Since I was younger, I have been trying to learn new languages. I’m a native Spanish speaker and of course, my first try was English. I have to say that it was hard although I studied a lot, repeating things in my mind, listening to music or watching films with no subtitles. However I always felt that I was missing the magic touch for it. That some people have that gift and I wasn’t one of them. Nevertheless, I liked learning a lot and at that moment I thought it would be useful someday, even just for asking for a cheeseburger.
1. Speak without fear
After that I moved to France and something similar happened there. The only difference at that time, was that I wasn’t afraid to try to talk anymore. However, I noticed something different: I was better prepared and I wasn’t afraid to talk, but a lot of people didn’t understand a word of what I was saying and many could clearly understand me. With the time I realized that people who are willing to understand you will always try regardless of your accent, your mistakes or their lack of time. So, my first tip would be just talk, don’t be afraid to be wrong or make a fool of your self.
2. Go with the flow
3. Read out loud
If you feel that you are still not ready to go into the unknown, there is a small exercise that I used to do. Prepare some text in the language you are learning and read it out loud. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand half of what you are reading. The idea is to exercise your mouth. I guess you have heard that talking is an exercise, well, it is true. Depending on the language you want to learn you need to use different muscles of your vocal apparatus and there is a high probability that there are some of them that you have never used before. That’s why there are some sounds that we feel are impossible to repeat like the french /r/. Doing this exercise will help you discover those muscles.
I’m a front-end developer with 4 years of experience. I work at OnTheGoSystems as a WPML supporter in French, Spanish and English. I’m really passionate about WordPress and good practices. I’m also a new technologies lover and I’m always looking for finding new and better solutions for improving user experience. I adore traveling and learning new languages, new challenge: Learning Portuguese!