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سایت شخصی خانم فرشچیان وب گاه تخصصی زبان انگلیسی - راهکارهایی برای یادگیری یک زبان خارجی (بخش اول)

راهکارهایی برای یادگیری یک زبان خارجی (بخش اول)

 

نوع مطلب :مطالب مفید درسی و مقالات ،

Tips and Tricks for Learning a Foreign Language (part one)


1. How to Make the Most of a Language Immersion Camp

If you plan to do a language immersion camp (a trip in a foreign country where you study your target language in its natural settings), or another trip of the same kind, where the main purpose is to improve and practice your target language, then there are some things you should consider to make the most out of it. You can really make decisive advances in your target language in as little as two weeks if you do it right, but you can also totally lose your time or money, which is alas the easiest and most common occurrence.

The best thing is to ...

  • Go on the trip alone, so you won't be tempted to speak your mother tongue all the time.
  • Live in a family with no other foreign student, so you will have to speak your target language for the most basic things, and you will hear it all day long.
  • Get one-to-one lessons with a smart, sympathetic and competent native speaker. Group course are no good and you will need much more time. Bad teachers do exist, and are well worth avoided. Some people teach a language which is not their mother tongue; they may be a necessary evil in your country, but they are definitely not in your target country.
  • Speak only in your target language, even with your con-nationals acquaintances.
  • Read the local newspapers listen to the local radio, watch the national TV.
  • Try to find some books in your target language about some topic you love, and then read them slowly, writing down on flash cards the words you don't know.
  • Get interested in the local culture.
  • Try to make local friends and avoid the company of your co-nationals.
  • Always try to make a perfect pronunciation.
  • Never be satisfied with being understood, but strive to speak as well as a local.
  • If there are several versions of a document (a guide) in different language, make a point to always take the version in your target language.
  • Always carry a deck of blank flash cards and write down all the words you don't understand. If you're a beginner, then limit yourself to the most useful words.
  • Make a point of never going to bed before you have translated all the day's flash cards (some you won't be able on your own, leave them aside and ask your teacher). Then sleep a night on the new flash cards, and review them all one time the next day.
  • Try to find out the most common expressions and fashionable words. That will give charm to your speaking.

In any case you should never ...

  • Hang out only with people from you country and speak your mother tongue all day long. That't the number one cause of a failed (from the language point of view) trip. Most people will do everything with conationals, speaking their mother tongue all the time. You loose time and money doing this.
  • Live in a camp with hundreds of foreigners and doing language lessons in the morning. Maybe you have to do this for some reasons, but you should realise that this is an inferior solution because it shuts you out of the country you visit, and steals most opportunities to practice the language you're learning.

At least you should ...

  • Live in a family
  • Avoid spending your days with people from your country
  • Use flash cards as much as you can
  • Be able to master perfectly the basics of small talk in 10-15 days
  • Tell me if you used some of these advices on a trip, or if you have others to suggest!

 

2. How to use Flash Cards to Improve your Vocabulary Using Time you did not Know you had


 

What is a flash card?

A flash card is a little piece of paper, the size of a business card, which has on one side a new word in a language you're learning, and on the other side a word in your mother tongue. 

How do I make a flash card?

Take little cards or better; make them out of thin paper (so that that you can pile up more, durability is of no importance here). Always have a blank stack with your language method, dictionary, radio, or whatever tool you use to learn your language. Whenever a new interesting word appears, write it down on a blank flash card, find out its meaning and write it on the other side. At the end of the gathering session, you make a little deck with your flashcards, and put them in a little plastic pocket.
Alternatively, you can use my free flash card software if you have Access.

Where can I get ready-to-use flash cards?

If you need to build a general vocabulary, buying a stack of printed flash cards is an attractive alternative. They are stronger, clearer and save you a lots of time. The best general publisher of flash cards I know is Visual Education. Their typical package contains 100 flash cards with one word and its derivative on each, for at total of over 3'000 words. I used the Russian stack with great success, and friends told me great things about the Italian one. A good buy for 10$.

How is it used?

Whenever you have time (see below) you take a deck and begin with one side for (example,   French to English) and try to discover the word on the other side. If you guessed correctly, you move the flash card to another deck, if not you put it at the end of the original deck.
Then drill you skills in the other direction (English to French) in the second deck. The words you successfully guessed go to a third deck. After a week you can take this third deck and go again from French to English, and so on until you know each word perfectly, or just decide you know it and then put the terminated flash card in a cup over your fireplace.

When is it used?

The best part of this method is that you don't need to allow any special time to learn your flash cards. Just have your decks on you at all times during the day, and whenever a small moment appears, take your decks out and drill a few cards. Such hidden moments include:

·         Waiting for an elevator and inside it

·         Waiting in line at some desk, museum or cinema

·         Commuting in public transports

·         Waiting on the phone

·         Waiting at the restaurant

Why is this method superior?

·         It's free, versatile and easy to use

·         You don't need any specific time to drill your new vocabulary, all the time it takes is already here, hidden in your day

·         It's far better than word lists, because you can break it up in any minute and then group the words by their difficulty, they don't stay in the order you wrote them down

·         The moment you find a new word you'd like to learn, all it takes is to write it down once, and that's it ! You're ready to drill it until you know it, and you cannot "forget" about it. It will always come back on your deck until you learn it to get rid of it!





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