Watching a foreign movie in your target language is a great way to expose yourself to your foreign language. While you probably won’t understand everything (especially if it’s a war movie), you will begin to develop an ‘ear’ for your language. You don’t even have to buy them because there are plenty online. Try and find a series of a common ‘soapie’ as they have very predictable and everyday language. You will be hearing the words spoken at normal speed and acclimatizing yourself when you visit your target country. Be wary of watching foreign language films with subtitles as it will just become a reading exercise and subtitled or dubbed films may lose a lot in translation.
Reading a foreign language newspaper can also help you discover idiosyncrasies of your target country. Highlight all the new words and look them up. But then make sure you create your own sentences to incorporate your new words into your language. Go to http://newspapermap.com/ to see articles in all target country languages.
Try reading children’s books in your new language and you may find you can comprehend a lot more language as they are easier to understand especially if the stories are known to you. Be wary of the classics as you may not know the words for prince and princess which abound in these books. The Hungry Caterpillar for example is available in many languages. Reading illustrated children’s books really works well with VLLC’s learning method of picture sound association.
Singing songs in a foreign language is another great way to learn phrases, language and culture. You can Google nursery rhymes in foreign languages and more modern songs. Hearing popular songs from Eurovision is also another idea.
You can learn a lot about foreign foods, culture and language by eating out at authentic ethnic restaurants. Not only will you enjoy the tastes specifically related to your target country but you will also experience menus written in foreign language and allow yourself to get used to the various national dishes of that country. Try talking to the wait staff in your new language and try cooking some of these foods at home.
Label objects in your house in your new language- put post it notes on your furniture, with a note on your fridge asking – What do you want to eat? This allows you to practice your new language every day.
Don’t get discouraged at the beginning stages. The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Keep taking steps every day towards your fluency and enjoy your language journey.
These blogs are about learning a foreign language and how utilising that skill can help to keep your mind active and assist with your cognitive function.