You may or may not know this about me, but I can speak French. I’m not the greatest at it but if I was to get stuck in a room with some French people who talked very slowly and used a lot of hand gestures, I’d probably manage rightly. Admittedly, I could be better, and I used to be practically fluent but over 10 years of neglecting my second language has left me a bit rusty.
But recently I have decided to try and improve my language skills and flex my brain muscle a bit harder. But how can you really teach yourself how to speak another language? After A Level French, I know all the tricks to help you get from novice to native. Does it require effort? Of course it does, but everything in life takes effort.
Did you know that you can change the language on nearly all DVD’s? Back when I started my French studies many moons ago, DVD players had just become a thing and I was one of the lucky ones that got one from Santa that year. For the first time ever, you could change the language of the movie that you were watching. You couldn’t do that on VHS. The limited number of DVDs that I had, I knew the scripts off by heart so when I switched to French I knew exactly what was being said. This is one of the best ways to hear the language, and with the variety of the movies you can get, you won’t be stuck.
You might have an idea of how the language works, but do you really? One of the best ways to test your ability is by building something. To be honest, some people struggle to follow instructions in their native language never mind a different language. But it is definitely worth a go if you have visual manuals or illustrated manuals to work off because pictures are useful when building a dressing table. Not only is it a triumph if you manage to successfully put the dressing table together, but to do it in another language? Amazing! It would also be pretty cool to know how to pronounce the names of the furniture in Ikea instead of sounding things out and accidentally summoning a demon.
Books are one of my favourite things in the entire world, which you probably already know with the KappaCino Book Club. Reading a book in a different language is a beautiful thing. The first French book I read was L’Etranger by Albert Camus and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But notice how I remember it? Yeah, reading and trying with all of your brain power to work out what the wiggly lines on the page mean is one way to ensure that you get something stuck in there. You will probably struggle the first few times you pick up a foreign language book but when it finally starts to make sense, it’s beyond wonderful.
What are your language goals? Can you speak a different language or two? Let me know in the comments!