When learning a new language, there are four main skills you’ll need to work on. All four parts interconnect with one another and practicing all of them on a daily basis will skyrocket your learning process. A lot of people tend to put a lot more effort on certain skills and not enough on others. While any time spent learning a language is great, varying your skills will give you exceptional results. In this post, we will go through the four skills of language learning and look at how they can be used to increase your chances of success.
Obviously, it’s important to surround yourself with as much audio material as possible. When you hear a foreign language that’s completely unknown to you, it may sound like complete gibberish at first. And it’s not only because you don’t know the words. Research has shown that at a very young age, our brain is wired to distinguish certain sounds in our mother tongue. If the language you are trying to learn has sounds that are not in your register, you might have trouble hearing and reproducing them. The brain has the ability of distinguishing sounds it hears on a daily basis and tries to filter out the rest. Listening to your new language in abundance will eventually rewire your brain to hear the different sounds, stress, emphasis and other foreign subtleties, even if it seems impossible at first.
This is the most challenging skill to acquire for most people because it is harder to put into practice. Speaking is the end goal for many people. And yet, they don’t practice speaking much at all! Speaking must become part of your learning routine as soon as possible. It doesn’t always have to be an actual conversation. You can start by repeating out loud when you listen to the language to practice your pronunciation. You can even speak to yourself in the language you are learning. Make a habit of thinking in that language and even speak to yourself out loud whenever you have the chance. It can work wonders and it couldn’t be more convenient.
If you have the opportunity of speaking the language in the real world, it’s definitely the way to go. However, there are lot of resources available to you even if there is no one around. All you need is the internet. There are tons of affordable private teachers on websites like italki.com and even free language-exchange services you can use. It can be really nerve-wracking to speak another language in the beginning, but it’s incredibly gratifying.
Reading allows you to pick apart that giant lump of information called a language and to separate it in those small manageable parts called words. Ever wondered why native speakers seem to speak so darn fast? Well, one reason is that your brain can’t separate individual words and can’t tell where one word ends and the other begins. It just seems like a never-ending mix of strange syllables. When you’re reading, you can go at any speed you want, you have all the time in the world to look up new words, practice your pronunciation and try to make sense of it all. Reading not only increases your recognition of words, but also allows you to learn new words from context.
If you want to reach a high level in the language you’re learning, you need to make reading part of your routine. Read anything you can put your hands on; children books, movie subtitles, news articles, or even recipe ideas or renovation projects. Anything at all! Reading is easily accessible anywhere. It’s like a little miracle for your language-learning skills in general. That’s why we have included 60 original short stories in our language-learning program.
Voltaire once said: “Writing is the painting of the voice”. This is especially true when it comes to language learning. Writing is like speaking in slow motion. You can take all the time you need to find words and form sentences, while making sure the structure is right. This is a luxury you don’t have when speaking. Including a large amount of input learning in your routine is absolutely essential. But if you ever want to communicate well, language is a two-way street. You also need to be able to create material for yourself and output that new knowledge into the world.
Find a way to make writing enjoyable. Start by writing simple lists; like a shopping list or a bucket list. Write comments on social media on anything you find interesting. Once you are a bit more advanced, you could write a simple diary entry every day and find people to exchange messages with. Yes, you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone, but that’s what learning a language is all about. You don’t need to become a professional writer to become fluent in a language. You don’t even need to have the correct spelling at first. That’s not the goal here. The idea is simply to practice language output in a slower environment. We strongly believe that writing on a regular basis will improve your learning exponentially.
Input and output language learning are closely related and all skills are interconnected. But you also need to work on each area specifically. Creating a healthy balance of listening, speaking, writing and reading can bring you a lot of success in language learning. In OUINO, our language-learning program, we have a module dedicated to help you practice these four skills. You can also track your daily activities on a calendar to visualize your progress over time. This is incredibly effective. If you are interested to see how it works, you should check out our website at OUINO.com. Thanks a lot! 🙂
We have combined everything we know from years of language acquisition and research to create an awesome language-learning method. Visit OUINO.com to learn more.
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