Considering Learning a Language (Part 1)

Considering Learning a Language (Part 1)


Although repetition in learning a foreign language can be boring, it is key to your success. Many studies on language acquisition show that very high numbers of repetition are necessary for a word to become truly owned and in your long term memory. This is why so many language classrooms require choral repetitions. Repetitions can be verbal, aural, read or written. So, when you study, hit the word or verb conjugation as many times as possible.
Hit all our senses (except smell) You will retain new vocabulary better if the repetition includes as many of your senses as possible. Thus, ideally, you should be studying in a place where you can speak the work out loud as you write it down or read it. Writing large characters can also help with retention.

Mirrors and acting

Watch yourself in the mirror from time to time as you speak your foreign language. Practice various postures, act angry in your language, act happy or sad. Use the language to truly communicate your feelings so that it has meaning and context.


Some students are very nervous in foreign language classes. You don’t want to say something stupid and make a fool of yourself. Unfortunately, learning a language almost guarantees that you will say something stupid. That really is okay, you just have to convince yourself that it is okay. Even the best language learners experience this. My first nigh with my French family on my study abroad, I mistakenly told them I was pregnant in an attempt to say that I was full. They thought this quite amusing. I do too, now. You learn from your mistakes. This is part of the process.

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