We discovered a good article on TED Blogs, sharing tips for language learning from people who operate in 2 or more languages every day - translators.
Here are the tips in a nutshell (read the original article here):
- Get real(with your learning goals). You won’t get fluent in a day.
- Make language-learning a lifestyle change. Learning is not just a new year’s promise or a hobby, but a new skill to have for life.
- Play house with the language. i.e. surround yourself with the language you’re learning as much as possible.
- Let technology help you. Here’s where Lingvist comes in handy. Create an account for free!
- Think about language-learning as a gateway to new experiences.
- Make new friends. Talking is a skill you can develop through practice.
- Do not worry about making mistakes.
No 7 is the most important piece of advice out of all of these.
Talking in your own language is hard enough; who hasn’t made a grammar error every once in a while? Plus, we’re often shy and self-conscious when we meet new people in the hope that they’ll find us pleasant and interesting.
Speaking in a foreign language means double the fear. But fear not :) Overcoming the first psychological barrier and actually trying to talk in another language will help you immensely. And people are mostly happy to see someone make an effort and speak in their mother tongue, so they will help you out.