. However, when his wife goes on a trip, he has no choice but to spend time with his kids. Numerous chaotic situations follow, but in the end, both the father and his children get to know more about each other. It’s a must-watch Spanish movie for learning numerous phrases that are typically used in family settings.

  1. Ahora o Nunca

Maria Ripoli’s Ahora o Nunca or “It’s Now or Never” is yet another romantic comedy that deals with the lives of Alex and Eva. The two, who have been happily dating for years, decide to tie the knot in a countryside village in England. However, chaos unfolds when air traffic controllers of the region go on a strike, which prevents Alex and his wedding guests from arriving at the destination. It’s one of the best Spanish movies you can watch to learn several phrases that touch on marriage formalities and romantic relationships in general.

Watching Spanish movies closely can teach you a lot not just about various Spanish words and phrases, but also how they are spoken depending on the circumstances. By practicing the words, phrases, and sentences that you’ll learn by watching these movies, you can significantly improve your listening and spoken Spanish skills. To take your Spanish learning further, it’s recommended to take a Spanish course abroad with Ynsitu; the perfect platform to practice all the Spanish you’ve learned so far and learn more.

8 languages to boost your career

We live in a globalized world, where people are increasingly prepared, which makes it difficult to stand out finding a job. Therefore, further training is crucial so this doesn’t happen.

More and more positions require knowledge or a certain level in more than one language, offering great job opportunities. So don’t hesitate to offer a plus having a certain level in another language. Believe it or not, this will open lots of doors for you.

Today, the most demanded languages are:

1. English

As we already know, It could be said that English is a fundamental requirement to find a job, either for jobs that require high qualification, or those which are more basic.

In addition, the knowledgement in this language allows you to obtain advantages when you are travelling and communicating internationally. If you are looking for a job in another country that doesn’t know your language, you will be able to perform your functions, being considered as a “global language”

2. Mandarin Chinese

China’s importance in the world economy makes Mandarin Chinese’s influence booming. It’s considered to be the second most important commercial language, behind English and in the coming years is expected to become the official language of Asia.

If you are looking for international job opportunities, it’s undoubtedly the best of the options, as four of the most important global companies are Chinese.

3. German

In Europe, Germany’s role is crucial.

German is officially spoken in six Central European countries and has several leading companies in its sector. It is one of the languages with the greatest economic opportunities, both in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, among others, as well as in Spain, as it is located such as Bosch, BMW or Siemens.

4. Japanese

Japan is the third largest economic power on the planet and has companies as large as Toshiba, Sony, Toyota, Honda, Yamaha… So it will be a great opportunity to get into them. Japan is known for its great innovation in all the technological issues. Therefore, this language is essential to work in the most technical, scientific or technological sectors.

5. Spanish

It’s the third most spoken language in the world, behind Chinese and English. There’re more than 500 million people who speak it and It’s the second most used language in international communication.

It’s also one of the official languages of the UN and its study is growing considerably in recent times, being the second most studied language in the world. It has a great influence on RRSS and in digital world.

Currently, it’s considered “the fashion language”.

6. Portuguese

Thanks to the development of Brazil, Portuguese is attracting a lot of attention today. It’s the second most spoken language in Latin America and It’s taught in the education of several African countries.

As for the labour, brazil’s development leads to the increase of trade agreements with brazil, thus requiring people with knowledge in the language. It’s a great opportunity to learn!

7. French

In both Europe and Africa, knowledge is available in this language and It’s used commercially.

In addition, you can see how the maternal speakers of this language, put it before English when doing business. So if you are interested in carrying out commercial actions with France, you’ll need to learn it in order to carry them out.

It’s considered the second language with the most advantages when travelling, as it opens many doors in communication.

In addition, the UN and WTO possess it as one of the official languages.

8. Arabic

Learning it is a challenge, but the opportunities it offers you for business with the Middle East are immense. Arab entrepreneurs have great power in energy, real estate and construction.

Thanks to digitization, we are constantly connected, so offering online business with this market will open doors for you and you will be able to take advantage of markets with high influence.

As you’ve already seen, there are many potential opportunities waiting for you. Don’t hesitate to boost your career by studying one or more of these languages.

Discover all kinds of courses that we have for you and the different countries in which you can do it.

Get the job of your dreams by hiring a course with Ynsitu!