1. Be present
When learning any language, it is helpful to not think too far ahead. When you focus on how many words there are yet to learn, it can be overwhelming and lead to less progress. On the other hand, remind yourself often of how far you have come. Perhaps not long ago, you would not have been able to recognise any words in your chosen language. Now they are imprinted clearly in your memory. Be present and set aside time each day to work on your language.
2. Become confident with speaking incorrectly!
Build up set of stock phrases
When people start learning a language, it is tempting to imagine that they will achieve fluency in a relatively short time. Language learning is a long-term commitment. It is good practice to acquire a set of phrases and key vocabulary to depend on. This can help you find the confidence to make that jump to engaging in conversation.
HandsonTurkish,com is designed to enable you to learn and remember such key phrases.
Let go of perfection
The next step is to let go of perfection and have fun with it. You can only get better by taking that leap. The worst thing that could happen is that you make a mistake and someone doesn’t understand. Even then, in most cases, people are happy to help find the right word or correct your pronunciation.
Grow listening skills
Similarly, remember that you will not be able to understand everything that is said to you. Try to be comfortable with this lack of clarity. People who speak two or more languages are much more effective communicators in their native tongue. This is because they can listen and understand an unclear message. Through engaging in conversation, even if you understand only a little, you are developing this skill all the time.
Just by speaking to real people, your confidence comes on in leaps and bounds.
3. Find someone to practice with
In our interconnected world, it is easier than you might expect to find a language partner.
In my experience, taxi drivers are always happy to exchange words in their language and have a lot of patience if you are a beginner. For a set time, you have a designated speaking lesson with a native tutor.
Local Restaurant and Shop Staff
Learning a language is about more than just grammar. It is also a wonderful way to discover culture and food. In most cities there is a range of different restaurants and local shops offering food and products from abroad. The waiter or shop assistant might not always speak the language you are learning but often you can find a good language partner. Being curious about the available foods can also be a very good conversation starter. This kind of communication could develop into a regular opportunity to practice your language.
Stay present, make mistakes, speak to people
by Stephanie Scullion
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