Language Basics Before Traveling

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Dedicate time to learn a new language! It's important when traveling.

Learning a new language, whether for business or for pleasure, can be hard after adolescent years but don't let that discourage you! What makes it hard is not having anyone to speak the language with. But that can be solved. All is asked of you is to dedicate some time. Knowing three languages myself, you can quickly forget simple words when you do not use your languages often. Here are some tips to help enhance vocabulary and pronunciation:

  1. Vocabulary Books - I'm not a fan of a "Learn Italian in a Day!" books that promise you fluency after completing their assignments. Those can only take you so far, hence, why you don't remember that language you took for 5 years in high school. You need to submerge yourself in the language, but of course, these books are a good start. (Especially for languages that involve different characters than the English language.)
  2. Journal - I keep a journal for words I recently learned a spelling to. I'm a visual learner, so this helps me instill it in my mind. When reading or practicing in work books, write down the words you think you will forget in the future. I'm still learning English vocabulary! The best way is to write them down.
  3. Pocket Dictionary - Pick a word a day to learn and use it in a sentence. And you never know when it might come in handy.
  4. Literature - Start off with children books you are familiar with. Maybe a classical Dr. Seuss book in another language. Read them out loud to your self. Reference your mini dictionary for any words you don't understand. Work your way up to magazines, newspapers, and then novels.
  5. Podcasts - When learning a new language we typically understand more than we can speak. Listen to podcasts provided on iTunes. They have ones to help you in whatever language you would like to learn.
  6. Music/TV - Memorizing songs are easier than memorizing a list of vocabulary. Listen to the local music of the country or region you are learning the language in. Likewise with television. You can Google different kids shows in other languages to start off with and work your way up to soap operas or the news.
  7. Friend and/or Community - And finally the best thing you can possible have is a friend. You absolutely NEED someone to speak to. It's very hard to progress with out it. If you do not have anyone to talk to, check out the live language community: www.livemocha.com You can find someone to help you with your speaking and writing skills by talking through audio or emailing. And its free!

Have any suggestions to add to this list?

Aylin

Aylin is a 22-year old traveler and student. She has lived in Europe for over eight years and visits at least two countries per year. For article tips and discussions, follow her blog Young Traveler. She is also the creator of the YoungTraveler movement on Twitter and Facebook.

Website: www.oneyoungtraveler.com/

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Comments  

0 # Jared 2012-04-10 09:17
Thank you so much for these tips. So much of what you wrote I never even thought of. My plan thus far was buy the Rosetta Stone and hope for the best. So I think I am much better off now.

For someone just starting out on their own. What do you think a good beginner language to try and learn would be?
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