Hello everyone! I love learning new languages, and during the course of my life I have studied 9 languages, including English, Korean, Japanese as well as French, German, Spanish and even Gaelic!
I don’t speak all of these languages fluently, I gave up on some of them, but I realised that I have a gift for learning new languages. People always ask me for tips so I thought I’d share some with you.
While I was studying English at school, I thought the classes were not sufficient to bring me to proficiency. There was too much focus on grammar, and not enough on speaking, which I believe is a problem in other countries as well. So I complemented the literary part by developing some listening and speaking skills by myself:
I’d buy English magazines (which often contain slang, idioms and modern, everyday language, as opposed to literature or grammar books) and try to translate every article little by little, increading my vocabulary.
I’d listening to English music and try to write out the lyrics by myself, later checking if I had got it right and learning from my mistakes.
I’d watch movies in English with subs, which helped my understanding greatly, especially for the more difficult accents from around the English spekaing world! (Billy Elliot is one of my favourite movies, but the first time I watched it in English I couldn’t understand a word! Haha ^^;)
For Japanese, I used the website http://maggiesensei.com/ which helped me with some common expressions which you wouldn’t necessarily find in books. It’s a great resource!
I used to practice the Hiragana and Katakana alphabets by writing them out many times, and then writing some easy-to-remember words - this helped me remember some syllables which I was mixing up in the beginning, like cha and ra and ki, for example…
I also bought a pack of Kanji flashcards and I find them very helpful for learning and remembering Kanji!
I also started attening language exchange meetings in my local library, where I made many Japanese friends, who then helped me out.
For Korean, www.talktomeinkorean.com is my biggest resource at the moment, as they are very active and I can find different levels as well as interesting videos or podcasts.
Watching Kdrama helps as well! I always pick up some useful words, and little by little improve my fluency - I’m always told I sound natural, probably thanks to drama marathons! ^^;
And I also attent language exchange meetings. I joined a cultural exchange group and made lots of Korean friends, which helps!!
I really hope some of these tips help you out… I still have a long way to go with Korean, but the most important thing is not to give up and keep the motivation ^^