One of the most exhilarating albeit occasionally uncomfortable situations in life is being surrounded by those who do not speak your language. Of course, nothing throws you headfirst into trying out another language like traveling. When nature calls while in France, you will learn Où sont les toilettes, s’il vous plaît? rather quickly. 😉
Here are a few other ways to delve into the intriguing realm of foreign tongues. I also encourage you to take as many foreign language classes as possible in high school and/or college.
1. Duolingo. This (free!) online language-instruction website challenges the learner to read, listen, and speak the language of choice. Favorites such as Spanish, French, German, and Italian are available as well as Ukrainian, Irish, and other unexpected finds. A few other languages are “hatching,” including Hebrew, Vietnamese, and even Klingon! I’m hoping that they’ll offer Mandarin someday. This is also a great tool for homeschoolers.
Check it out at: https://www.duolingo.com
2. Translation Apps. I spent hours playing with the Google Translate app after adding it a few months ago. With sophisticated sign/text/voice recognition, who can pass up this free app?
3. Living Language. This is an affordable language-learning option for auditory-visual learners who prefer the old-school method. If you like having a workbook, textbook, and audio CDs to listen to at home or on-the-go, this is the learning method for you.
4. Visit a restaurant or market where native speakers of your learning language work/shop. When long-distance travel is not an option, try out your new language in your own community! I remember ordering fried ice cream from a local Mexican restaurant during my Spanish class’s field trip. Good memories!
5. Travel. I’m reiterating here, but, trust me, travel drums a language into your head. Whether you’re vacationing, volunteering, or teaching English as a foreign language, stepping out of one’s comfort zone leads to the acquisition of numerous skills–language mastery among them.
Until next time. Happy Trails!