Reviews

A Few Brief Suggestions on Studying a Foreign Language

Learning to swim?
Sean Boswell, HS Freshman
Sierra College, Rocklin, CA.

In following the suggestions found on this source you will be better equipped for tackling the tribulations of learning a second language. Obviously, the author has learned a foreign language and is familiar with the basic conceptual principals of the skill itself. By acquiring the key principles into daily thought, the learner will understand what he must do to become fluent one day. I love how it compares the language with the skills of learning to swim or playing an instrument. Muscle memory and practice is highly necessary for properly conveying the language. And the author also indicates that it cannot be crammed into a night. This is very true. One must provide time to effectively acquire a vocabulary and properly use grammar. Good introduction to learning a foreign language.

Mouth memory
Jennifer Harpainter, HS Senior
Sierra College, Rocklin, CA

Learning a second language can be very difficult if not very intimidating. Following the suggestions given on this site will help the difficulties as well as, probably, the intimidation found in trying to learn a second language, such as Spanish, French or Chinese. The Author appears to be very familiar with the obstacles one must over come to achieve the goal of knowing a second language.

The article was very good in that it brought to the attention of the readers the importance of studying a second language every day as well as speaking it and hearing it as often as possible. There is no better way to learn a language than to submerge yourself as much as possible in it, so that it becomes not just brain memory, but mouth and muscle memory as well. Following these guidelines should help students get to their goal: of being as fluent as possible in their chosen second language.

suggestions on studying a foreign language
carmen breniz alvarez de la cuadra
Austin CC, Cedar Park, Texas

I really liked the authors suggestions on how to study a foreign language. It's very important when we are learning a foreign language to know that you are going to make mistakes, but that will improve you, even if people make fun of you, it's a way to remember what you've done wrong.

Also I like to repeat at loud words and sentences, so I won't forget.

Good stuff!
Lizel Cubos Vinzon, College Freshman
Austin Community College, Cypress Creek, TX

This is really good stuff! I really want to learn a language for sure. I just have trouble learning it in an English speaking country. I would like to learn the language when I am in the country. but that's just me. it will be very challenging to learn another kind of language here in the states espescially, when everyone around you speaks eEglish.

Foreign Language Learning
College Freshman
Sierra College, California

I agree with the author here when it comes to learning a new language. I myself have taken a few years of French and know the benefits of the ways of studying that this author put in here.

There were times, when I was taking fFench, that I would not study. Sometimes I did not even do the homework. I did terrible on tests and quizzes and I had a hard time implementing the structure of sentences and grammar.

However, when I studied (like the author suggests: speaking out loud, writing out the language, reading the French languages, and listening to the French language on DVDs) I did really well and understood the spoken and written language so much better. I suggest following what the author has written when it comes to learning a foreign language.

good suggestions
College Senior
Sierra College, Rocklin,CA

True, learning foreign languages should not be a rote process of flying through flashcards five minutes before the professor passes out the test. Furthermore, involvement in the class is vital. Missing a class could mean missing the instruction on pronunciation. If your professor is not diligent in correcting your pronunciation, this could be detrimental.

Go to labs regularly to give yourself extra exposure. The more exposure, the better. Sometimes the class isn't enough. It can be tedious and stray from the common language. Listen to the music or find friends to chat with in the language. Sometimes 2-3 days a week is not enough.

Best advice for learning a language
Jen O
Sierra College, Rocklin, CA

This article is the only one to mention what I consider the most important aspect of learning a language: Don't be afraid to make mistakes! Self-consciousness is indeed the biggest obstacle facing most students.

In this article, the author likens learning a foreign language to a child learning his first language. I find this to be absolutely true, which means lots of mistakes are part of the normal learning process. Check your ego at the door, and you will have more success learning a new language.

The advice to study regularly and form study groups is also solid advice. The only way to improve pronunciation is to speak, whether in the language lab or with a study group. I agree that this improves learning, and that class hours are not usually enough practice. Reading simple books in your chosen language also helped me. If books are too difficult, start with magazines and work up from there. As the author suggested, don't forget to read out loud to maximize speaking practice.

foreign language
College Senior
Canada College, Redwood City, CA

People should not be afraid to make mistakes when learning a foreign language, because it is communication. No one should be afraid to communicate. Making mistakes does improve our skills and knowledge in a language, so we should appreciate mistakes.

Learning Things Is Hard
Logan P
Sierra College, Rocklin, Ca

What I like about this article is that it focuses on the important parts and strategies of learning a new language. Most people, myself included, tend to focus on the memorization of new words and make a hundred flashcards when first starting out. Flash card memorization is important, but it isn't the quickest way to actually understanding the language.

"If you study out loud, you double your efficiency?"; when you make your mouth say what you're learning you then re-process the information when you hear yourself. This really does work and helps gain a quicker mastery of whatever you might be studying.

Overall, learning a new language is over-whelming, but if you can focus in on specific parts and master those, it's surprising the progress that can be made.

A Few Brief Suggestions on Studying a Foreign Language
College Freshman
Austin Community College, Austin, Texas

I've personally never been good at taking a foreign language. After 5 years of Spanish I still felt like i learned nothing. With what I just got finished reading, it taught me things about studying i never know for a foreign language. I really wish i would of known about this web site while I was still in high school. It would of made it a lot easier.

Great Advice!
Victoria McKinzie, College Freshman
Sierra College, NCC, CA

This article has really good suggestions. Learning a foreign language can be very challenging, so this advice is very helpful.

The part about studying out loud is very true. That way you can work on pronunciation and become more confident speaking the language while you work on writing and reading.

I like that the author emphasizes not to be afraid to make mistakes. This is so important while learning a foreign language. We learn from our mistakes! Being overly cautious about speaking the language will just slow down the learning process.

How to be fluent
HS Sophomore
Canada College, Redwood City

This article really addresses a person's expectation at the end of learning a foreign language. The ultimate goal of learning a new language is to be fluent. Most of the time, a student learns a new language because he or she wants to and not necessarily have to. By trying to cram a load of information in a few minutes will not enable the student to learn and utilize the the new language effectively. If the student really appreciates the language, he will take time. Besides, it takes time to be able to INSTINCTIVELY communicate in a new foreign language.

As the author states, you need to involve your body in the process. A person should not silently read the text because then when it comes to actually speaking the language, he will "draw upon his visual memory" to piece a few words together slowly. If he can "teach his mouth to use them in sentences", then the conversation will be much more fluent because his mouth has grown accustomed already. In order to achieve that, he needs to first engage his mouth, ears, and hands when learning so that the neurons in his brain can fire quickly and he can achieve fluency without thinking too much before speaking. He is basically teaching his whole body to learn the language.

Another of the author's good advice is not to be afraid of making mistakes. So don't be afraid to study with a partner to improve oral and listening skills.

A Few Brief Suggestions on Studying a Foreign Language.
Ryadh , College Freshman
Sierra College, Rocklin,CA

I think that this article tell us how you really should study a foreign language. I, generally, agreed with the author especially for two things. First, when it's said " If you study by reading silently, you draw only upon your visual memory while if you study out loud you double your efficiency by adding auditory memory and you make your mouth work [...]\". I personally experienced this when I started to learn English. I used to read silently but I was only improving my writing skills then I started to practice speaking out loud in English and I became much more understandable. That method helped my pronunciation.

Secondly, I agreed with the author when he says " don't be afraid to make mistakes". This was the worst mistake I did when I first had to speak English with Native speakers. That is a big obstacle that you to avoid while studying a foreign language.


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