In the modern world it seems like everyone has started to learn languages. And why not? Never before have we been able to talk to more people from different countries, access their culture and media and work together.
A second language is one of the most sought after skills employees are after in the modern world. So let's look at some tips to help you get out of the classroom and learning in a more natural way.
Get yourself out of the classroom and experience languages in a more natural way. Movies give you exposure to more realistic language that you'll find out and about than the more structure approach you'll experience in the classroom.
And let's face it, movies are fun to watch. In addition to learning the language, you want to get an insight into the culture, and if you can't go to the country, movies can be a great way to do this.
Think of how you learned English as a child, you were speaking it and listening, but you were also reading, and often. You would have read with your parents, by yourself, and in school. So why don't people read fiction when they're learning other languages?
It's always fun to get immersed in another world, and even better if you can couple this with learning a language. Of course, reading works of fiction in a foreign language is going to be tricky at first, so get started with graded readers. That way you can build up your skills and confidence gradually, whilst still challenging yourself.
For me this is probably the most important one. If you grew up in an English speaking country, then your foreign language classes probably didn't involve much speaking practise, and instead you probably had to conjugate different verbs. Well that's the reason most people from these countries can't speak a second language. If you're going to learn you have to speak, it's just that simple.
Speaking can be scary, especially if you're not that confident with the language, but you need to remember it's ok to make mistakes. If you're lucky enough to be in the country of the language you're learning, then try to do all your exchanges in the language.
The sooner you stop speaking English, the sooner you'll see your language improve.
If you're not enjoying it, you're probably not going to learn it. If learning a language feels like a chore to you and it's something you have to make yourself to, then you're just never going to achieve fluency.
Instead try to make it fun. There are hundreds of language learning apps available, that turn language learning into a game. You don't have to learn grammar through classroom exercises. Instead you can download Duolingo and learn it through fun.
Whatever method you choose, just make sure you enjoy it. You want to love the process of learning not just the ability to speak another language.
If you're just speaking the language when you're 'learning,' then you're always going to have a disconnect between you and the language. English is your comfortable language and the other language is your learning language. You need to break this!
Find yourself a language exchange, or a meet up and start socialising. The moment you use your language to socialise and not just for function, is the moment you're crossing into the world of fluency.
This might be the hardest barrier to break, but it's the most important one.