These people know five languages: advice from polyglots on how to master a foreign speech
Pulling up on English for work, learning French from scratch to communicate while traveling, or mastering Chinese as a new hobby is all possible if you have a goal and choose the right learning methods. Edition The Village asked people who are fluent in four or five foreign languages and a few more at a basic level to share effective language learning techniques and useful life hacks.
Ekaterina Pustovit - expert with financial crime
Fluent in four foreign languages: English, Polish, French and Turkish; at a basic level knows eleven more, including Spanish, Hebrew and Finnish.
“The first language I started writing in was English. When I was 5 years old, my parents and I moved to Israel, where I studied English. Therefore, the first language that I began to write was exactly English, - says Ekaterina. - When I returned to Ukraine at the age of nine, I corrected the mistakes of the teacher, for which I constantly received low marks. My parents and I also lived in the USA (for about four years) and in Finland. During this time, I improved my English and learned a little Finnish. However, the second was much more difficult, because at school we were taught perfect Finnish, which the locals don't really use.
She began to study Turkish at the university. The reason for this was academic interest and a boyfriend from Turkey.
“And now I live in Poland and over the past four years I have learned Polish perfectly through courses and independent work,” she says. - Now I am getting my doctorate at Lancaster University and have come to the point where I don’t know which language is easier for me to communicate. In England they think I am English. When I speak Polish, I do it not with a Ukrainian accent, but with English. I speak eleven languages at A2 level. This is the basic level that helps me to communicate with foreigners on everyday topics. "
Good job and income
“At work, I get paid extra for knowing foreign languages, so I have the highest income in the crime department where I work,” says Ekaterina.
Before learning any foreign language, in her opinion, you need to:
Set specific goals
“For example, I want to learn French, because it is one of the languages of the European Parliament. I also want to work for a year in Belgium, where this language is very much appreciated. Without a goal, there will be no motivation to move on.
You should not immediately enroll in many languages, as there is a chance of getting confused and not learning any of them. Better to focus on one or two languages. "
Maintain discipline and consistency
It is very important not to take long breaks in learning the language and practice systematically. Better to do one hour a day, three times a week. And on other days, set aside fifteen minutes to read, listen to podcasts, or watch the news.
However, you do not need to set a goal for yourself to pass the A1 level in a week, and get A2 on the next Tuesday. Because, in fact, there is no exact distribution into levels and such goals can only confuse. According to Ekaterina, it is really possible to learn a language in a year, and in a month you can only learn basic things.
Don't focus on the rules
There are often more exceptions than the rules themselves. For example, the unreadable letter "h" in English. You can memorize the rules, before which letters "h" will be read, and before which - not. However, this is an inefficient method as there are many exceptions that do not follow this rule. Therefore, you need to focus on speaking in order to memorize the pronunciation of words.
Tips for learning languages
“When I studied foreign languages, I identified methods that help me maintain a high level of knowledge. Here is some of them.
Chat with native speakers
The best way out of the situation is to communicate with native speakers. To do this, there are various applications in which you can select languages.
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In addition, you should choose a native speaker tutor who does not speak your first language from the start. Our brain copies the teacher, so if he speaks with a terrible accent, then we will also speak the same way.
Read books in the original language
Reading makes a person think in the language in which the book is written, so it helps not to forget the language and to keep oneself in good shape.
First of all, you need to choose the book of the level that you want to study. You can borrow books that you have already read in your native language to make it easier to understand the topic.
When reading, it is important to highlight incomprehensible words and phrases and immediately look for their meaning. However, you do not need to translate everything into your native language, because each language is special, and the translation does not always show the true meaning of the word.
Watch films and TV shows in a foreign language
The main mistake when watching movies is watching them with subtitles in your native language. It is much better to include subtitles in foreign languages. Films and TV shows also choose your level, plus pay attention to American and British English.
Learn synonyms and phraseological units
Phraseologisms help to diversify our speech. Each language has its own unique phrases that cannot be literally translated, so you should always pay attention to phraseological units.
Think in a foreign language
For us, the word “generous” means that a person can spend his money on others. And in the UK, the word "generous", that is, generous, indicates that a person, in addition to money, can give you his own time. Therefore, in order not to lose the additional meaning of the word, you need to think not in your own language, but in a foreign one.
Listen to podcasts
There are many podcasts for different levels of language proficiency.
How to improve your pronunciation
To improve your pronunciation, you need to read aloud. It will be more productive if at the same time listen to its audio version and repeat incomprehensible words. This is how the brain perceives information both audibly and visually.
