LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE: How to start

In an increasingly globalised world, the learning of at least one foreign language is something that all culturally engaged individuals (should) aspire to. To learn a foreign language not only opens doors for you in terms of employment, but it also opens your mind to a new way of thinking, as well as new people, new cultures and new experiences.

Thanks to the modern-day awareness and emphasis on the importance of learning languages so many people, both young and old, are now embarking on the life-long journey of language learning; (language itself will always adapt to the ever-changing world around it.) But what are the best methods to start learning?

Duolingo

Starting with perhaps the most cliché option, Duolingo is a great place to start when learning a language. It starts from the very beginning so no prior knowledge of the language is necessary. Personally, I began learning German through this app and found it fantastic, I am by no means fluent but I’m able to hold basic conversations which is a great foundation on which I can build.

Facebook groups

One resource that people often neglect to think of is Facebook, on which the possibilities are endless when it comes to connecting to learners and native speakers alike. There are so many groups available to join, either for learning a specific language, language learning in general or groups for pairing language learners with native speakers.

Make friends!!

Within Swansea University there are students from every corner of the globe and therefore chances are that someone will speak your target language and connecting with such students is easier than you think. A great place to start is to join a society, we are fortunate that there are several language oriented societies in Swansea.

Travel

Finally, my personal favourite method for learning a language; travel! Admittedly it’s the option that costs the most, but it is definitely the most adventurous and exciting option. When in the country of your target language you’re forced to at least try and use the language, even if it’s very basic. You’ll be surprised how far a few stock phrases will get you!

Key phrases that are ideal to learn first

Basic greetings, i.e. – Hello, Goodbye, My name is…, It’s nice to meet you, What’s your name?

Basic directions i.e. – Where is the … closest bar/restaurant, hotel, the main square

Key verbs, i.e. – to have, to buy, to eat, to drink, to want

by Meryl Hanmer

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