You can find Part 1 here—> “I want to improve my speaking in a foreign language” (Pt. 1)
“Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides.” – Rita Mae Brown
1) A great way to learn authentic modern language is to find a language partner. I personally like learning through real conversations because I unconsciously/effortlessly add new words to my vocabulary without thinking about grammar or pronunciation.
I don’t think idioms, slang, sayings, proverbs, quotes, usw. can be learned from long lists. Some books may use stories or pictures to illustrate them, but we don’t learn idioms or slang from books in our native language; we pick them up from speaking with others. And I find this approach effective with acquiring specialized vocabulary in foreign languages.
Furthermore, a language partner will help you utilize what you already know. You can talk with your pets if you are too shy to find a language partner online/in-person–or with yourself in the shower–for this practice. Ask them basic questions, tell them how your day is going, and train what you recently learned.
2. Another important tip I have is to find a private teacher. Receiving corrections is important, so ask your teacher to correct your speech and turn in writing assignments to them as well.
A good teacher should also boost your motivation and be able to guide you as you progress in the language. Together, you can find your weaker areas and reach your learning goals.
Use this time with your private teacher to converse in the language and get yourself accustomed to different speaking situations. Your accent, vocabulary and grammar will rapidly improve.
3. Third and final point is concise: to use I) context to your advantage and II) immerse yourself in the language.
I) Using context: instead of lists of words with no examples/related words, find something that is interesting and relevant to you… read an article in your target language about your favorite band and study new vocabulary by memorizing whole sentences. Translate a short text that’s on your level and re-read the original and the translation several times.
II) What I consider immersion (taken from my article on learning Russian):
- a) Having a good teacher and regular lessons based on an effective system
- b) Passive learning & natural usage (minimum five days a week) such as watching films, listening to music, reading literary texts, and communicating in your target language
- c) Teaching yourself the language & doing exercises: use YouTube videos and free websites to learn vocabulary and grammar
- d) Practice & usage: think to yourself, record yourself speaking, write stories and essays, and do A LOT of listening.
Best of luck! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below~