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Sometimes it is helpful to record yourself on a tape recorder. Because it may seem that you have perfect pronunciation, but in reality you are not.
Anna Kulchinskaya - translator and linguist
Fluent in five foreign languages - English, Spanish, French, German and Polish; knows three more at a basic level: Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.
“Parents work as English teachers, so they instilled in me a love of languages in my childhood. Already at the age of three, I could speak a little English, and at school I began to be interested in foreign culture, because I wanted to receive information from primary sources, says Anna. - From the seventh grade I studied Spanish and Polish, for I tried to understand why bullfighting is so important for the Spaniards and what kind of relations were between Ukraine and Poland. And I learned French, because it is one of the main languages of the United Nations. "
“The environment did not understand why I was studying so many languages. However, knowing them helps me to go through international volunteering and go to study abroad. I was able to visit Poland several times under the Erasmus + program and take part in cultural exchanges. Last year she was a simultaneous interpreter from English at the embassy.
Language learning tips
Learn a language comprehensively
It is a big mistake to study exclusively grammar or vocabulary. It makes no sense to know a lot of words, but not be able to form a sentence, and it is also pointless to study a bunch of grammatical constructions if a person does not know the words.
You don't have to learn everything from a book
Everything should be very balanced, and you shouldn't give preference to one aspect of the language. It is very important to be confident in grammar at the A2 level and to start studying the present, past and future tenses, and then start from the need. If a person just needs to go on vacation and order cocktails, then you should not study, for example, Future in the Rast or other difficult times. Better to focus on specific vocabulary and a few grammatical constructs.
Start individually, continue in a group and finish on your own
A very good method of learning a language is to start as an individual, continue in a group and finish on your own. When a person is just getting to know a foreign language, he needs individual lessons so that the teacher can develop a special study plan and help with basic grammar. A person with a C1 level needs to learn languages on their own and make a lot of effort, since tutors and courses will no longer be as effective as they used to be.
Peel off stickers
This makes it easier to remember how in a foreign language there will be "spoon", "cup" and other words used. You can also make sentences with new words - this helps to remember them in the first stages. And then, so that the studied expressions do not lie in a passive vocabulary, start using them during speech.
It is very important to find your own word norm that you can learn per day. To do this, you can increase the number of words daily - and so you will feel your maximum.
Do not force yourself
If you understand that a certain technique is not suitable for you, do not be upset. It takes time to sort out your preferences. Before learning languages, you need to understand which group they belong to, how many times there are and why there are certain constructions. This way we will know why to learn, for example, articles in German or why there are seventeen tenses in Spanish.
Subscribe to foreign accounts and YouTube channels
It helps you stay toned and learn new words every day. YouTube videos help boost your listening experience much better than academic resources that sound too perfect.
Watch memes and read popular science literature
Scientific articles, research, and popular science literature help to enrich vocabulary. Moreover, funny tests and memes in the language you are learning will do much more good than any fiction. Because in memes they usually write about current events in easy language.
Keep a personal diary
A personal diary helps you use words and grammar in writing.
Talk to yourself
You should always practice speaking skills. You can talk to yourself or translate ads out loud. It is also worth going to language clubs and interacting with native speakers.
Elena Yuvkovetskaya - accountant
Knows four foreign languages - English, Polish, German, Italian.
“I started learning English while still in school, and then improved it with tutors. I became interested in Polish when I learned that I have relatives in Poland and can make a “Pole's Card” in order to live in this country. So, having studied this language in courses, I was able to move to live in Poland, - said Elena. “A few years later, I had the opportunity to go to study in Germany, where I improved my English and learned German in intensive courses.”
Later she returned to Poland, where she met her Italian husband, through whom she also learned his language.
On the subject: Not Books Alone: Eight Out-of-House Ways to Learn English
Language learning tips
Watch foreign TV and news
So you can hear the real language and understand what is usually talked about in a particular country.
Listen to podcasts
They tell interesting stories, explain grammar well and train conversational speech on various topics.
Don't be afraid to speak
You should not be afraid to say some word wrong: everyone makes mistakes and foreigners are very positive about it, because you are just learning.
Test different methods and choose your own
To consolidate grammar, you can write a lot to get your hand in hand. You can create your own texts on a specific topic and enter the learned grammatical constructions into the sentence.
It's important not to stop and work constantly, because languages help you broaden your worldview and get a better job. In addition, Elena advises to travel, because in other countries where no one speaks your native language, it is much easier to practice speaking skills.
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