What experience do I have? Well, most of the time I can speak English which is my first language. I can speak a good amount of Greek and Spanish also. This wasn’t always the case, however using these 10 tips really helped improve my communication skills in Greek and Spanish. Just for the record, yes my background is Greek, however I didn’t really start becoming comfortable with the language until my 20’s moving to Athens and making an effort. When I was younger I could understand Greek, but the conversation skills weren’t there. My mom mainly spoke to us in English, unless of course we were getting in trouble and that’s when it was full-on Greek. 🙂 Being yelled at in Greek meant you’re in trouble…. BIGTIME!!! You don’t want the “pandofla” ( the slipper) or the wooden spoon to come out! Finally, here are my 10 tips to learn a language quickly and easily.
1. LEARN BASIC GRAMMAR Learning basic grammar is like your meat and potatoes of any language. Once you learn the basics, you will be able to quickly learn filler words and make sentences to communicate what you want. You don’t have to learn everything, but the present tense and the key rules! When I was 16 years old, I travelled to Monterrey, Mexico for an exchange program for three months. I would sit with the mother in the kitchen while she was cooking and we would talk and talk. It’s here that I had my Spanish dictionary and when I didn’t know a word, I would look it up!
2. GO TO THE COUNTRY WHERE THEY SPEAK THE LANGUAGE FOR AN IMMERSION You will be surrounded by people speaking the language that you want to learn. You will be going out using transportation, visiting places, going to restaurants and meeting people. You will be forced and put on the spot to communicate and use your language skills and basic grammar. You’ll be surprised at all the words you will be learning. Especially the bad words! he he You might even learn those words first!
3. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO SPEAK THE LANGUAGE If you can’t visit a country where they speak the language you wish to learn, then surround yourself where you are! Try to practice once or twice a week and have some conversations!
4. WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS OR OTHER ONLINE MEDIA IN THAT LANGUAGE You will get your ear accustomed to the language. You will hear slang. You will hear what the people say when they do simple things on TV. For example, ” Can you please pass the salt?” It will help! I watch Greek YouTube series which has really helped me! There is a Spanish series I saw on Netflix called Velvet. I will soon start that to brush up my Spanish! Has anyone watched it?
5. LISTEN TO MUSIC You might be surprised by how much they sing about amor, or break-ups. You might improve your romance speaking skills, “I will love you forever, I can’t live without you, You are my everything.” lol In Greece I noticed there are lots of songs that include smoking cigarettes. I guess it’s that European thang. Only in Paris do women make smoking look classy and healthy!
6. READ ONE PAGE A DAY Read one page a day. It’s a bit obvious why. 😛
7. FIND A ROMANTIC PARTNER. WINK WINK You could always find a romantic partner where they can help you learn their language. Not everything can be body-language, right? 😛
8. USE GOOGLE AND OTHER COMMUNITY FORUMS Use Google and other community forums to interact and chat with people. There is an entire world out there that wants to chat.
9. VISIT CULTURAL EVENTS IN YOUR CITY Toronto is a huge multicultural city where we are fortunate to have many events. Hopefully you can see in your city if there are events coming up. Have some food, drinks, meet some people and have fun!
10. HAVE PERSISTENCE Like in anything is life, if you want something, you have to persist and make it happen! Keep going even when it feels hard and challenging. Hope you enjoyed my 10 tips in learning how to learn a language quickly and easily!
Take Care Travel Peeps, Elaine xx