When you’re visiting a new country it’s good to be able to speak the language, even just a little bit. It opens up far more opportunities for you because you can interact with the locals more. Finding the true heart of a city is so much easier if you move away from all of the tourist attractions and find the places that the locals recommend. It’s a far more authentic experience and helps you to really immerse yourself in their culture. The problem is, learning a language is hard and if you don’t have that much time, it’s difficult to get past a few basic phrases. Fortunately, there are some shortcuts that you can use to speed things along a bit, here are a couple of the best ones.
Immerse Yourself In The Language
This is probably the most common tip that you get and it’s the reason why moving to the country for a while is the easiest way to pick up a new language. But how are you supposed to do that before you go out there? There’s plenty of easy ways that you can do it. Watching films in another language without the subtitles on is a good way to pick up more of the conversational phrases and it improves your listening skills because you’re forced to try to pick out words at a normal talking speed. Trying to read books and magazine in another language is also very helpful. Learning all of the formal words is fine, but when you get into a conversation with a local out there, you need to know some of the colloquialisms and slang that will pop up in books and movies.
Work On Pronunciation
When you’re learning a language in a formal education setting, being able to read and write it is usually most important, but when you’re out there using it for real, correct pronunciation is key. Nobody will understand you otherwise. One of the best ways to do it is record your conversation practice and listen back to it. Then you can easily pick out the words that you’re getting wrong. It’ll also help you to understand the words better when somebody else is speaking to you. Focus on some key questions and answers and get them right, rather than just trying to memorise a huge amount of words.
Some of the best resources for learning languages are completely free. Duolingo is one of the best ones because it has a unique way of teaching you the language. It essentially tries to recreate the way that you learn a language as a baby. You start by matching pictures to words and then gradually, through trial and error, you build up into more complex sentences. It’s an app you can get on your phone so you can do a quick lesson whenever you’ve got a spare 5 minutes. It also has goals and milestones, along with rewards for doing lessons every day so it pushes you to stick to your routine.
These tips aren’t going to make you fluent in a language right away but they’ll help you to learn enough to enrich your travel experience.