Materials and Strategies for Learning the Language
Just as all cars are not created alike, neither are all materials for learning a language created alike. Some are simply just better than others.
Invest in good language software -I have used foreign language software and I like Rosetta Stone and Rocket languages the best. The large pictures are magnificent and aid in the memory process. You are also taught by short expressions that build on one another. This goes in line with educational psychology which shows that we learn by chunking information. Rosetta Stone software will teach you the language through reading, writing, listening and speaking. It involves all of our senses. Rocket language has a different variation on this but it is basically the same.
Find a Tutor- this may sound hard, but with todays technology it can be easy. Find an internet pen pal who speaks the foreign language and start writing the language as best as you can. You can even go one step further and speak to them via Skype. Skype is free software that enables you to speak with another person over the internet as long as they also have Skype. You canspeak to people all over the world for free. Finding a tutor will go a long way toward improving your foreign language skills.
Don't forget podcasts - if you listen to a podcast, there are numerous podcasts that can be found on Apple itunes that give free foreign language lessons. You can also be brave and download foreignlanguage podcasts from the country of origin and listen to the target language as it is spoken. I wouldn't do this until you are at least intermediate in your language abilities. You don't want to be frustrated by the speed of native speakers.
Online games. We learn when we play. There are plenty of websites that have online games in foreign language that will improve your vocabulary. Consult here for a portal that will get you started.
Use your Travel Time - Traveling in a car is a great time to learn some vocabulary and expressions. If we spent just 10 minutes in the car listening to a foreign language instead of music, after a month we would have spent 4 and a half hours learning a language. After a year that would be over fifty hours which is almost two courses worth of instruction. (assuming a 30 hour college course). Imagine if you listened to a language for 30 minutes a day for 5 five days.
Travel to the country. If you are studying Spanish make an effort to travel to Spain or South America. Once there you could connect with some of your friends that you have been chatting with online.
Online penpal. Before I spoke about talking to someone directly over the internet, if that is a little to daunting then try connecting with an online penpal.
Flash cards are a great learning tool. Flash cards are good because they give you immediate feedback. For them to work effectively say them out loud. You could use simple 3 by 5 cards or you could go online and make your own online flash cards.
Foreign Language Films - Watch a foreign language film with English subtitles. Films are readily available at your local Video store. This will help you to hear the language and assimilate correct pronunciation. You can also find multiple TV stations online that you can watch from other countries. Consult this website for those stations. www.wwitv.com is a good place to start.
Foreign Language Forum- join a foreign language forum or discussion group.