Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Practical Foreign Language Skills

There are many ways to incorporate foreign language practice into your daily routine. Have fun while increasing your vocabulary.

Books and Magazines
Foreign language books may be available at your public library. If not, check online sources for books in many languages. For beginners, choose children's books or books with English text on one side and another language on the other. The American Bible Society has a selection of Bibles in many languages. If you are a more advanced student, look for online resources such as a newspaper or e-magazine from a country where your second language is spoken. If you travel, check airport stores for print magazines in your chosen language. You may also ask a friend who travels abroad to bring back a newspaper or magazine for you. A dictionary will come in handy as you stretch yourself by tackling reading beyond a textbook or phrase book.
Music and Movies
Play a CD in the car or load some music on your MP-3 player in a foreign language. Even a DVD you already own can be a foreign language resource if you are learning Spanish or French; simply go to "settings" on the DVD menu and select Spanish or French as the spoken language and/or subtitle language, then enjoy your movie.
Human Interaction
If there are nearby businesses or communities where you can practice conversational skills in your chosen language with native speakers, take advantage of the opportunity. Attend a worship service in American Sign Language, Korean, or Spanish. Frequent restaurants with staff who will patiently listen as you order in Spanish or Chinese. Visit an elderly neighbor who is bilingual.

Opportunities to practice your skills in a foreign language abound when you know where to look.