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Learning a foreign language

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If you’ve got a bit of spare time on your hands you might want to consider learning a foreign language. Perhaps you’re planning a trip abroad and you’d like to learn the lingo, or maybe you just want to add to your skills base?  Speaking a second language is also widely reported to slow the ageing process in the brain, as well as being a brilliant gift to pass on to a child – infants in particular are especially adept at picking up a new language! You could also study a language that your child is learning at school so you can practice it together at home?

Whatever your reason, the tools you need to learn a new language are now more accessible than ever, and thanks to the internet, it needn’t cost the earth either. In fact there are now many ways to start learning a second language without spending a penny.

Free online courses

Free internet based courses are a great place to start. There are many courses to be found online, from very basic beginners to a more advanced level. Many of these courses come with audio and visual recordings to help bring the learning to life.

Read foreign newspapers online

learn a foreign languageMany newspapers now have their own websites so once you’ve chosen the language you want to learn, simply browse some of the country’s websites. Even if you don’t understand any of the words, you should be able to look up enough words using an online language dictionary to be able to get the gist of the article. Many websites now have video clips and news broadcasts which will give you an idea of how the language is spoken while you read the accompanying stories. This is a really good way to either start familiarising yourself with a language, or to put your skills into practice once you become more accomplished.

Subtitles

Watching movies spoken in a foreign language with English subtitling can also be an effective learning tool. Many DVDs now have options to be viewed in foreign languages or with foreign subtitling – both of which can be beneficial.

Podcasts

The commute to work or the school run can be a great way to take in some lessons. You can download various different free language-learning podcasts, as well as radio shows or programmes from different countries.

Foreign soap operas

Because of their easy to follow plot lines, watching foreign soap operas can be a great way to learn your second language. Without subtitles you will be forced to look for contextual clues and listen out for key words.

Buddy up

When you start to get more confident you might want to try linking up with a native, or at least someone who is fluent in the language you are learning. Your local English as a Second Language centre may be able to put you in touch with someone you can meet with in the classroom for mutual conversations.

 

 

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