Wednesday, October 26, 2016

study tools for learning a foreign language

In most high school and colleges, students are required to take a certain amount of hours or number of classes in a foreign language. Personally, I love my foreign language classes and feel that speaking another language is a very useful life/career skill. Today, I wanted to share a few tips and resources with y'all for studying a foreign language and how you can be successful in not only getting a good grade in your class, but actually absorbing the information and being able to use the language. This is gonna be a pretty long post (I got a lot ta say) so grab a drink or snack and get comfy!

Study Resources

It's SO important to have lots of resources to use when studying because you need a lot of variance in the different types of practice you're getting. If you only study vocab, and don't work on verbs, you're going to have a hard time applying all the information to writing or speaking! Here are a few of my favorite resources with everything from vocab, to verbs, to videos, to an awesome dictionary. I take Spanish, so a few of these are specific to that language, but most of them can be applied to any language!!

one // Quizlet
Quizlet has seriously been a LIFESAVER for me. There's so many awesome ways to study vocabulary on this website, and you can print out your word lists so you always have access to a paper copy. They also have an app so you can practice on the go!! Some teachers post the vocab lists in Quizlet themselves, but if not you can make your own set of words from the list your teacher gives, or just put in words you have a hard time with!

two // Word Reference Dictionary
If you've ever taken a foreign language class, you've probably heard this a bazillion times, but GOOGLE TRANSLATE IS NOT RELIABLE. They often have incorrect conjugations and grammar and sometimes get words wrong. I always, always use Word Reference because I know it's accurate. They have every word you could think of (duh, because it's a dictionary) and all the verb conjugations you could ever need. There's an app for this one as well and it's one of the most used apps on my phone if I'm being honest.

three // Conjuegemos
This is a website to practice with grammar stuff and conjugation. I believe it's mainly focused toward Spanish, but they have several other languages as well. This has been one of my favorite tools for practice and is the most helpful resource for conjugation.

four // Senor Jordan Videos
This YouTube channel is only for studying Spanish, but I guarantee you if you look it up on YouTube you can find videos to study any language. My teachers have recommended this guy again and again, and his videos are very informative and helpful. He also includes lots of examples and practice so it's very interactive!

Study Tips

one // Practice ALL THE TIME
If you can say it in your language, say it in your language. Around the house, in your head, IN CLASS. Y'all, I cannot stress enough how important it is to actually participate in speaking activities in your class. A lot of students at my school ignore the teachers' instructions to speak only in Spanish or to speak with a partner and will only talk in English instead. a) This is not beneficial in any way and can only hurt you in the long run b) it's distracting to other students who are trying to stay in the target language. You will improve so much if you just speak all the time - even if you're being silly. Also, practice reading in your language. Try reading news articles to start, and when you feel confident enough, maybe try books or reading a Bible in your language. I haven't done it yet, but I really want to try reading some low level childrens' books and working my way up to more advanced stuff.

two // Watch movies and shows
Try finding some shows or movies you like in the language so you can practice comprehension and hearing different voices! You can start watching with subtitles in your native language, and then move into subtitles in the target language, or no subtitles as you advance.

three // Find music you like
I love to study with music, but it's difficult to do that when you're studying Spanish and listening in English. My teachers have always suggested finding good music in the language because it keeps your brain in one mode. If you don't know where to start, there's like 10 billion playlists on Spotify of music in different languages. I also recently found this Spanish artist and their music is SO PRETTY.

How do you study your foreign language? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Have a great day!

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